Chronicles of Infection [part n+1, t.b.c.]


And now the Infected One* is sitting there, irritated. Irritation is important, iii! It seems very obvious that somebody who is infected should, to a certain degree, be irritated – the body is, after all, contending with irritations, viruses, vectors of disease and other major Others. But no, that is not the problem, at present.

The Infected One has received one more hefty, large envelope. Things have been going on in this way for quite a while now: the I.O. reads something somewhere that seems to relate to his present situation, he copy-pastes it, he changes[1] both the cover letter and the CV, he prints, he stuffs all of this in a nice, pricey folder, which goes inside an envelope [@ which point it gets sort of hard not to think of Mamushkas, cosmic froth, ad infinitum and such] takes it to the post office and within a few days it is returned to him.  Almost unharmed, if you disregard the dented corner now and then. It’s a natural balance, the inflow and the outflow are almost perfectly even matched except in the case of lackadaisical HR departments or where a certain administrative person feels the documents are more wisely tucked away in some remote, dust-accumulating office cupboard where they are safe from data theft. Information security, identity theft, data protection these are the watchwords of the Infected One’s day and age. They seem irrelevant to him because he has little to loose in the way of information or data that could be put to lucrative purpose by these so-called identity thieves or, on the other hand, he is unaware of the nature of the threat. Either scenario seems pretty plausible and thus he has opted for the former.


The Infected One is sitting there, irritated but not by the world, who is the general vector of infection. Only by this specific fraction of reality that has found its way onto his desk. At the same time he is pleased that all of the material has made its way safely back to him and can now be re-used.  The I. O strongly believes in recycling, not simply as an obligatory matter of national belonging but also as a safe&sound principle of the job market: the minimal differences between one application and the next are ideal for infinite circulation. Well, not infinite, eventually the folders and documents become dog-eared and bent out of shape and have to be replaced so the potential employer will not, as it were, smell what’s cooking.


So what is the Infected One then irritated about in this best of all possible worlds?  It is one of those rare replies that try for the human touch within the inhuman network-machine-cannibal-tribrid called “job-market”:  the top line reading “Dear Mr. I.O.” is written in discordant handwriting. There is something utterly jarring about the feeble, fleeting, irregular quality of bad ol’ longhand among the perfectly regular, even-spaced lettering [some cheesy Helvetica rip-off], a sad, unexpected jolt of nostalgia for a time that will, ante-nuclear-cataclysm, never be regained: empathy, consideration, pity. All of this out of the blue. But that’s not even the bottom issue. Neither is the over-long, mawkish explanation of why he was not hired or even just called-up for an interview.


The grain of irritation is tiny, it reads “entirely over-qualified”.


The Infected One had been hoping that this particular response was a thing of the past, that somehow the potential future employer’s human resource office’s employee who spent soul-suffocating amounts of time writing these rejections realized that here is somebody who has written so many applications that he no longer has to be appeased by any such absurdist rational.


He must be irritated because he is insecure. He would never acknowledge to himself, the Infected One wouldn’t, that he is insecure. But reality is that he does not know and can not figure out what it means: over-qualified? Evidently, technically, the expression is meant to signify that his academic training is in excess for what is required to do the specific tasks of the job and that thus his cortical area, in the course of a working day, a working week…. Simply as the years go by and life draws towards an unsatisfactory end [in the extreme w. case s.]….that under such an unlikely scenario the Infected One might be, what could be reasonably termed “dissatisfied” or “alienated from” or, more directly, “unhappy with” the given position of employment. Fair enough technically.  But the Infected One is a pretty firm believer in the really existing conditions of the world, thus a contradiction arises: the HR lackey was empathetic enough to use long-hand as well as the assumedly self-worth inspiring turn of phrase “entirely over-qualified”, this person is somehow in tune with the plight of the common job seeker.


Yet, simultaneously so-to-speak, the manpower minion somehow does not muster enough common sense to realize that A) such a supposedly “well-equipped” person probably is in no need of tepid humanist sentiment embedded as it is into an application rejection B) the sender of such an application could be assumed to already be aware of his/her factual status of excessive eligibility  C) [in the reality-based world towards which the Infected One, for the most part, has warm sentiments as regards income activities] in a contracting McJob market, not only is there a striking absence of free meals but “there is no such thing as an ‘overqualified’” [an ideological stance known as TINSTAAO]; one will not “pick&choose” but rather take what is given. The HRM understands and doesn’t understand what things are like in these dark times. And, naturally, it speaks volumes about the condition of the Infected One, rather than tenderhearted personnel lackey that he would take such a basically well-intentioned oversight [of the really existing conditions] as somehow a personal slight rather than a sigil of the fact that, despite everything [one is compelled to say], there is still some human warmth left in the frosty desolation of the market place.


