I open a box of frozen burgers. And inside they’re all exactly alike. They all have the same thickness and diameter. They even have the same two grill marks in the same place, running diagonally across the surface of the burger like the tracks of a tiny tank.
There’s a story behind all this and I know what it is. Once upon a time, a few years back, there was a cripple who went to art school. This cripple didn’t even bother to ask the state vocational rehabilitation office for financial aid because the state vocational rehabilitation office does not encourage delusional endeavors like attending art school. But after the cripple finished art school, he broke down and asked the state vocational rehabilitation office to help him find a job. He knew it was a long shot to expect them to find him a job using his art skills. State vocational rehabilitation usually set cripples up with assembly line jobs where they tightened a screw on some gadget passing by on a conveyor belt and the cripple got paid something like three cents a screw.
But the cripple with the useless art school degree was desperate so he gave state vocational rehabilitation a shot. And much to his surprise, he got a job using his art skills! So he reported to the frozen burger factory, whereupon he was issued a paint brush, an industrial-sized can of black food coloring and a stencil. And then he assumed his position on the assembly line and whenever a burger entered his sector he had exactly five seconds to slap the stencil down on it, paint a quick swoosh of black food coloring and lift the stencil, thus creating perfectly uniform grill marks each and every time! And the crippled artist was probably paid something like three cents a burger, if the burger passed inspection.
But I don’t think this story ends with happily ever after. I bet it wasn’t long before the cripple felt artistically stifled and began doing subversive things that will quickly get a guy canned, like introducing elements of abstract expressionism into his grill marks. Or maybe he tried to organize a union, United Underpaid Cripples.
But even if the crippled artist successfully suppressed himself enough to keep his job, he was still probably replaced by a state-of-the-art grill mark stamping machine. The only thing that will work for less than a desperate cripple is a machine. Or maybe he was replaced by a robot that’s programmed exclusively to paint perfectly uniform grill marks on frozen burgers each and every time. The only thing that will put up with more shit in the workplace than a desperate cripple is a robot.
Or maybe the entire grill mark painting operation was outsourced to cripples in China.
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