Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Feasting at the Temple of Mammon

They're having a party down there. My mother is gloating. My father is relieved. My generation's last bastion of nonconformity has fallen, and the evil minions of The System have assimilated their latest convert: me.

Here's what happened: after a battery of pre-employment tests, PAGCOR calls up mom and my aunt and tells them I've a position waiting for me at their branch in Pampanga. One of their artists is about to retire and I had been selected to fill his shoes. Sometime later, my auntie Glo gets another call: apparently said artist isn't going to retire just yet. Maybe he heard about me replacing him and decided that hanging on a coupla years longer ain't so bad after all. I don't blame him-- I'd feel exactly the same way if I heard some young upstart was horning in on my turf courtesy of auntie Glo.

The Treachery of Saruman
By the by, it's an open secret that a sizeable portion of the PAGCOR population owes its tenure in part to some "backer," Evil Dex included. That's partly because of the nature of the institution-- not one presidential administration goes by without some PAGCOR heads rolling, and some new presidential appointee bringing in new faces. As the fates of the individual workers are tied to the fate of PAGCOR, the institution has adopted a rule that levels the playing field among employees. More or less. "Your backers have done their jobs in getting you noticed; make them proud by doing your job well." Which is par for the course.

A Hobbit Named Gerald
But back to the story. My being a "Pampanga-based PAGCOR artist" being a bust, I was directed by Human Resources to proceed forthwith to the Casino Filipino ziggurat in Lilith-ville, (also known to you as Para�aque). There, I met a dark-hued hobbit named Gerald, who asked me questions regarding my willingness to part with my hair and be posted anywhere this side of 5th-Age Middle-Earth. Natch, I said "You can send me to Baguio for all I care. Right now, I'm greedy and I'm willing to be used." Well, sommat like that.

Weeks later I received a call from PAGCOR. I was up for indoctrina-- orientations at the main office and at the Para�aque ziggurat. Now, here I am, slowly but surely ferreting out snippets of my identity: the little proofs of my existence passed out- and required by- the State for the express purpose of taxing me to death and handing out the proceeds to Congressman Corpulent and Senator Shifty.

Puppet Strings
Now my Mom and Aunt have pulled more strings with the HR people-- who aren't talking to the HR people I'm talking to-- such that I will be able to report to work at once. Normally, it ain't bad (I'm a minion of The System now, right?) but I feel that my mom and aunt have taken things out of my hands again, effectively reducing me to a little child, the way she's always had. I've tried alternately yelling at and explaining this to my mom, but she still sees nothing wrong with her actions. I have also been labelled misguided and ingrato (what else is new?). Tomorrow they will call me again and ask how "everything" went. I guess it's as good a time as any to change sim-cards, phone numbers and addresses.

God Save the King and Queen
I have said before that I'm done doing the blame game, but I'll let it out this final time. Love is a good thing, but my shrink has given me to understand that much of my difficulty with relating to the world around me stems from my parents' schizoid childrearing. The Girlfriend is surprised that I turned out functional at all. I am afraid, all of a sudden, of impregnating my wife, whoever she may be. I cannot afford to foist another overprotective, mother-instinct driven authority figure on my son.

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