August 17, 2007

First Person

Chicanos Captive in Cubicles

By Al Carlos Hernandez

I think I may have found the key to vocational happiness, lower your goals so they are easier to attain, hang on to what you got until you get what you want, stop all that sniveling, at least you get a steady paycheck and everyone is smarter than their boss.

Many of us grew up hoping to be doctors, lawyers, firemen, but ended up as patients, plaintiffs and pyromaniacs. Bob Dylan said, “20 years of schoolin’ and they put you on the day shift.”

Writing for me is catharsis and tell stories the way we did at a kitchen table, or on the corner just hanging out with homies. After several years of doing columns, it is clear that the best response comes from friends who work in offices at regular responsible jobs.

There are several reasons one qualifies for a white collar job; the most obvious is that you have to be smart, domesticated, can sit for long periods of time and must play well with others to work indoors.

Many of you find yourself with a life sentence of gainful employment in a bleak windowless cubicles that pays well with major benefits. Artists on the other hand, have no gainful means of support, or benefits, usually no fiduciary responsibility, and have access to a TV during the day so they are not forced to sublimate TV viewing by watching a computer screen hoping to be entertained when the boss is not looking, that is where I come in.

The computer screen for many of you is your only window to the world while clocking your 9 to 5 dollars. In lowering my life goals, sublimating the fact that I will probably never have access to my work being on TV either. If they can cancel George Lopez with his impressive numbers and replace him with metro sexual cavemen, I’m in big trouble.

Given the body politic I have realized that one of my responsibilities whenever possible is to mess people up at work via the internet.

I am proud to say that the columns has provoked babes to spit out fountain beverages through their noses, dudes to spray coffee over spreadsheets, and one woman sand blasted her computer screen with Granola, and oh yea that unfortunate split pea soup incident.

The columns have criss crossed the country, I’ve heard reports of Superior Court Judges who were forced to take a quick recess based on an unsolicited laugh during a somber mediation. One really reserved conservative short sleeve shirt tie wearing desk jockey reported officemates think him looney as a goon for laughing out loud like a bleeding hyena, for no apparent reason.

We are honored to report that many of the friends acquired over the years are now considered nuts at the firm, because of my work, exponentially, the unfortunate result of my inability to reach commercial writing stardom and poor management.

This is not what I had in mind when I received my collegiate lifetime Teaching Credential, but hey, you play the cards that you are dealt, and don’t think the boss doesn’t know you are playing video solitaire, when he or she goes into the can with the New York Times every morning.

My efforts thankfully are not in vain. I begin my teaching assignment as an Adjunct Professor of Mass Media at a local university in the fall. I will teach a night class which gives me a full day to run amuck in cyber space.

It’s funny that the insult day keeps regular hours, emails stop coming around 4 pm, never any on weekends. There seems to be a flurry of activity between 2 and 3:30 most days but Friday. I don’t know how the office thing works, maybe it is the time when your boss is getting yelled at by the executives because of your lack of productivity because you hate your job and that dork Al Carlos put you in a silly mood.

Each of us, no matter how twisted, has a gift to share with others. Some can encourage, others help you get your financial hustle on. We have spiritual advisors, cultural liaisons, love doctors, the dude with all the mad hook ups, but the best are the precious few who just listen.

Thanks for listening.

Al Carlos Hernandez writes from Hollywood.

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