discontent #1. Winter 1996





Manifesto of Discontent

Now is the winter of my discontent. I miss school. I miss an atmosphere which combines intellectual industry with acute irresponsibility. This is no longer allowed, and I’m lost. And how come now that I’m in the Real World I don’t have a Real World job? I should at least get some sort of compensation for being torn from the September-to-April year where I have nestled in comfort for two decades. I thought it would be fun to be grossly over-qualified for my job, which is why I applied to everything from bagel-girl to light construction; but now that I’ve got it (cashier with an M.A.) I’m not nearly as fancy free as I’d imagined. In fact, I feel angst. That’s Number One.

1. "Discontent" is my substitute for school. It’s my attempt to create something where I can once again fear deadlines (although self-imposed) and indulge in good-natured shirking. I can also do "research" and look busy with notebooks and erasers and coloured pens. Also, I have writer’s block. Even if my job isn’t medium OK, I should be writing the next Great American Novel in my spare time. But I spend all day at work and then all evening eating pretzels so I have no experience worth writing. Forget imagination. Therefore,
2. "Discontent" is my substitute for writing. Stringing words together and sending them out for people to read seems almost like writing to me. Maybe after enough practice I’ll actually get an Idea and then I can begin Something Big. Finally, I moved to a small town from a big city and I feel culturally deprived. There are no pubs in which groups of ten people can gather and discuss the career of Oasis. There are not ten people who can discuss the career of Oasis. So,
3. "Discontent" is my substitute for the Algonquin Round Table. I get to say whatever I like and I get to think it’s clever, even if you’d pronounce that "pretentious."


It’s not that I’m unhappy, I just feel like the god assigned to watch over me is Salieri, prince of mediocrities. In an attempt to illustrate this, I’ve devised the "2 Days of Me"--the one I am living and the one I ought to be living. See if you can tell which is which.