Sunday, March 13, 2011

3-Day Novel 2010 (Part 5)

3. “And the Dawn and the Dusk were the Third Day”

Adnan Chalabi
33 Oxford Street
Toronto, ON


University of Toronto student seeking year-round part-time employment.


• 1999-2003: Lawrence Park Secondary School
• Honour roll and gifted program
• 2003-present: University of Toronto
• Undergraduate studies in psychology, philosophy and literature

Past Employment

• Renovation Worker, FF Home Service (summers of 2002, 2004 and 2005)
• Assisted with building decks, fences, installing hardwood and laminate flooring, drywalling, sanding, painting and demolition
• Was able to perform labour-intensive tasks for extended periods of time
• Gained a working knowledge of all major hand and power tools
• Volunteer Counselor, Distress Centres of Toronto (April 2005-ongoing)
• Provided suicide prevention, emotional support, social interaction, and stress reduction strategies to a diverse clientele including marginalized, addicted and mentally ill individuals
• Learned client-centered, non-confrontational and stress-defusing conversation skills, including patience with difficult, mistrustful or obstructive individuals
• Gained a working knowledge of Toronto’s social safety net
• Street Canvasser, Public Outreach (April-May 2006)
• Raised funding from passers-by for the Hospital for Sick Children
• Learned basic sales tactics and comfort in high-pressure sales situations
• Became a more articulate and effective speaker
• Pharmacy Clerk, Metro Medical Pharmacy (June-September 2003)
• Prepared monthly medication packages for seniors in a nursing home environment
• Performed a variety of administrative duties regarding prescriptions
• Gained a basic working knowledge of many common medications

Other Qualifications

• A quick learner of both facts and skills
• Both independent and a team player
• Fluent in two languages and currently working on my third

Studies in psychology, philosophy and literature.

“, Far, you’re not listening to what I’m saying. There’s definitely one way to interpret your dream, the one way that corresponds optimally to reality. It is unfortunate, though, that the interpreter (including yourself) doesn’t have access to the historical, the diachronic dimension in sufficient detail, because to know exactly why this random element, this aspect of brain sputtering as it is deprived of external stimulation, this aspect of endogenously generated harmonious activity, was interpreted, subjectified, inserted into the economy of your consciousness in that way, rather than the myriad other ways it could have presented itself. So you’re saying the bathtub in the field was made of porcelain, and we may ask several questions therefrom: why porcelain and not, say, granite? Why was the bathtub in the field, and not on it, under it, floating, tethered, untethered? And, of course, in what way did you know you knew it was porcelain, and not any of a number of other ceramic materials?”

“Well, it might not have been porcelain.”

“In that case, why did you say it was? I’ll have you know there are any number of materials that are preferable to porcelain in bathtub construction--even a cast iron bathtub, properly coated, could get better life than some varieties... but anyway, this isn’t where we disagree fundamentally. I don’t like your implication that just because we fragile human meat boxes can’t know all the facts, or contain them within one subjectivity, that there isn’t some way that things are, and accordingly, some way in which our interpretation can correspond to the truth of things.”

“Come on now. You know better than this. We both agreed that objectivity isn’t just growing up out of the ground, so to speak. It’s an achievement. It’s our achievement.”

“But we must think of the future. And this ideal future is all we have to give direction to our academic endeavors. And we are the keepers of that flame. Keepers of the great conversation that has bounced from Miletus, the Indus Valley, the Gangetic Plain, the mountains of China, from the Levant to Mesopotamia to Egypt to Archaic Greece to Classical Greece to Rome to the Arabs to the Europeans and now to us, to the cosmopolitans drowning in our tide of mud--but it’s always been like this. It’s actually a mystery how we’ve never been ground down, how the writings of Plato or Aristotle or Thales of Avicenna or Bacon or whoever aren’t lying in the dust...”

“Adnan, you’re getting really far off topic. I was asking what the bathtub might mean, and here we’re off on a historical survey of big names in philosophy. Can we keep this on a human scale, please?”

