The Beast in the Shadows

I went to the German embassy last week to apply for a new passport, since my old one is proudly full after only eight years (it’s valid for ten) = I am satisfied with my travels. I now ordered a „big“ passport with 48 pages for visa etc. stamps, instead of only 32 pages, guess that will be enough for ten years.

Sitting around at the embassy’s office waiting for the formalities, I skimmed through the German magazine „Wirtschaftswoche“ (business week(ly)) out of sheer boredom. I did not bother to read any of the articles, just browsing, reading headlines, captions and it all made me shudder.

The impression I got from this skimming is: hail our almighty gods – money and status. Smart looking men (mostly, didn’t see many pics of women in the magazine) in slick, expensive suits, being smart about being successful and „making it“ in the world of accumulating material wealth.
I just cannot get that scene from American Psycho out of my head, where Christian Bale and his adversaries compare their business cards, which look completely the same, bitching about the embossing of characters or the coating of the paper or whatever other entirely trivial and tiny differences. I must watch that movie again.

I am thoroughly disgusted by the money god hailing impression this magazine gave me and the big big question – what’s the point of all your money? – hovers dripping fat and ugly over the pages. Of course I am a part of that system in my dayjob. However, I find myself struggling daily against overtime and the need to get out of the company so that I can have some time for writing my stories. Despite that, I actually like my current job (most the time), which is challenging and delivers a lot of food for thought.

All the time I have this what I call „industrial horror novel“ lingering in the back of my mind, which I cannot really grasp. I’d love to write that „industrial horror novel“, but I don’t have characters that would be new and fresh. The topic of the bored, or stressed, or running amok office worker has been done a million times already and I have no ambition to write something like that. It’s like a big monster is lurking somewhere in this „industrial horror novel“ that I haven’t met yet and thus cannot write about it. I’d love to discover the „corporate beast“ and the „evil god of money“ in a new way that transcends the corporate horror (or comedy) stories so many other people write. Maybe I cannot grasp it because it’s actually not a horror story but the greatest comedy ever?

Corporate life itself is highly fascinating in a perverse way. I have now entered the realms of the management at its lowest level and am for the first time haggling with the rest of them for budget, headcount and influence (yet on a very modest and low low scale). It’s a big Dungeons and Dragons game for adults and those who enjoy playing it definitely have better chances at „advancing“. Literally: who plays the budget-headcount- influence game well, advances from level to level, gets more money and status and can be the stressor of more people underneath him/her.
There is a huge horror story or comedy lying in there somewhere, some basic human flaw or trait that waits to be discovered and written. The eyes in the dark are looking at me – let’s see if I manage to lure the beast out of the shadows one day and will write such a novel. Maybe I should actually read the „Wirtschaftswoche“ as research material, although I fear that would just make me unnecessarily sick 😉

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