The Infected One is in a condition where he lets everything in the world, no matter how far away or impossibly close to the heart, affect him. In an age of contradiction, in a time where contradiction seems to be the only viable spiritual, emotional and intellectual resource that is readily available, he has decided to try to thrive on it. It is for this reason that he understands [temporarily, as a subject of pure thought it is impossible for him to commit himself to any POV indefinitely] one of the prime themes of the global condition to be the following: civilizations, the planetary live-support system and humanity are lost, are beyond hope, the only thing that might come to their rescue [in an extremely unlikely scenario] is an extra-terrestrial deus-ex-machina [hereafter ETDEM] BUT individual human beings, movements, families, animals, plants ABOUND in HOPE, are indeed [in most cases] consubstantial with it.


Which is to say, when the Infected One feels most bleak and down-trodden about skies raining cluster bombs, the humanoids savaging their animal Others and themselves, WallStreet and its associated Avenues aslosh in bloodMoney, in rapedFutureMoney, then all he has to do is to come across one single nice person, have his mother give him a friendly call or see his girlfriend’s mail in the inbox for his heart to jump back up and beat once again like there is a tomorrow. The Infected One is infected by the sickness of the world, he lets it come inside through the eyes, the nose, the hands, the ears, even the pores but he won’t just yet let it kill him: the delirium of the infection is too fascinating to let go off. The fact that most of it is an abstraction changes little to nothing, the inner and the outer life have long since signed a sensory Schengen agreement.


The irritation becomes a weak pulse in the mental rear-view.


It is time for The Infected One to consider other matters.



[1] It is this very process which, over the years, has convinced The I.O that personal narratives are infinitely malleable. Nothing can withstand their awesome absorption powers.

* This is a purely imaginary persona. Any similarity to a physically existing person are co-incidental and not intentional. I swear to f#cking G^d!

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About tmabona

writer, reader [bolano, DW, bellow, deLillo], runner, badmintoneer
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2 Responses to Chronicles of Infection [part n+1, t.b.c.]

  1. wrasseler says:

    Dear IO EOQ. It appears you have hands that touch Everything Else.

    You have omitted these often quoted HR remarks accompanying over qualifcationality. “We do not want your Deep Seeing Techniques around here. It is not that there is anything else to be seen. We don’t want you lookin anyhows.” And,

    “Furthermore, the smudges on your enclosures indicate a precarious irritation. Our laboratory analysis confirms irritation is a primary test of biological activity. We are concerned that you are biologically active.” Or,

    “Perhaps if you agree to arrive for your interview as an alien we can fire you without cause as we wish #### scratch that Janet tell him we expect to pay aliens post termination. The Bureau of Labor doesn’t know where aliens go other than ArizonaNewMexicojail. Please reapply as a slave.” Worst,

    “We note on your curriculum vitae you attended special school. Your overqualification commenced at an early age. A head start is no excuse. Have you considered taking sides in divided camps? Please don’t camp on our goodwill. We don’t have any. We just have summer camps.”

    In Absolute Twisted Zero some are camps and some are not.

  2. tmabona says:

    Hi Absolute Twisted Zero

    4give my late response it was a weekend of great tardiness, DVD consumption, writing and the ever-beloved procrastination. Thanks a lot for your surreal, incisive, deep-seeing comment. I didn’t quite under-/over-stand all of it, then again, it’s always sort of vaguely disappointing if one does.
    The additional example of over-qulificationality are welcome. I was wondering why I hadn’t put more myself but then I remembered I had put on this little experimental piece about a job-application-rejection… however it is deep-stored in one of my defunct blogs but I might have to exhume it just for defecation&giggles.
    I love that part about biological activity. I think HR departments indeed harbor all types of unthinkable neurosis and a compulsive obsession with anonymous job-applicants biological or other activities could certainly be one of them. However, their labs main function I believe to be a linguistic one: turning out COOCOO-babble that can be used for either justifying the acquisition of new [and completely under-qualified] employees or hyper-socio-em-pathetically turning down the ones that would actually be up to the brain-deadening job to be done.
    As for Camp Goodwill, yes, it has long since taken down its poles and re-furled its canvas of hope in these days of neo-liberal cost-cutting and profit-boosting and ….Catastrophe Capitalism. Yikes, it always gets ideological in the end, doesn’t it?
    At any rate, I hope you enjoy the future escapades of The Infected One and will at some point reveal to me/him the meaning of EOQ [equals over qualified?].

    Helvetic Regards, Themzini

    p.s.: this guy here is doing awesome work by the way
    http://www.5cense.com

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