The Constantine Complex

This system has confused me before, but now they’ve entirely lost me.

Apparently, because I work, I have a right to paid vacation. The concept of which sounds completely absurd to me to start with, but I work with day contracts! Not even contracts! I don’t even have an official employer! I take my vacation whenever the fuck I want!

I got a letter in the mail. From the "state service for paid vacation". I thought they had to be kidding, but I seem to be wrong. It has a whole list with numbers and figures on it that you need an economy degree for to understand, but I didn’t really care cause most numbers were "0.00" anyway. I just thought they had sent me yet another letter saying "we have nothing to report. Have a nice day." Until I reached the bottom.

"To be received: 790.79 EUR"

Dude what the fuck. They’re Giving. Me. a small 800 euros, for no reason other than a loophole in the system.

WHAT THE FUCK’S THE MATTER WITH THEM!? They point the finger all goddamn day long because I receive unemployment money, and then they dump this fucking truckload of money, that I would otherwise have to save 3 months for (without spending anything at all) smack on my lawn. "Oh by the way we owed you this, BRING IT ON BOYS!!" *dump*

Morons. Obey the system mindlessly, without opinion or conscience. Well I’m keeping this money, suckers.

 

For some strange reason I often get the feeling the world is doing better these days. Racism, violence, it all doesn’t seem that big a deal anymore. I can talk of course, from behind my computer in a comfortable house.

Newspapers claim otherwise though. Not too long ago a boy was stabbed by 2 underage immigrants for his MP3 player, and more recently, a man went out, bought a rifle, and shot two women as a racist act. This is absolutely horrible and my heart goes out to the families and victims, but I’m quite happy with how the Belgians responded to both crimes. No cries of "legalize weapons entirely so we can defend ourselves", no "it’s those fucking Turks again". Dialogues were started and ways are being sought to prevent this in the future. Not by handing out murder weapons, but by looking how youth can be integrated into our society.

However, there is one thing today that bothered me. Investigators are now busying themselves with wondering if the game Grand Theft Auto has caused the rifle-man to do what he did. Just like Marilyn Manson and Doom were blamed for the Columbine murderers.

Obviously, even I can tell you that, they’re wasting their time. It is known that the killer was a big fan of games such as GTA, and yes, his behaviour was most likely influenced by the game. Yes, the Columbine kids learned to kill on a computer. But neither PC games or shock-rock wannabes were the cause of these tragedies. Duh.

Any human being driven to this act obviously has a screw loose, and it ain’t computer games that did that. Whatever makes someone do such things, has to be a continuous pattern over time that eventually makes these people believe their murders are justified. Social exclusion, poverty, racism. Even without computer games or aggressive music, these people would have done terrible things. Blaming those is only a way to close your eyes for the real problem: We got freaks among us and turning our backs only makes it worse. These people most likely weren’t even Born with these dysfunctions. Parenting, peer pressure, we’re all to blame. Blaming and possibly banning or censoring (because that’s what it is) media will solve nothing.

 

My lack of education may be a great handicap, when I’m around people my age, I often experience it as an advantage.

We all had the "When I grow up, I want to be" and so on. Fireman, pilot, Freud would lose it if he’d hear it all. If your grades are okay, you continue your way to high school, university, and so on.

Let’s take my girlfriend as an example. She has always been an excellent student, with extraordinary talent for languages. "Low school" (hell if I know what that is in English) was a breeze. She was about 12 when she had to decide what she wanted to do: Languages or mathematics. 12 years old. Of course, she also could have done wood working, metal working, industrial science, graphical techniques, or audio-visual or other art types. And that’s just a few of the dozens of options. But she didn’t know that at the time, because no one bothered to tell her, because that was "way below her potential". Language or math. 12 years old.

She was 18 when she finished high school, and had to choose her classes in the "hogeschool" or university. She had little more than a month to decide. I’m sure there were plenty of options, but I never saw much of those so I can’t tell for sure. She was good at languages, so she decided "I guess I’ll do translation". Now she’s learning to be a translator, Spanish-French.

She quoted a philosopher a little while back who’s name I forgot: "The older we get, the unhappier we become". I didn’t agree to it, but I can imagine it being so if you have your whole life laid out for you like that. Now she’s hearing "when you’ll be a translator, you’ll have to…", all day long. For 4 years. What is her conclusion when she graduates? "I have to be a translator." Where did the "When I grow up" dream go? She doesn’t have to be a translator at all. With her diploma, she can do everything I can do, and more. But she thinks she has to become a translator, or interpreter.

Fulfilling dreams doesn’t bring happiness. Striving to fulfill them does. If your main goal when you’re 21 is, "I have to become what I studied for", congratulations, 2 years later you’ll have probably succeeded, and it’s time to build your own little house (a Belgian is born with a brick in his tummy), with a little garden with a little tree. Then, the next 40 years, you’ll have 3 weeks vacation per year. Your childhood dreams of travelling the world, becoming a rock star, or even being who or what You wanted to be, will be put on hold until you’re 60. You have the job, house and marriage you wanted, so why do you feel there’s something missing? You’re a productive citizen of society, you should be happy!

