how you should be

when you are new and unformed you will inevitably meet
too many misshapen, malformed and ill conceived ones
who are happy to blithely and mindlessly repeat
whatever homespun, half-baked and poorly received words
of their mothers and fathers and their own miserable minds.
some of them mean the best for you, or whatever it is
that they think is obviously the best and most clear
program of sorts, or message, or plan for how you should be.
not all of them are past their prime, although those are the worst–
those thinning white heads full of worthless wastelands
of unexceptional memories that pass for precious wisdom.
some silver-backed gorilla at a soon-to-be defunct company
or a close-cropped matron of marketing married to a sales king.
no, not all of them have lived at all, you have those
prodigies and wunderkinds validated and fast-tracked
by those old men who think they know leadership when they see it–
it’s all about gumption and moxie and bootstrap thought leadership.
yes, those who have done nothing and lived nothing will deign
to give you that same sort of unsolicited advice that they think
should come at a pretty price, except they are offering it for free
for a limited time, because they know you’ll want to hang on their
every word and surely see the light that they were so precociously
and preciously able to see at the ripe age of three–
this perfect human wisdom on how you should be.

so, how should you be? you ask, well-that’s easy, of course.
just be yourself, okay, not that much, that’s too much of you.
perhaps don’t try so hard but still do try your best just the same.
be sure to know the rules of the game or you can’t play the game,
except, of course, you need to join us on the golf course, dance floor
or some secret back room seminar to understand exactly when
you should play by the rules or break them–for heavens’ sake–
don’t break the rules until you learn what the rules are, which
you should have learned at some point in your past, or, just ask–
we are always happy to help, our doors are always open, except–
when we aren’t so happy to help, and you should know better, and…
our doors are clearly only open because we need the outside air
to circulate inside our busy environments where we are helping plan
governments and cities and worlds that are echelons above echelons
that your sad helpless socially maladjusted self could even imagine.
in short, you should be whatever we have already agreed that you
are supposed to be–someone allowed to exist upon the same plane
of existence as us, and someone allowed to breathe the same air
as us, but not having so much more in common with us than that–
can’t you see? that we are really much too busy to articulate
in any great detail who or how you should be. so please,
just read the manual that was updated some two decades ago,
and it will give you enough that you’ll need to know
to keep us from constantly getting on your back about this or that
and you can happily sock away just enough savings to satisfy
any of your lingering cravings when all of your teeth have dropped out.
but isn’t it clear that we are truly helping you become free?
as long as you follow all of the rules that pertain to how you should be.

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