On Saturday I attended midnight mass at the Greek church. My wife is Orthodox and I respect her beliefs even if I don’t believe them myself. Easter is a big deal for Greeks and for the past 10 years I’ve at least enjoyed the tradition she follows, as I don’t really have any of my own.
The service is in Greek and of course I don’t understand a word of it, so normally I wait patiently for the service to end so we can go have soup and crack red eggs at 1:00 in the morning. But on this night, once the standard rituals were over, the priest held up two eggs — one a real egg, one a chocolate egg.
I wasn’t sure where he was going with this but it was, at least, getting everyone’s attention. He listed the ingredients of each: the first contained “egg” and the second the usual mix of confectionary brew. He said the first egg represented something real and nutritious while the second represented indulgence and consumerism in regards to profits made in the name of cheap and quick satisfaction.
He really drew me in with these simple analogies: one egg was, in its simplicity, the real deal and the other, while attractive in its shiny wrapper, was just a transitory experience of the senses, easily substituted with something equally or more appealing.
The thing that really stuck with me, in his comparison, was the challenge he laid down for his flock: do you strive to be a cog in the machine, easily replaced when you’ve passed your use-by date; or do you want to create something of real value that, hopefully, will last.
I think of my months-long fruitless job search, and how I’ve tried to “sell myself” in order to become, in essence, a cog in a machine so I can make a few dollars to pay the bills that will, it seems, never stop coming in. Based on the job descriptions I reply to — with their emphasis on to whom I “report” to (whatever the fuck that means) and how I must have a “can do attitude” — I feel that I’m trying to be something I don’t want to be.
Of course I need to do something to make money to survive — even thrive, if I do it right — but the humiliating experience of scrutiny to try and get accepted into a position of subservience is pointless. The work environment here is skewed not to actually accomplish anything but more to bow down to your middle-management overlords… for whatever arcane reasons.
Fuck the machine… I want to do more with the time I have left.