Is it really that complicated, that no one sees it? A friend wants to use the money she gets for graduation to buy a car. So she can… drive around. Sure, she wants to go on a trip around the world, but that can wait, can’t it?

It’s a matter of priorities. Cars, houses, little trees, they’re just Things! Objects, material stuff for material people. They don’t complete you in any way once-in-a-lifetime experiences can. Why am I the only one with this opinion? Every day I hear it: get a driver’s licence. Get married. Your own house. I’m Not Finished!! And neither are they! What time is This to settle and commit to any fucking thing but childhood dreams?? Get out there, Fucking Live!

 

If you’re feeling like watching a movie with your friends, and someone suggests a flick that ties your stomach in a knot and makes you want to vomit, because you know what you see is real, see ‘Warriors’.

I discussed the military with a co-worker once, and he said something like "yeah I bet it’s tough. I saw ‘Full Metal Jacket." Let me state one thing, which I told him, as well: ‘Full Metal Jacket’ is a parody. A comedy, and it is made to be exactly that. Don’t take it seriously, it’s not supposed to be.

On topic, the title is from the short name for the FV510 Warrior Mechanised Combat Vehicle, a British sort-of tank/APC used in the UN blue-helmet ops in Bosnia. The story is about those people, British soldiers providing assistance to the victims of the ethnic cleansing that was going on there between 1992 and 1995. The only problem was, when are you a victim? Officially, their job was to stay neutral and care for the wounded in the name of the Red Cross. So basically, they had to watch while an entire family was being tortured and killed, children first, and then transport the few survivors to a hospital.

One of the main characters (sorry, I’m horrible with names and I Always miss the beginning, damnit) is a British officer who feels attracted to a girl of the Muslim minority that is being swept away. No Hollywood-ish love scenes, no breathtaking special effects, even the music is kept to a minimum. The movie focuses entirely on the psychological and physical hell that these soldiers went through, and the inhuman horrors inflicted upon the minorities in Bosnia. Nearing the end of the film, the soldiers arrive home, an entirely different person.

From all the war movies I’ve ever seen, this one come closes to the taste I got in boot camp. ‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Band of Brothers’, even ‘The Longest Day’, they’re all nice to watch but they don’t even come close to reality. Want a glimpse of it, watch this film.

 

I’ve only gone working one day this week and it was an absolute disaster. Only half a day work, in the pouring rain. We had to break down a tent, and it was kind of cool until we took the skins off. After that, it was all just one wet, cold, shitty ordeal.

Luckily I learned a trick in the army: I took off my sweater and put it in the car, and worked in my tee shirt. As long as you’re working it’s not too bad, and whenever we were standing still I put on my nice dry sweater. It’s a bitch to put on the tee shirt again when we have to get out in the rain again, though.

 

You’re the only one who can hold your head up high,
shake your fists at the gate, saying
I’ve come home now.
Fetch me the spirit, the son and the father,
tell them their pillar of faith has ascended.
It’s time now!
My time now!
Give me my,
Give me my wings!

10,000 days, both the album and the song, still capture me more each day. I never expected anything less, of course, even though I’m becoming convinced 10,000 days is not Tool’s best work so far. Great album, reaching Tool standards, but not as great at Lateralus or even Aenima. The anger and the art of ascension from which, is completely gone, and the subject changes to things like drugs and dead relatives. Nothing wrong with that, but they can do better.

Nevertheless, if you haven’t bought their album so far, do so now. Make them rich.

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One response

  1. Kwinten

    Hello,
     
    Me again…
     
    Concerning the murders you speak of. At my work, i constantly hear racist comments… And they had a few things to say about those murders. They said it was all \’their\’ fault! They said people are fed up with foreighners and even \’that it\’s no wonder people just go out and shoot them\’. Obviously i didn\’t agree en thus there was a distance created between me and the other omployees.
     
    So, just for not agreeing with the others i am now an \’outsider\’.
     
    I honestly don\’t believe things are getting better. In fact, the way i get to experience things makes me sick. In this shithole of a town i live now, in Brussels en even in Ghent, racism is al around us and is still spreading. A lot of things are responsable for this (i believe…) but i\’m not going into detail here.
    I think people will never change and history will repeat itself…
     
    But hey, i play doommetal, so i should think pessimistic…
     
    At least i still act as i think is right and in my eyes averyone\’s equal…
     
    ps: vacation money is way cool
    pps: i\’m still striving to become a rock god ;)
    ppps: totally agree on the Tool-thing
     
    respect holmes

    29 May 2006 at 17:06

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