This piece was reprinted by OpEd News with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.
Leaf blowers are everything wrong with capitalism ...I'll explain that in a minute.
We all know times are irredeemably grim, and they're only getting worse. The unemployment level in America seems to be setting the record books aflame, and for some bizarre reason those numbers correlate nicely with the number of Americans under 40 living with their parents again. Understandably, the entire country is a little on edge. If I spend more than 30 minutes around my parents, one eye starts twitching, a dull ringing settles into my inner ear canal, and I start to think Rachel Maddow (which they leave on 24/7 as if she's Christmas music at Macy's) makes some logical sense. Point being, in terms of discomfort, I would imagine living with your parents in your late thirties ranks somewhere between erectile dysfunction and having a brain-eating parasite.
Anyway, back to unemployment. The Economic Policy Institute recently released new numbers showing, "Unemployment has especially skyrocketed for young workers in the COVID-19 labor market...The overall unemployment rate for young workers ages 16-24 jumped from 8.4% to nearly 25% from spring 2019 to spring 2020 ... Spring 2020 unemployment rates were even higher for young Black, Hispanic, and Asian American/Pacific Islander workers -- close to 30% for all three groups."
Unemployment is raging. Out. Of. Control.
Forgive me a quick aside about the inner workings of systemic racism. As those unemployment numbers make clear, not every problem in America involves racism, but every problem in America also involves racism. Systemic racism deniers refuse to comprehend this. When sh*t is bad for young people -- it's even worse for black young people. When life sucks for the elderly poor in the United States -- it sucks even more for elderly poor Hispanics. If the police are using weapons of war to crack activist heads -- they're cracking black activist heads twice as hard. If there's a clean water problem in America -- the water in Indigenous communities isn't just unclean, it has chunks of sh*t in it!
(Usually chunks of something Dupont used to produce Teflon├ "× . I mean, what's a few thousand people with cancer in order to ensure the egg slides right off the pan?)
Now let's break down this unemployment problem because much like a good one-night stand, you must get to the bottom. (I'm only half sure I understand what that sentence meant.) So, the surface problem is obvious: a lot of young people are unemployed. They don't have money, they can't pay rent, they can't pay their student loans, they can't afford food or life, they can only buy a regular coffee at Starbucks instead of the Frappe Unicorn Caramel Almond Juice Latte├ "× . So that's one reason employment is important.
But if we excavate down to the second layer, we find a more important -- and largely censored -- quandary: Why should we all have to be slaves to the labor market to survive in the first place?
Many people work their asses off grinding away at awful monotonous crap that shouldn't even have to get done at all. Our economy overflows with useless work. Utterly meaningless jobs, profoundly redundant tasks, excessively bureaucratic nonsense, woefully vapid spectacle production, joylessly soulless drudgery. They proliferate everywhere one looks.
For example, daily outside my apartment window, in a parking lot, no fewer than three Leaf Blower People (technical terminology) blow the f*ck outta thousands of leaves. The entire neighborhood sounds like the middle of a nonconsensual monster truck rally for three hours every single morning. And as if that's not inane enough, most days it's windy out. The leaves return to their original locations 15 seconds after the guy blows them. So -- much like a fluffer on a porn set -- his work doesn't last long.
Not to mention, why do leaves have to inhabit a particular location anyway? At the risk of sounding like a radical, let the leaves be leaves! Let them do their thing. I'm a strong supporter of leaf self-determination. It's not like they're scorpions and allowing them to run free near domiciles is a downright danger to society. No one has ever found a leaf in a parking lot, gasped with horror, then bellowed, "The children! Will no one think of the children?!" Plus, we're talking about a damn parking lot. What car can't park on leaves? (Other than a Kia.)
And why the hell hasn't someone invented a leaf blower silencer yet? We have a silencer for shooting people's heads off, which one would hope happens far less often than leaf blowing. Where's the Dyson vacuum guy when you need him? Get to work, mate! Invent the silencer. You can't retire now -- your legacy is not nearly secure. All you did so far was come up with a funny vacuum and a hand dryer that sprays fecal matter all over people at public restrooms. (Yes, scientists found that public restroom hand dryers simply hose us all down in sh*t flurries.) Well done, Dyson. Invent the leaf blower silencer post haste or you'll be known as the "feces laminator" forevermore.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).