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Bill Bergeman


10 Ways Society Shames Us Into Living a Life of Servitude

Do you ever get the creeping feeling that you're doing a whole lot of dumb shit that you don't want to be doing, but you don't know how to stop doing it?

    1. Manufactured competition with your neighbor.

    This is prevalent in suburbs, where conformity is at a premium. This is how homeowner's associations were born, to keep people in the neighborhood from getting too far out of line. Always mow the lawn on Saturdays, never let the paint on your house start to chip, and always spend lavish money to upgrade your home to keep up with your neighbors.

    2. Be a cog in a corporate wheel.

    Have you ever noticed that most things are the same in every corporate office, with little variation? All of the walls are painted the same mind-numbing beige, all of the cubicles are the same size and have the same light-grey monotone carpeting, all the kitchens are stocked with sugar-laden, carb-infested garbage, and all of your meetings with your boss are designed to get you to work longer, work harder, take on more, be a 'better team player.' When was the last time your boss asked you how you enjoy your job? Or talked with you about the company's values, mission, and how they might align with yours? Or how the work you spend more than a third of your life doing even matters?

    3. In school, always get good grades and never do anything you're not told to do lest it goes on your 'permanent record.'

    I heard that 1,000 times in grade school. "Don't do that or it will go on your permanent record!" Or, "If you don't get good grades, you will be a failure and never get a job!" As an adult, no one has once asked me what my GPA was, nor does anyone care. And by the way, what the f*$k is a permanent record, anyway? It's like Santa Claus. I never once saw whatever it was, and no one ever brought it up to me unless they were trying to get me to behave a certain way.

    4. You must always be working and making money.

    Never go on welfare or unemployment or else you are a 'welfare queen' or 'lazy.'

    Never quit your job without another one lined up, or else everyone is going to ask you about your 'plan' as if life can't exist without some constant, never-ending churn of work.

    Never take a sabbatical because OH MY GOD YOU'LL HAVE A GAP IN YOUR RESUME.

    5. If you don't drink alcohol, you're 'weird' or 'weak.'

    You won't have a life, you won't fit in, and no one will want to hang out with you. C'mon, what's one drink? Relax a little.

    6. If you're single, you must be creepy.

    You must always be in a relationship. If you're not, you must always be looking for one. If you're not, you're a weird loner who no one will ever love and everyone will think you're creepy and you're not living a worthwhile life. The older you are, the more creepy you must be.

    7. The whole point of life is to slave away at a job so you can overpay for a mortgage and raise kids to do the same.

    In the United States, it's called 'The American Dream.' If you don't strive for more, bigger, or better, you're not contributing to society and must be a freeloader.

    8. The only way to solve a health issue is to pay large sums of money to a faceless, careless insurance company and a faceless, careless pharmaceutical company.

    Alternative medicine never works so don't be weird and try them. Eating healthy, exercising, and consuming supplements can't possibly do anything about high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. Drugs are the most effective way to solve all health problems.

    9. If you don't consume mainstream news you are an irresponsible citizen.

    Someone actually said that to me once.

    10. Every vote counts. Someone fought for your right to vote. So you must vote.

    Just ask any Republican in California, or any liberal in Kansas, how much their votes count.

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