Wearing a Capitalist’s Skin

Patrick Bateman peeling off facemask

In public, I am not me. In public I am merely a reflection of the capitalist society in which I live. My public persona is a geist – it simply is not real. I’ll wake up in the morning as normal and go about my routine with my normal thoughts. As I head out into the wasteland of “order” and “civil living”, I put on the skin of a capitalist. The skin is suffocating, just like an old musky jacket. I always dread wearing it but find I have no real choice.

Under The Skin

As soon as I am wearing the disguise, all of my normal thoughts and feelings are put out of my mind. I am now of the idiosyncratic bourgeoisie. Another number in a sea of suits. I am unique – just like everybody else.

I’ll join my fellow compatriots of the elite (the kind I would normally wish higher taxes on at the very least, and at the most extreme a trip to a guillotine) in the popular coffee shops. My mind forgets about the brutality of the trade, and orders whatever overpriced slop is currently popular.

Sometimes my mind wanders and I miss my old job in fast-food. It was casual, we were all misfits there, we didn’t have to conform. However, I was often overworked, doing 12 hour shifts until early morning hours. It wasn’t good for my already fragile mental health and the pay wasn’t sufficient to live on. I had to hide my disgust and enter the world of formal business.

I enter the workplace, smile on my face, groomed and as best dressed as possible. My outward appearance gives the impression I’m ready and excited for work, which couldn’t be any further from the truth. I don’t dread the work itself, that’s easy. I love talking to people and dealing with members of the public. Of course, I’d rather be home doing almost anything, but as far as jobs go it’s not bad. The part I hate, the meaningless conversation with co-workers.

Every now and then we get the normal arguments. “Pepsi or Coke?” is a regular. I take the side of Coke because I prefer the taste and bury the fact they murder union leaders deep down to fester for when the skin comes off. “PC or Mac?” I actually use Linux, but will always take the side of Microsoft for the sake of the debate. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Almost all electronics are made by children slaves in factories where conditions are so bad they have nets outside to prevent workers to jump to their deaths. Deep down I particularly hate Apple. Their products are incredibly overpriced, inferior to others on the market and Steve Jobs was a horrific human being and the world is a better place without him. Again, these screams are muffled by the skin stretched over my bones.

Lunch comes around. Sometimes I’ll go with people to get food, other times I’ll buy whatever lunch specials from nearby shops. After we have eaten, the small talk starts up again. A torrent of tosh starts up. As soon as someone mentions politics, the mood turns sombre. We wait for someone to throw the match that is Trump into the gasoline of discourse.

Fortunately, no one in my work place actually supports him, so I take the small victory. Discussions of former “good” presidents then come up. I don’t mention that if Nuremberg Laws were applied to every post-war president, they’d be hanged. Lengthy hero worship of JFK in particular comes up “he was the perfect president” they say, not mentioning the Bay of Pigs. “Obama had real class”, I guess his mass deportations and drone bombings were palatable because he himself was “classy”.

Finally, when it’s time for me to leave the work place, a wave of relief courses through my body. Saying farewell to my colleagues, I leave the building, and head for home.

Stepping through the threshold of my house, I tear the skin off. I am now free to be myself. The injustices of the world and events of the day come back, haunting me. After fermenting throughout the day, I start releasing them. Writing in my journal is one of the few keeping me sane. It’s one of my greatest possessions. It’s always there, eagerly waiting for my return and for me to use the pages as my canvass, imagining a better world. I’m not intending anyone to see the journal but me, its purpose is for my venting and nothing else. I begin scribbling down all the thoughts that I was suppressing throughout the day. My writing is with such ferocity my fingers begin hurting.

Finishing the writing, I then go about the remainder of my day, reading, playing games and watching TV. In the back of my mind an unnerving feeling exists, for I know only a few hours separate me from the new day. Another day of wearing the Capitalist’s Skin.

My greatest fear: one day, I may not be able to take it off.

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