A Day In The Life Of A (Soon To Be Former) Albertan

It was the first day of the Canada day long weekend. Alberta being Canada’s playground for predatory free-marketeers, there can be little doubt as to what me and my wife were doing — we getting ready to go to work. This province didn’t amass its mountains of cash by succumbing whenever the State tried to give perfectly healthy employees a day off while plenty of hard work had to get done (the wealth actually comes from some big lizards that conveniently chose to die here a few million years ago, but such harsh facts have no place in capitalist theology).

Visions of dead and dying bosses filling our heads, we were almost out the door when the phone rang. It was Denise’s panic stricken mother saying her 86 year old mother had taken a fall and might have broken her hip. We told her to phone an ambulance. Lacking the means to contact our boss and tell him to piss off with his scheme to destroy our weekend because an emergency had come up, we got in the car and began cursing our way through the packs of vehicles migrating to Edmonton’s malls.

The company we work for is the standard stupid-ass Oil Patch Corporate Mafia — a nauseatingly predictable parody of systemized greed and bee-hive team-player shtick. One can tell from the dried puddles of drool crusted to the keyboards, every brain damaging business seminar that has ever rolled through these parts has been attended by these poor suffering fools. What the company does is make it easier for allied bee-hives (with good credit) to destroy all flora and fauna in territory they’ve conquered, which permits them to cover the vanquished land with concrete and pavement, inject cocktails of industrial poisons into the already bleak picture and, finally, create funeral factories where men and women, just like the Company’s own maligned staff, can learn to spend their one and only lives making repetitive idiot gestures lab rats of even average intelligence would refuse to do on grounds of a lack of stimulation.

We’re about half an hour late when we arrive, so we explain to our boss what’s happened to Denise’s grandmother. “Oh,” he mutters, followed by a half second pause indicating absolute indifference. “You grab that mop, and you come with me.”

This extraordinary feat of insensitivity was extreme even by Albertan entrepreneurial standards — all the managerial handbooks stress that at least a token show of concern will boost production. Nevertheless, you don’t become a renowned warrior in the arena of the market by showing mercy. Moreover, such higher functions are a physiological impossibility for the poor dumb brute homo corporatus. This is a species expressedly devoted to the elimination of what some psychologists refer to as the New Brain, the much larger, more complex portion of the brain which is the source of the human mind’s most impressive creations: art, philosophy, literature, science. The corporate agenda is a complete reversal of evolutionary force; an attempt to arrest the natural tendencies of biological systems to move towards conditions of greater diversity. The New Brain is first attacked and usually destroyed by what is mockingly called an education system (rather than the system of indoctrination it actually is). If any virility survives this sustained assault, it’s almost always snuffed out by the mental doldrums endemic to most jobs or by the stupefying images of a hyperactive, expansive entertainment system.

The Corporate agenda demands we cast off the New Brain, with all its imaginative potency, for the Old Brain, the machine-like, pre-programmed unconscious organ regulating such lofty functions as the rumblings in our guts when we’re hungry. In the lobby of its offices, the Company proudly displays its commitment to this philosophy of the gut. Floor to ceiling murals depict the Company’s products taking big slobbering bites out of whatever virgin nature hasn’t been crushed beneath their clanking treads.

What is it that me and my wife actually do for the company? Well, we being the only two in the organization with educations in the humanities — philosophy, sociology and English to be precise — we are the only ones in on a long weekend because the floors need to be waxed. We are, of course, the janitors. We failed to thoroughly research the marketability of the skills we were honing in the big cumbersome New Brain segments in our heads. We should have probably opted for full lobotimazation in order to avoid the social stigma Denise especially endures here. She works during office hours. Except for the odd person who might snap at her that the paper towels are running low, not one person in this vile shit-hole speaks to her! Evidently, these haughty office drones have entirely lost the New Brain capacities for empathy, compassion and basic civility.

So, while the Boss’ little inbreds spent their holiday weekend shopping somewhere, we waxed his already immaculate floors. And I do mean immaculate. Even the main workshop, which is continually being smeared with grease, has to look as if the floor is polished mirror (at least until five minutes after the commencement of a workday). The Big Boss is a textbook obsessive-compulsive neurotic clean freak, liable to experience a breakdown if his beloved empire is afflicted with the slightest hint of real or imagined filth. We were even reprimanded on one occasion for not positioning his chair exactly the way he wanted it at his desk!

After spending five hours doing a job that never needed to be done in the first place, we’re able to go to the hospital. Granny’s hip isn’t broken as it turns out, or, if it is broken it’s just a minor fracture. She has to wait for a bone scan which due to budget cuts can’t be done today. She was in good spirits; and who wouldn’t be, shot up full of morphine.

A problem far more serious than granny’s injured hip turned out to be her being hospitalized in the province leading the war on that grand straw dog called a deficit. She had to wait five days before having the bone scan, which revealed no break. According to the nurse, had this been learned on the first day she was admitted, she would have been home after a week of physiotherapy. Because she was immobilized in bed for five days she had to be placed in an auxiliary hospital for a total of four weeks to not only undergo therapy for her hip, but also to rebuild her strength after lying down for five days! Hospitalizing a person for four weeks rather than one is how the Great State of Alberta reduces medical expenditures. If you’re having trouble with the math, simply disconnect your New Brain.

Alberta Uber Alles

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