Years ago, my mom had regular meltdowns (like any mom) while trying to raise four kids. She would say, “If everybody would just do their jobs around here, life would be easier.”
I’m still not sure what my job was, exactly, but I know that I didn’t do it very well.
Just this past weekend, I was standing on a corner in Berkeley, CA. I was surrounded by failed undergraduate students with dreadlocks, homeless guys, feral chihuahuas, and a white-feminist-black-liberation-Frutarian-poet who told me to check my white privilege at the door.
(What door? I don’t know. And what the heck is a Frutarian, you ask? I had to google it.)
Berkeley is one weird city that made me wonder if I’m a conservative Republican. (I’m not.) But I now see my mother’s bigger point. If everybody would just do their jobs — from parents to cops to social services to local/state governments — maybe Berkeley (and the world) wouldn’t have so many sad, mentally ill people wandering the streets. Maybe if people would take better care of dogs, there wouldn’t be feral chihuahua packs. And maybe if these mentally ill people had access to opportunity, they could contribute to society in a more meaningful way.
I am not saying my mom was right back in 1989. I am just saying that you can’t be disruptive or even anti-establishment if your whole existence requires others to participate in the system and support you.
Ugh, Berkeley. You’re not punk rock. You’re not hippies. Most of you are just immature, jerky kids in dreadlocks. Do your job and go back to school!