Thursday, September 8, 2011

Five Things You Need to Know: Our Microwaveable Depression

Kevin Depew

Our modern depression is obscured by microwaves and circuses. Night after night they stood alone, invisibly, in their solitary food lines, and pressed the assigned code into the machines. Three minutes on high for some. Five minutes on low for others. A minute and a half on defrost and then three minutes on medium just for complexity's sake. This code, commands really, sometimes varied in pattern but nonetheless managed to convey a certain level of assuredness with their simplicity.

It wasn't always so. History said the Great Depression roared in amidst a mammoth cloud of dust and lingered for months as a murderous dry and waterless haze that killed crops all the way from Kentucky to California, as far north as the Dakotas and all the way down to Texas. That was the beginning of the thing, history said. And when the dust finally lifted everyone stood up, took a deep breath and exhaled in relief, glad for all that to be over with. Many years later, hardened by the decades that had since passed, someone would look back coldly and admit, "Just when we thought it was over, it was really only beginning."

But this our current state, our modern depression, arrived unannounced and so it remains unnamed. It's scattered, decentralized, obscured by a string of loose affiliations, freelance assignments and unenforceable contracts. There are no food lines for people to point to in grim recognition of our plight. There are only the machines, invisible in their ubiquity. No one even really knows when it began. Was it in the rollover from 1999 to 2000 when we feared our machines would fail, sad victims of a single missing digit, a deserving exclamation point to our human fallibility?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Everyone is encouraged to participate with civilized comments.