Of eggs & baskets

[Trigger warning: The entirety of this Doganpost was written in a bad mood.]


I had, when I moved into this place, a lovely globular wire egg basket, of the sort in which the French collect (or once collected) snails. It had a handle, and could be hung from a hook; and wire paws, to stop it rolling off a counter. Its one flaw was: too big. I acquire chicken eggs six at a time (though am often compelled to buy a full dozen); this basket could hold nearly twenty. Foolishly, I gave it away. Wire egg baskets used to be common in the flea markets. I expected to find another, soon.

Indefensible optimism on my part. I should have learnt: from my unwelcome habit of giving books away (to people I think ought to read them). What was once readily replaced, in the used bookstores, is no longer. Books may still be found for almost nothing, in bulk, but any specific book becomes a “rarity” to the Internet merchants, who will price it for “collectors,” after googling to find the highest amount an idiot ever paid for it. Then add “shipping.”

“They don’t make them like that, any more,” an elderly lady discovered, after giving away her last typewriter ribbon, some several years ago. (Beloved old stenographer who, refusing to be defeated, then mistress’d the art of respooling.)

We live in a time when hoarding is necessary. Of course, it has been identified as a compulsive disorder, by the same sort of people who have made it necessary.

Among the demands of Progress is that any provision against future want be obstructed, made illegal, or at the very least condemned. For the risk, from Twisted Nanny’s point of view, is that the desire may lead to independence of mind, and other “rigidly conservative” behaviour. “Democracy,” as currently understood, requires extremely low information and intelligence on the part of its supposed beneficiaries, and so the slightest manifestation of individual judgement points towards “antisocial” tendencies, such as trying to leap from the pot before the water is boiling.

This includes the use of a broad vocabulary, and instances of humour — indicators of racism, sexism, homophobia, and a three-figure IQ. The principle is the same as that imposed by modern supermarket packaging. A good citizen will never do startling things, such as transfer eggs from plastic foam cartons into wire baskets. The technology is now available to alert the authorities when eccentricities occur.

The municipality of “Beijing” (Peking in China) has introduced computerized filing, so that all information on inhabitants of the city can be coordinated, and each person ranked by obedience, for the purpose of doling out Twisted Nanny’s favours. Here in the West, that system is advancing through rules on recycling, and laws to enforce “environmental awareness.” One must not only buy eggs in a guvmint-regulated package, but dispose of that package in an approved way.

In many cities, garbage must now be placed in guvmint-issue transparent bags, to facilitate not only user fees and taxes, but guvmint inspection of what one discards. (There was a time when an accuser riffling through your refuse would himself be considered barely human trash; today he is given wages and a pension.) People accept this “for the good of the planet,” because they are intellectually retarded, and freedom means nothing to them.

Personal savings, or refusal to become indebted, is another target of the State. I could curl gentle reader’s ears with my own story of how I was driven into debilitating debt without ever having borrowed, by the openly malicious, compound operation of tax auditors, and “family law.” Most volunteer, however, to run up debt on their credit cards, and remortgage themselves periodically.

Others, more clever, are able to get rich by mounting their debts beyond the possibility of repayment, on the ancient principle that I have a problem if I owe a hundred dollars, but if it is a hundred million, the bank has a problem. Though I have met quite a few apparently wealthy persons in my adult life, the “apparent” qualification is necessary. I may never have encountered even one with net assets. (The State smiles on this, because it keeps the rich in line.)

The prospect of living modestly, earning one’s living honestly, and being left alone, has been methodically swept off the table. The history since when this was normal, lies on the floor like so many broken eggs.