“Sorry. Please don’t get peevish with me. I’m just blowing off steam here. You know how this whole process of applications has been. Madness. Just sending shit into a consuming maw. You spend 15 minutes composing a targeted cover letter and nobody will even look at it; nobody will let you know of anything. And it’s fine, the first hundred times, but when your part-time job is futility--well, shit. What can I say on that point? There is no conversation there! All is silence and electrons shuffling along wires bumping each other, hop-skip-jumping from me to you and from me to them, mostly drowned in a thick soup of primate apathy because after we meet about three people we can’t really be bothered to process anything deeply any more because that’s how it was on the Serenghetti plain, back in the Olduvai Gorge, or in the trees, or earlier when we shuffled under the shadow of the saurians...”

“...dude, please. The tub?...”

“...walking the earth, shaking the trees. ... Oh? The tub is a healing image: cleansing you, receiving you in your entirety, therefore a symbol of the Self, the totality. It’s likely that you’ve had a lifting of tensions in a relatively close friendship, some kind of breakthrough after tension. Does that sound right?”

“Yeah. Me and my mom recently...”

“...wonderful! The delicate mother-daughter bond sprouts renewed. Renewed! It makes me very happy! It makes my eyes wander in the noosphere like those googly springy fake glasses. Do you know the ones? You can get them at Dollarama for cheap. Dirt cheap. Never mind they turn to dust and in dustiness sit collecting it in some forgotten drawer, just waiting to spring upon us during a particularly vociferous bout of personal psycho-archaeology, wherein one uproots the childhood stuffed toys, lost birthday cards, family pictures, well-meant but mainstream and like a stab into the heart, a way of bypassing every conventional personal defense, a way of getting into the back door of the ego through the past when we weren’t so well outfitted, like goalies in their fortress of pads. I’m glad I could help you, glad I could offer some insight, thereby justifying all these years, these six years spent as an undergrad, these six years spent getting two degrees, two accelerated degrees, working all the time, heading the desk so many times as to leave a faceprint at my place in the library, headdesking so many times I don’t remember what it was like to not be a student, to not be institutionalized, to not be domesticated. do you remember, Far? I don’t. I don’t remember the endless summers of childhood that I’m told felt that way, felt golden, felt eternal, you know? I don’t remember them...”

“Um. Adnan. You’re kind of scaring me.”

“...but we can’t fear the abyss now, can we? The failure of all our striving, all that education, all that savings we forked over, we children of immigrants, while our parents turned lathes or whatever the fuck they did, we were cooped up studying as if it meant something, meant employment, meant prestige. You know what it fucking means? A method of social control. A fucking goddamn fucking method of social control. A way of keeping those who should be running shit, running shit ethically in a kind of crystal cage that they grow so attached to that they won’t leave, won’t descend from that tower of elephant tusks, won’t descend, won’t deign to dignify the two-thirds grey majority, the high school diplomas and the Humber College communication diplomas, the professional diorama makers, the people who make piecemeal improvements to Cheez-Whiz and other assorted mostly-plastic shit, while the systems thinkers, the people who need to clean up the phytoplankton mess, who need to make highways stop effacing city neighbourhoods, who need to find more efficient catalytic converters through biomimicry, for example, or simply come up with new, better, psychologically sound day care practices, or counseling practices, or whatever--those people have to languish in obscurity for the better part of a decade. It’s criminal, Far; fucking criminal. And then, have you heard this new thing? I just saw it today: the federal government is pushing the city to engage in a massive project of highway building “to stimulate the economy with shovel-ready projects”. Do you know what this means for the cultural capital of the city? They would cut downtown apart in four ways, like a fucking pizza. Goodbye every neighbourhood that’s ever been an incubator for anything decent in this world--(I mean urban decency; I don’t mean to impugn the decency that small towns can breed). I hope they kill it with fire, burn that beast then dunk the ashes in acid then burn the acid ashes then irradiate them with both gamma rays and microwaves, then bury it, cement the hatch and surround the opening with a minefield and a no-fly zone. Kill it dead, burn the highways, topple their supports, coat them with oil and watch the carnage, right Far?..... Far?......Hello?....”

Consider: "whether your cats are old enough to learn about Jesus."


Post a Comment

<< Home