Working at the KFC
Sitting in my car listening to the radio
Heaving smoke out the window
Waiting to work all day at the KFC
Dreading the grease, grime, and smell of chicken
Bob singing about turning the page
Feeling his struggle resonating
Until frustration strikes
For the poor rock star
Never feel sorry for
Teachers (especially not teachers!)
When you smoke the day’s last cigarette
Feeling sorry as you bask in lonely fame and millions
Remember – you’re just living your dream.
Written: Date Unknown
Written sometime in the nineties is the likely period of authorship because the file form, WordPerfect, needed to be converted to Word, which occurred sometime after 2000. The date and time listed on my old website, 3/2/18 9:45:36 AM, is the date I edited or posted the piece, and that date carries some career irony.
Shifting at the time from website development and marketing to writing deepened the resentment of jobs and careers. One would believe website building and marketing work far better than fast food, which they are, but by the end of both careers, I felt like a whore selling myself for someone else's or my profit. This poem encapsulates my disgust for work and the capitalist ideology that romanticizes the pain of becoming a rock star or anyone rising to success. Capitalism foists the self-made illusion upon everyone, even those the illusion fails. If you slave over that hot grease long enough and clean those toilets with enough determination, you will rise to the top because hard work leads to success. People who don’t work in mentally taxing or laborious jobs believe this, and when they rise to the top, either by someone helping or by luck, they pat themselves on the back for their hard work and pass that hard work bullshit on to you. That’s how you end up sitting in a car, feeling a twinge sorrow for the rock star’s touring woes, just before you enter the fast-food establishment to burn yourself with grease and listen to asshole customers ventilate hostility because they happen to be a little higher on the success ladder – probably by luck.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash