Wednesday, December 07, 2005

What's Work Without "That Resentful human touch?

The Onion's Lee Canale looks at what's lost if machines replace human beings in the workplace:
You can install machines, but you can't install the permanent smell of fish in your nostrils, or hands that have been roughened, swollen, and discolored from years of fish dismemberment. You can build a machine to replicate the same repetitive motions we perform five backbreaking days a week, but all the engineers in the world cannot build a machine that will repeatedly bang its head on a locker, silent tears streaming down its metal cheeks, as it contemplates its wasted life.

Can a machine fume about years without a decent vacation, or having to pay exorbitant rent in a company-owned tenement near the factory? This, surely, only a man can do—a deeply self-hating man who loathes every second of his working life.

A machine can break down mechanically, but can it break down emotionally, mentally, and spiritually?

I can, and I have. Every day, a little piece of me dies. Could a machine say the same?

I've worked at this unventilated shit-prison 12 hours a day for nearly 25 years. I have developed no skills other than that of silently counting down the minutes of each workday while cursing my misfortune.

No matter what else they take from me, my utter and total hatred of this nightmarish fish-stick factory will always be mine. After all, isn't that what makes us truly human?