Afterdeath: The Third Bell

To begin this conversation on the right note, let us recall the table of delights from our first chapter. Remember the waiter. He was ready and eager to grant your every wish when you first sat down to the meal.  Gradually, he became more distant. Slow to bring that extra napkin or carelessly dropping fresh silverware here and there. It’s his job to know when the hook is securely in place. And when to jam it deeper. The one thing to the carrier’s advantage is the advancement into self. This can also be the dangerous curve in the road where they will lose quite a few passengers.

We are conditioned to be polite, giving, cooperative, patient, accepting, etc… The waiters of this world depend on these qualities to shame the carrier into compliance. The waiter nurtures the fear of hunger, rejection, isolation, and abandonment. He can be the lonesome parent leaning heavily on her adult child, the ill-prepared educator trying to save face; or the faith-leader, counselor, or employer unable to keep pace with his competitors. The parent will never become satisfied no matter how much the adult child cares for him or her. The rest must convince the carrier, like the salesperson, that without them, the carrier will be destitute. They are the keepers of all that is binding to the self.

Suppose, for instance, the student ceases to become the carrier and actually asks the right questions, challenging the educator. Society is set up where, for the student, there is no reward, only condemnation. The student learns to absorb the nagging stomach, just to get the ‘A’ or ‘B.’ Now as an adult carrier, the store clerk sells them items they’ll never use, but are too embarrassed to turn down.  Likewise, an employer slights them on wages and promotions, because they will never complain. Family and friends will cheer them on for lasting 30 years with the same firm – as they watch others with less education and ability, reap the benefits of maneuvering the corporate arenas.

While taking a computer certification course in the late 1970’s, one instructor counseled the students to never stop looking for the ideal position. Global technology called for lateral movements between companies and corporations in order to rise. Technology did not only change the speed at which we did business, but the essence of the employer/employee relationship.  A systems engineer at one company could get twice his pay and loads of benefits at another company. Also, employees were now vested after 5 years, instead of 15 or 20 years, as decades before.

The average middle-aged or senior citizen was at a disadvantage re-entering the job market unless they had computer skills. Their labor was now disposable, since most of them were declining in health and ambition. The world began to run helter skelter to work, instead of the cog and wheel past. So if they appear to represent more of the carrier and keeper set, fear is all they have lived after the Great American Depression, two world wars, nuclear threats, drug wars, and loosing that lovely head of hair.  Radical as those times seemed, the present is even more radical with choices of lifestyles, employment, and social communities.

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