Look, I’m not a huge fan of politicizing people’s death and I would never try to use them carelessly for ideological purposes and really grimy shit like that.
But look at this.
Look at that and tell me (with your best straight e-face) that the current economic system and the way work…works, isn’t the reason why this women is dead?
Come on, please tell me.
Because I don’t know about you but I don’t even know people who work four jobs. I know people who do two jobs and I’ve heard of people who do three. But four? That’s crazy. I don’t even think most people who are anti-capitalist and are skeptical or against of work have to deal with such a shitty situation.
So make no mistake this is possibly an extreme case of what capitalism and more importantly work does to us currently.
But that just shows you how fucked this system is.
The extremes of this system are people dying because they want to take a two hour nap? What kind of system and world do we live in where people can’t even catch a fucking break from the oppressive (and by that I mean literally oppressive, not politically) amount of effort they have to put into their lives just to subsist.
That’s the other thing about this story too that should really grab anyone’s attention, this woman was barely subsisting on four jobs.
Granted, she was working at a Dunkin Donuts (a few of them) so I can’t say I’m surprised she couldn’t barely get by. In my own experience retail is hardly enough (especially if you’re part time like I usually was) to get by in any real meaningful way. But the thing is that these shitty retail jobs shouldn’t be the default for people to even try to make a living. These jobs tend to be degrading with not a lot of power involved with you and wages that are laughable (see link above to see just how laughable they can be) and so on.
I’m not saying no one can enjoy these jobs. One of my left-libertarian friends happens to work at Dunkin’s and actually enjoys it. But that’s mostly because he’s into hard work (look under house information) and likes his co-workers.
And honestly, good co-workers who are fun to work around or to talk to can brighten anyone’s otherwise bad job. I had a co-worker or two who I could talk to sometimes about comics while slacking off or lazily doing whatever I was tasked to do and that was great. That almost always improved my days even if I was doing poorly otherwise.
But it doesn’t seem imaginable to me that this woman was really enjoying her life the way she was living it. I mean, it’s worth asking, was she even living her life at this point? What life is there to be lived when you have four jobs? How much time can you actually dedicate to your own life when most of your life isn’t controlled by you? What sort of life is it to live in near-perpetual exhaustion? What sort of life is it to constantly worry about your finances and your housing and everything else that you wish you had more power over?
The saddest part of this is that this woman really wanted to make it. She wanted to get by and have a good life for herself. She wanted to do that even if it meant pushing herself to exhaustion again and again. Even if it meant taking two hour naps in her SUV she wanted to achieve her dreams and get somewhere. Or maybe she was just okay with subsisting, I don’t know for sure of course. But it stands to reason that she was probably trying to get somewhere.
And towards aiding herself in more effectively getting around between her jobs is actually what killed her:
Hazmat officials later determined the smell was gasoline from a gas can that had apparently spilled in the back of the vehicle. Investigators say Fernandes apparently traveled with the can because she had run out of gas in the past while commuting between jobs.
This is how the system rewards us for trying harder. It doesn’t give us better conditions, more power over our lives or anything that might moderately be described as a nice thing to do. It ends up killing us.
And again, I want you to read that article (this version which was linked on the first linked article is good too) and look at what caused this woman’s death and tell me that somehow work shouldn’t be indicted as the murderer of this woman. I’m not interested in using someone’s death as political ammunition for my own pet causes but this is near-literally a death caused by work. The idea that this woman was just merely “careless” or was somehow lazy is the most offensive thing you could say about this woman.
The one thing this woman wasn’t was lazy. And so maybe you’d think I’d have less sympathy for her in that regard but I don’t. I admire her dedication, drive, determination and her struggle to get a better life for herself. The fact that she put so much effort into this and still failed is another part of this story that’s so heartbreaking. And to say that (more or less) she wasn’t trying hard enough is to spit on this woman’s grave as far as I’m concerned.
This woman should be regarded as another victim of a world that’s obsessed with work. I don’t blame this woman and I don’t hold anything against her for working four jobs. I recognize most people need jobs today to get by and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. And even if there was what does it get us to moralize about it? We’ve got better things to do than to lecture the dead or keep prattling on about capitalism to the living.
We’ve got lost lives and lost loved ones and those who are hardly living now to keep in mind when we resist work.
Because when we resist work we are resisting the extinction of our lives.