Laboring on Labor.

Humans spend obscene amounts of time working. Look at cats and dogs – they spend about 80% of their time sleeping and get to live close to 120 in human years!
In normal state of nature we, humans, would spend about 60% of our time sleeping too, and the rest of it – having sex.
But humans are bent on working even if that shortens their life span and drives them to insanity. Work doesn’t make humans happier, so why do we want to work? Inexplicably, we not only want to work, we are obsessed with work.
Which of the animals would eat a plant that would make them work longer? Only humans are interested to prolong the waking hours in order to work more, so they learned to extract the best of the caffeine from the coffee plants. 
Caffeine is toxic for most of animals – it can kills certain insects and when ingested by goats may unreasonably excite them to pointless bleating and hopping about till they drop in near death exhaustion. 
Yeah, coffee. 
It made it to the history books because without coffee there would be no overwrought, overlong Balzac novels that no one in the right minds reads now, nor industrial revolution that brought us financial inequality and cheap goods from China.
People just wouldn’t get up in the morning to do the chores or go to the factory if there was no coffee. But they also wouldn’t quit working if there was no happy hour which is a proof that beer is a better invention than an espresso cup. YouTube is full of videos of dogs drinking beer but have you seen a dog drinking espresso? *
But back to work. 
I am not against working – after all, that feeling of having accomplished something at the end of the day is a good drug. I am just against overdosing it. The federal regulation limiting a work week to 40 hours didn’t come from nowhere. Too much work makes a person less of a person.
But, to my humble opinion, working 8 hours a day is still too much of a good thing.
It is addictive and makes person feel numb, indifferent to the troubles of the world.
To protect the humanity I would impose 4 hour workdays and 3 days weekend.
Only then we humans would truly appreciate and welcome work in our lives.
The 4 hours of work would become the prize, the pinnacle of the day.
The dream of 4 hour workday was shared in the past by socialists and capitalists alike. Idealists, they thought that by year 2000 the machines will do all the boring work for people and people will be free to do creative things, like inventing new machines or attending creative writing classes.
In 2000, indeed, a lot of human work is done by machines and the unemployment is high. For some strange reason, the unemployed aren’t happy. I guess, old work addiction is hard to let go. Ironically, the humans who are still employed are working longer hours doing the creative work machines can’t do – sweeping toilet floors in airports (machines apparently can’t make the judgment where floor is clean and where it is dirty), driving trucks (because personal cars are still driven by imperfect humans who’s judgment is impaired by drink, bad breakup, old age or near-sightness the truck driving is a creative decision making that no machine can do) and conceiving independent animated feature films. Please, note, this relates only to independent animated films, as the big studio multi million animated features seem to be conceived by some machine – with very little plot variation they have identical characters with identical problems, identical narrative arch and predicable endings.
As one of the lucky humans still able to indulge my work habit, I nevertheless believe in working less. Less coffee, more beer, more happy hours. 

Now – back to work.

– The dogs, – you’d say. – Why would they want to drink coffee? – They don’t have a job.
But they do! Dogs do have a job – the very important companionship job.
Do you think if dogs had coffee they would be better, more alert companions? 
What makes a good companion is the presence. Relaxed attention. A job only a coffeeless dog can do.


About rocksinmypocketsthemovie

I was born in Latvia, educated in Moscow, live in New York. I have made about 14 animated shorts so far.
This entry was posted in Depression. Personal Stories, Hazards of being an artist, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Laboring on Labor.

  1. Yeah, I’m leaving a comment. This writing of yours is very profound and funny and good to read. I hope that doesn’t ruin it for you somehow.

  2. Martin P says:

    I was at the umemployment office today. Two months since my last visit and I quit my job three months ago, so up till now it has been smooth sailing, but this was quite the ordeal. The clerk gave me a 45 minute lecture on probably everything I can imagine related to unemployment and I just sat there nodding. He didn’t at all like the fact that I’ve only applied to two positions since I became unemployed. He then speculated that it must be terrible for people not to have a job to go to. I’m loving it. He also told me that there are about ten unemployed per available job here in Sweden right now. So why the hell are they hassling me? I quit my job without having a new one. I clearly just want to relax and collect my 300 days of unemployment benefits. Of course, I can’t say that, ’cause then I’ll lose the benefits for sure. I’ll probably lose them anyway, ’cause I won’t be able to do a good enough job of faking that I want to work. And here I thought I could get money for nothing.

  3. paolo says:

    I must confess that I am reading this lines and writing my comment while I am at work… I do not know if I had made such a thing from home…

  4. Workity work. I like to say I hate to work but then people who know me laugh because I work all the time. But is my line of work really work?

  5. paolo says:

    by the way, Rene Clair in 1931 had already dreamed of a world where the machines did all the work and the workers could go fishing instead:

  6. As others have been saying here, your writing and drawings on this blog are really great.

    I don’t share the popular distinction between “work” and “life,” as in “work-life balance.” I not only love “working” at home, I also can’t “work” anywhere else. As long as my Muse is my boss, and not money, what others might call “work” is…play? No, not play; more like passion. Except it’s often not passionate. It’s often just showing up and plodding through. Kind of like…life? Yes that’s it: art-making is just more life, in my case a big part of it. Meanwhile what others call “life” (marriage, family) or “fun” (bars, parties) feel more like “work” to me. Meals with friends, though, is my idea of a good time, and I get that just as often when I’m deep in “work” as when I’m not. I do probably sleep/nap more when deeply involved with “work,” since so many art problems are only solved subconsciously.

    I’m really looking forward to “Rocks In My Pockets,” however long it takes.

    • THANK YOU, Nina! your support is very precious to me.
      As to work/life relationship – my Russian ex (an artist) claimed that there was no distinction between them and he ended up producing not much work. I had decided that everything is work for me, and divided my day in three parts : 1) from 6 am to 10 am – quiet work of mind, some emails 2) from 10 am to 6 PM stuff producing work 3) from 6PM to 10 PM socializing work. And then – the 4th part – sleep where the most important work of the day happens.
      Hope to see you soon one day! Happy New Year!

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