# # Wither Catharsis?

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Wither Catharsis?

I was talking with an attractive young woman the other day about my job when she asked me if I found it cathartic.

She’d read somewhere that working with dough could be cathartic.

Now, what we were really doing was a little light flirting in the form of trying to assure each other that we aren’t stupid, even though we’re both employed at a supermarket.

I was going on about having been creative director for a magazine prior to the economy slumping and she was telling me that she just couldn’t take being a stay at home mom – then asking if I found my job cathartic.

It’s an interesting question, as I stand here, contemplating whether that non-wedding looking ring on your left hand means you’re taken or that you just don’t like guys hitting on you as you while your life away behind the counter of the supermarket’s name-brand, coffee kiosk.

There are two parts to catharsis, as I’m sure you know: first there is the emotional climax, the purging, then the sense of renewal.

Well, let’s see. I just told you that I used to make nearly three times the money I am making now and did so in a way indicating that I loved that old job and was nonplussed to find myself working at a supermarket as basically unskilled labor, so certainly we have the recipe for a little emotional climax of some kind or another.

Did I mention that I feel like a failure and a clown, standing here in my all white outfit, besmirched apron, and forced company grin, surrounded by teen and retiree aged coworkers, and harassed by overweight, housecoat-clad customers, their sniffling, ill-mannered children approaching me with outstretched, grimy, free-cookie hands?

Yes, tossing misshapen wads of dough into the whirring rollers of the molder does have some positive emotional effect upon me, as I tend to imagine each elastic lump another of my demons, cast like hapless virgins into the fires of the volcano below in some primitive attempt to appease the god that I’ve obviously pissed off – would only that the dough could scream – but I don’t know that I would say this makes me feel “renewed” in any sense of the word. Perhaps if I knew that it would be the last time …

Cathartic? I may have distracted your attention by so obviously taking in your clear, brown eyes, your delicate, lithesome frame, or accepting your slightly horsey smile as cute but I inclined my head and twisted my mouth while doing so in a way that should have let you know that catharsis, as an employee benefit, has yet to be made available to me.

I shall have to peruse the weighty employee manual I was so kindly encumbered with, prior to my taking the oath of fealty to this fine institution, to see what it mentions about achieving catharsis whilst cramming myself up to the elbows in recalcitrant mounds of beaten flour, water, and yeast.

If catharsis first starts to show itself as sudden, sharp pains in the wrists, fatigue in the knees and thighs, or a general sense of frustrating pointlessness, I may be on the verge, just now.

Actually, in the envelope I received from the union I was forced to join to work here, you know, the one they send you that says: “Welcome to the Union, we’re here to protect you and your minimum wage job – please remit $200,” I think I saw something about unauthorized catharsis not being allowed on company property. If I’m not mistaken, mill workers, tobacco workers, and bakers aren’t eligible for union-authorized catharsis until they’ve been on the job for thirty years or more. At that point, it takes the form of climbing some promontory with a high-powered rifle. Having gained a suitable vantage point, one is allowed to pick off however much catharsis one cares to.

So, no, I don’t think I’ve found much in the way of full catharsis in the bakery just yet. Perhaps I am trying too hard. Perhaps the point is to simply give up, to become one with the dough, as they say. To allow the fingers of this new life I’ve found to knead me into the shape they so desire; say a human doughnut or a baguette; some uniform, golden brown lump, ready for tomorrow’s dumpster load unless I am somehow lucky enough to be one of the chosen few that is taken home, dismembered, and consumed by a blank-eyed, mouth-breathing public.

That might be cathartic.

And what about you, my long-legged, raven-haired maiden? I have heard that spending 6 hours at a time, serving endless lines of unappreciative coffee customers, willingly queued up for overpriced, name-brand service can be tedious to the point of insanity. That it can suddenly make days spent in the home with your developing child seem like a fucking paradise. Have you found that to be true? Would that qualify as catharsis?

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