Friday, 10 February 2017

Moving to Montana Soon

I met a man the other day who claimed that he has spent the last thirty-two years ripening avocadoes in a warehouse in Lincolnshire. I don't know if he was pulling my leg, but I don't think he was the kind of person who pulls legs. While I probably wouldn't like to spend that amount of my life performing that task, (although I have enjoyed a number of jobs that other people might regard as pretty dull and repetitive, and in fact it was their repetitive nature that most appealed to me), I am glad that someone is doing it, as I like being able to buy ripe avocadoes all year round.

I thought about that man while watching Toni Erdmann, (who is a man who likes pulling legs.)  I felt slightly uncomfortable, as the film seems to indict the work of people who spend their lives in non-creative, corporate occupations. But where would we be if someone wasn't prepared to stand in a warehouse in Lincolnshire ripening avocadoes? How would we manage if someone wasn't prepared to raise crops of dental floss and wax them down in little white boxes, (hey, an opportunity to slip in some of my favourite song lyrics, hurray:

I might be moving to Montana soon
Just to raise me up a crop of dental floss 
Raising it up
Waxing it down
In a little white box
I can sell uptown
By myself 
I wouldn't have no boss,
But I'd be raising my lonely dental floss
Raising my lonely dental floss
Well I just might grow me some bees
But I'd leave the sweet stuff
For somebody else...
but then, on the other hand
I'd keep the wax and melt it down
Pluck some floss and swish it around
I'd have me a crop
And it'd be on top
That's why I'm moving to Montana

Moving to Montana soon
Going be a dental floss tycoon
(yes I am)
Moving to Montana soon
Going to be a dental floss tycoon
I'm plucking the old dental floss
That's growing on the prairie
Plucking the floss.
I plucked all day and all night and all afternoon
I'm riding a small tiny horse
(His name is Might Little)
He's a good horse
Even though he's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
Blanket on, anyway
He's a bit dinky to strap a big saddle or
Blanket on. 

Anyway I'm plucking the old dental floss
Even if you think it is a little silly, folks
I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
I don't care if you think it's silly, folks
I'm gonna find me a horse
Just about this big
And ride him all along the border line
With a pair of heavy-duty
Zircon-encrusted tweezers in my hand
Every other wrangler would say
I was mighty grand
By myself I wouldn't
Have no boss
But I'd be raising my lonely dental floss
Raising my lonely dental floss
Raising my lonely dental floss
Well I might ride along the border
With my tweezers gleaming
In the moonlighty night
And then I'd get a cup of coffee
And give my foot a push...
Just me and the pygmy pony
Over the dental floss bush
And then I might just jump back on
And ride like a cowboy
Into the dawn to Montana
Moving to Montana soon


But after a bit I decided that perhaps the indictment is not about the work itself so much as the manner in which it is done, and then I didn't feel uncomfortable at all, because there has emerged during my lifetime the most frightful layer of bogus rubbish that is supposedly something to do with so-called 'management' but usually makes perfectly straightforward enjoyable jobs annoying and more difficult - and anything that attacks that is fine by me.

Take performance appraisal as an example. What a waste of time that is, (unless its real purpose is to reinforce a sense of hierarchy by placing workers regularly in the position of being told what their seniors think of them and thus reminding the workers that they are not powerful enough to reverse the process). And flipping bonding exercises, either in the form of days or even - eek - whole weekends away.  Usually the only bonding that is produced by these is the creation of a mass loathing shared by every employee for the coordinator or motivator or whatever idiot title the person with the butcher's paper has given themselves. Whatever label they go under, they are always creeps and idiots.  I should not forget either the endless, endless meetings explaining what is going on and what new developments are coming up in the organisation and blah de blah de blah. These may be intended to make everyone feel involved but they actually make everyone feel disrespected, since they take you away from urgent tasks and half the time whatever it is you are employed to do isn't changing one iota and whether or not the person at the top is called a CEO or a Change Management Enhancer is utterly irrelevant to what you have been hired to achieve.

The main thing to say though is that I found Toni Erdmann in equal measures puzzling, poignant and hilarious and I recommend it, if you want to see something intriguing, amusing and strange. If you want to read me saying that at even greater length, you can, here.

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