Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Since March, my work life has been miserable.
Since March, I’ve been the only person manning my department in New York, while all my compatriots are in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, China, the UK… I’m the only one stuck here in the greatest city ever known. That’s not why my work life has been miserable.
Since March, I’ve had to wait for people to send me files from Brazil, Mexico, Chile. I’ve been part of this international internet-dependent functioning, and it’s made my day drag on much longer than it ever should. I’m paid until six o’clock. I’ve been working till eight. Or nine. Sometimes later.
I’m on salary, so I don’t get any more money for all my hard work – but it’s not even hard work. I’ve been doing much less since March, when an editor was hired in Mexico to make my job easier.
It’s made my life miserable.
It’ll get better, I suppose, and fairly soon.
“So, you want to come down to Brazil?” Chris, my editor, asked me a week or so ago.
“Sure!” I said, “I can do a month down there in Sao Paulo, no problem.”
“Would you be interested in moving permanently?” he said.
I love New York. New York is the center of the known world. I was born and bred here, and hope to be dead here – though not any time soon. I love New York. That’s not the only reason why I wouldn’t leave.
Working so late has made me hate my business, my co-workers, and my self. I don’t want to be putting in these hours, devoting so much time to this job. I want to be a hard worker in something I believe, and an adequate worker at this corporate job. I don’t want to do what would be good for my career. I don’t want to do what I’m told.
“Uh…” I repeated, “I’d go for a month or two…”
“What if I said we were moving your job to Sao Paulo?”
“I guess I’d wish you luck in finding someone to replace someone as talented as me,” I said.
I was bluffing. I’m a good desktop publisher. Well, I’m an adequate desktop publisher. I’m a good office drone, and I’m dedicated enough in my work to get things done. But that’s about it. Someone with three-quarters of a brain could do my job, and maybe someone with two thirds of a brain could do it better. But no one in my business knows that.
So, I spoke to higher-ups in my department, and it’s true. They are moving my job to Sao Paulo. They’d love for me to have it, but I would not love to go there on more than a temporary basis.
“I’d be more than happy to come down and train someone,” I offered.
“We’ll see,” Luiz, my boss, said.
Now, I’m waiting, and I’m a little anxious. On the one hand, I very much hope that the trip to Sao Paulo will be OK’ed, and I’ll have the chance to visit Latin America, and live and explore. But, if I do, I’m going down to train my replacement. I’m not being replaced of my own volition; it’d be like going to my own wake.
Which could be fun.
Well, we’ll see…

[5/18/2001 1:22:05 PM Jonathan Berger]
Finding a pay phone, I called Mary Ann.
“This is Jon Berger,” I said, “Calling to tell you that I am a GOD. I had the day off – May Day’s an international holiday, so my office had me off – so I decided to bike around. I biked from the Bronx down to Coney Island, then back up to Manhattan, where I took the ferry to Staten Island, and biked through there till I reached the bridge to Bayonne, then biked up here to Jersey City. I’m in spitting distance from your place, and if you were there to pick up the phone, I’d let you buy me lemonade. Your loss, because, after all, I am a GOD!”
I hung up the phone, travelled up to Hoboken, hung out for a little while, then took the PATH train back to Manhattan, and biked the rest of the way home.
All told, it wasn’t SUCH a huge ride – I think it might have been like seventy miles – but it was a big accomplishment. The ride was my biggest of the season, and each ounce of sweat coming off my body was a testament to my hard work and good exercise. After weeks of increasing frustration in my life and a need to stay away from people, this was good. This was a great day. This was an amazing May Day.
When I woke up on May third, I knew pain.
The chiropractor said that I was experiencing subluxations, and that he could help me. That’s all well and good, but I knew I couldn’t bike the way I had again. Not for some time.
I’m not quite the god I thought I was.

[5/18/2001 8:30:49 AM Jonathan Berger]
It’s been a rough couple of… days? Weeks? Months?
2001 hasn’t been quite the odyssey I’d hoped it would be.
I’ve pretty much stopped performing. It’s not a formal thing, but the primary clubs about town where I used to do my short attention span poetry have seemed a lot less inviting lately. It’s not because I’m any less strong a performer – though I do think I lost some of my confidence.
And, sometime in March, my office started restructuring, which ended up meaning I work minimum two hours later a day. Two good hours! If I were in some profit-sharing plan, or were taking on more responsibility, it would all be well and good (well, maybe not. But I don’t have my parallel worlds machine functioning to verify it either way), but as is, it’s just taking a big chunk of my evening and giving it some international corporate beast.
My back went out two weeks ago, so I haven’t been able to take advantage of the finally-improved weather conditions in New York, which has always been my primary form of stress-relief (that and masturbation).
And, finally, I signed a piece of paper yesterday saying I have three months left at work, before having to start the whole job search all over again.
So, clearly, my life is a ruin.
Oh, all right, the last thing pretty much diminishes the second thing. And, poor poor pitiful me, I don’t get to be a performing superstar because I had some run-ins with some clubs.
And my back, while not perfectly back to normal, is improving every day.
My life, I know, is not as bad as it seems.
Which, in its way, makes the suffering I’m going through all the more irksome.
I’m not happy these days.
There must be something to do about that…

[5/18/2001 8:11:23 AM Jonathan Berger]
People occasionally ask me how I am.
I don’t like that question.
“I don’t like that question,” I’ll often respond, “I don’t know how to respond to it.”
“Well, you could always tell HOW YOU ARE…” some respondents might reply.
“Yeah, but you don’t care,” I’ll come back with, “You’re just going through the motions, just being polite. If you really cared,” and I silently add, ‘like I do’ “You’d ask a question of content. You’d ask how my folks are, how my job is, what’s going on with the girl I’m into…”
Then, as wittily as they can, they’ll retort with, “OK: ‘How are your folks? How’s your job? What about that girl you’re into?’”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” I often say.
Which usually leads directly to a beating.

[5/18/2001 7:58:31 AM Jonathan Berger]

One of the things you probably don't appreciate about my genius is the size of it.
I am a great genius
a gigantic genius.
I have thoughts that are too big to even enter into your head,
let alone ever possibly escape that tiny thing.

I have intellectual treatises, tracts flowing from my nostrils,
dribbling out of my anus
bleeding out of my eyes.
I am more creative,
more original
on a bad day
than you are
GOOD day.

I am a thinker
a thoughtsman
an inventor unparalleled in this inconceivably ignorant universe.
I have such a masterful mentality that people don't even
recognize that I'm involved in the creation
of all that which makes society great.
They merely gape and golly-gee at the sight of what I have accomplished
like the paper clip,
like reusable ink,
like double-sided tape,
or the hereditary meritocracy.
Mine is a subtle genius,
as subtle as it is grand.

And mine is a grand genius, for I am a grand genius.
Big in more ways than you can imagine.
Do you see it?
Can you picture the enormity of my brain?
You can't it's too big!
I'm too big for the likes of you.
I am!

And someday,
maybe years from now,
maybe tomorrow,
you'll see it
and you'll be sorry.