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Vol. 23, October 10th

Lovers Rock

An essay


No work tomorrow means having the prospect of sleeping in but still waking up early, so sad.


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Culture Corner


What Killed the Blue-Collar Struggle for Social Justice nyt


Identity Fraud gawker


The Great Horny Takeover of Twitter Spaces mel Squirt spaces


The Spine Collector vulture An interesting story of a mysterious person trying to steal manuscripts of highly anticipated books before they get published.


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Lovers Rock

I’ve rubbed my tongue raw from the excess glue and wire left behind from ripping out the permanent retainer that once stretched across the back of my four front teeth. Only a fraction of the wire remains behind my front right tooth, a daily reminder that I need to make a dentist appointment. A part of me is nervous that the glue has somehow infused into my tooth and that it won’t be able to be removed without taking the whole tooth, this is my way of avoiding responsibility for my own physical health.


I take a sick amount of comfort in moving the date I’ll call a dentist’s office to schedule an appointment to the Friday that follows every Monday because I rubbed my tongue raw that Sunday. There is a part of me that wishes it would just go away on its own and completely absolve me of any personal responsibility. The glue and the wire are physical manifestations of the way I treat myself, which is ultimately just to ignore every ache and pain in hopes that they subside on their own. With each passing of my tongue over the clump of glue, I’m reminded of my own mortality. I remember that this body isn’t permanent and that it is slowly deteriorating.


Two years ago, I was in California with a group of friends who were on tour. It was a brisk fall night in Fullerton as we gathered around our eight-passenger van in the parking lot of Programme Skate and Sound. I was mesmerized by the venue that I had mythologized for years through the screens on my phone and computer. The sun was disappearing quickly and the slate-colored sky reflected off the mirrored exterior of a building across the alleyway of the venue. It was romantic. I poked my head around to get a feel of the area and discovered it was located just off of a busy intersection, near a Burger King and a Dollar Tree, nestled into the corner of the same copy-and-paste strip mall found in every intersection of every city across the unimaginative United States. We ended up spending more time in these establishments than we did at the venue itself.


At the show, I joined the crowd in yelling along and moshing with unfamiliar people, embracing and locking arms as we gathered to scream the words at one another. As the last song played, I pushed the strangers aside and decided to join in throwing my arms and body around like a lunatic; instantly, I was met with a vicious pop in my shoulder but my adrenaline masked the pain for the rest of the night, just an afterthought.


A few hours later, we pulled up to a friend’s house in a quiet neighborhood and were invited in. We were met by a few small, cheerful dogs and hardwood floors. As everyone wrestled for the couch, I gathered as many pillows and blankets as I could to form a makeshift mattress. Suddenly I realized I had lost about 80% of the mobility in my left shoulder and that I could not lift or extend it in any direction. As the lights dimmed and the voices lowered to whispers, I stared at the ceiling and begrudgingly accepted that I wasn’t going to be sleeping at all that night. I laid there wondering why I subjected myself to these kinds of pains.


Months passed -- I never saw a doctor for my shoulder. I was unable to sleep on my left side without pain until about 6 months ago. Now that I’ve begun going to the gym consistently, I’m reminded of that weekend; the screaming, the flailing, the pop of the joint. Do I really want to be the person who avoids taking responsibility for my own health? I used to have the excuse of being without health insurance, but for the past two years, I’ve managed to fail upwards into a decent-paying job with decent benefits. What excuse do I have now? I’m unsure of the correct approach is for deprogramming someone so afraid of medical-related debt. As I read more and more about revolution and the institution of socialized medicine, I’m further dismayed about the prospect of seeking medical care in its current iteration. As I grow older I’m faced with the harsh reality of what it means to age, my inevitably deteriorating personal health weaving its way through my twenties, a nihilistic coming-of-age story. The more I procrastinate, the more the impending doom is likely to compound into actual long-term damage. There is a daydream in which I’m swimming in an ocean during a storm, saved from the waves by a giant rock protruding from the shoreline. A subconscious metaphor in which I seek the refuge of comfort and familiarity; a lover’s rock in the turbulent sea.


As the doomsday clock strikes midnight the Earth is faced with an escalating climate crisis. Severe weather occurrences are taking place simultaneously on four continents while the world’s richest men launch themselves into space on multimillion-dollar joyrides. Our screams for action fall on the deaf ears of policymakers who tucked cozily in the pockets of lobbyists making our failing democracy a functioning aristocracy. Two days after addressing the internet with calls for action against climate change, our senate representatives passed an amendment preventing the executive branch from banning fracking of any kind. I'm sure you can imagine where a large portion of their contributions come from. This comes as a surprise to no one, as the United States reveals itself not as a country but as a wallet for special interests. There are hundreds of workers at the Frito-Lay factory in Topeka, Kansas, and Nabisco factory in Portland, Oregon that are currently on strike, along with the hundreds of organizers taking revolutionary action against the XL Keystone pipeline and they will be the first to tell you: it will and can not be business as usual for any longer.


I sometimes like to imagine that I’m the United States government (at this point you know I’m deranged) and my health concerns are climate change, recognizing the parallels between the two. I’m aware of the risks involved with not going to the doctor but too comfortable to do anything about them until it’s possibly too late. Climate scientists around the world agree we have about 5 years to drastically reduce our CO2 emissions to expect a manageable climate situation, worse than our current one, but not as catastrophic as it could be if no action is taken. How long will I have until my health concerns become unmanageable? I recently hurt my knee by walking too briskly down a flight of stairs; the doomsday clock is one second from midnight. This is not just my coming of age story as it becomes more apparent that growing up is just taking more responsibility because the film that was once covering my eyes is now falling from the eyes of hundreds of others as well. Growing up isn’t easy, but the sense of community makes it comfortable.


The future looks grim, but noble groups of individuals will continue to fight to survive because we don’t have any other options. As I toss in the storm, I hold tight to my lover's rock and I’m comforted -- but what if the tides rise and my rock is no longer there for refuge?


Solidarity with the working class, from each according to their ability to each according to their need.


UPDATE


Since completing this article both the Nabisco and Frito-Lay workers have reached an agreement that satisfied their demands, renewed their contracts, and has returned to work.


As of October 6th, more than 1,400 workers across a few states have walked out of their Kellogg’s cereal factories on strike. One striking worker said this:


“We’ve been asked how long we’re willing to fight, and at the end of the day it’s going to be one day longer than they are”


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That’s it for this week! Please subscribe to receive any future newsletters. Peace and love.

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