ROBERT WALLACE PAOLINELLI
"Arbeit Macht Frei"
––Motto of Auschwitz
Every day we slaves report to work. We do not grumble too loudly; we do not complain; we do not rebel; we do not question; we do not argue or talk back; we are good slaves; our slave master loves us; he is good to us; he gives us work to do and we feel productive and useful; he likes our ideas and, of course, our labor; he likes innovation and increased productivity; he even rewards us when we work extra hard. We are grateful to him for keeping us. And when we get too old to work, he gladly retires us and we can go to our homes knowing that we did a good job for our slave master, the boss.
When we are sick he sees to it that we are cared for; if we have teeth problems he sends us to the dentist; if we need medication, we can go to the pharmacist and get medicine; if our eyes grow weak, he gladly sends us to the eye doctor for glasses. He does everything to keep us healthy so our physical problems do not interfere with his profit.
It is necessary to keep the money rolling in for him; that is why he gives us so many benefits; we help him maintain his high standard of living and he often tells us that if we work hard for him, that we, too, can be bosses someday and live much as he does. "Self–manumission Through Hard Work" is the motto we march under every morning as we enter the boss' domain.
Our slave master–boss does not keep us chained; he does not need whips; he does not need neck collars or any kind of manacles, for we are wage slaves; the job is our bondage and our paycheck is our reward for being good slaves.
Not everyone can be the boss' slave; oh, no; he is very selective and he created a special department to screen, investigate, interview and recommend applicant–slaves who come to the office in an unending stream to fill out applications, leave resumes, take tests and submit to all kinds of probes and examinations. The personnel department slaves feel they are superior to us worker slaves because they have been given the master's authority to hire and fire; to make policy and to enforce his rules and regulations.
A few years ago, when the hair styles were long and men wore beards and large moustaches, the boss ordered the personnel slaves to send out a memo to all slaves that no long hair, no beards, moustaches or any type of facial hair would be worn.
We did not protest; well, not really all of us; some of the younger slaves who had beards, big bushy beards complained; but they were told they would shave or be fired. The boss is merciless when he wants to be. We tremble at his power.
Many of us have families, children in college; we own our own homes, cars, boats, summer cottages; we have mortgages to pay, and monthly payments to make on washer/dryers, VCRs, televisions, refrigerators, furniture, credit card bills and the like.
Without the boss' largesse where would we be?
I hate the boss. I HATE THE BOSS! But each morning I smile and say good morning to him as if I meant it; but I don't mean it and neither do most of the other slaves. And I know he knows I (or the others) don't mean for him to have a good morning; but I am vital to his organization so he just tolerates my deceit because I earn him lots of money, and although I could be replaced, he keeps me on because it would be a lot of trouble to find another slave already trained, to replace me, because that would be disruptive, and what the boss doesn't like is disruption of the routine because disruption of the routine means loss of revenue and his sole purpose in life is to make money.
We do a damn good job; and if anyone of us should die––well––so be it. There are more just waiting to be called.
When I first became a slave I struck up a friendship with a kindly old woman who had been a slave since she'd been graduated from high school. She seemed to love being a slave; she was always so willing to work hard, work overtime if necessary; she even took work home and never asked to be compensated for her home work. She always had a cheery smile and a good word for everyone––especially the boss on whom she doted as if he were a favorite nephew or grandchild.
One day I heard her clearing her throat over and over again; then I heard her gasp for breath, then she screamed out in pain, clutched her chest, then fell face down over her typewriter, trembling and gasping for air; she turned blue. I rushed to her aid; but I could do nothing for her. I called out to the other slaves; they came running; someone called for an ambulance; the paramedics were not long in coming; they did what they could, but she was already dead.
We all felt a little sad; the boss came out of his office; he looked down at his old slave on the floor with the plastic oxygen mask over her dead face; he shook his head. "How long are you going to leave her here?" he asked the paramedics.
As they were wheeling her covered body out of the office on a gurney, the boss was on the telephone. Soon afterwards, a temporary office slave–worker from a nearby temporary slave rental agency was at the old slave's desk preparing to finish typing the report the old slave was working on when she had had her heart attack.
"Business as usual, business as usual," called out the boss.
We all went back to our desks. We had an important deadline to meet,. Reports had to be prepared and a budget revised and orders sent out to our field representative slaves and to the production slaves to fill the new orders as soon as possible. The boss told the accounting slaves to send some flowers to the family of our dead slave and had the slave janitor clear out her locker and told the personnel slaves to find another slave to take her place.
A few years ago, when the hair styles were long and men wore beards and large moustaches, the boss o