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Mickey Z.'s The Murdering of My Years


by Ken Mondschein



The Murdering of My Years
by Mickey Z.
Soft Skull Press / 2003 / $15

Doing a Web site like this one doesn't pay very well (that is, "at all"). On the other hand, I've learned through hard experience (that is, getting repeatedly fired) that I am incapable of functioning effectively in cubicle-land without large amounts of psychotropic medications. Sure, for me, a fancy date is a root beer with two straws at Criff Dogs but it's arguably better than a chemical lobotomy. On the other hand, when it comes to things like paying the rent, a steady paycheck can be a real boon.

Mickey Z.'s The Murdering of My Years is about just that: Trying to scratch out a simple living in a crazy world without giving into the madness. If you've ever wondered how all we dysfunctional artists, writers, and political activists make a living (or don't), or ever considered la vie boheme for yourself, then this is the book for you. Mickey Z., radical writer and Disinformationist, has interviewed 24 of the greater metropolitan area's finest misfits including, but not limited to, Soft Skull founder Sander Hicks, activist/poet Sparrow, and Clamor magazine co-founder Jason Kucsma, and gotten them to give their thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of social justice. The result is kind of a Steal This Book for the twenty-first century.

From it, I have gleaned that the following are the only viable ways to make a living off the grid, as it were:

1. Sugar daddy
2. Prison
3. Mom's basement

Furthermore, unless you have the aforesaid sugar daddy, it is really, really hard to get laid without the steady paycheck. After all, who's gonna trust their genetic future to some bum who thinks protesting the war is more important than socking away cash in their 401(K)? (The exception to this rule is if you're Sander Hicks, because then you can take dates to see Horns and Halos.)

The stories may range from the inspiring to the depressing, and the prognosis may look grim, but The Murdering of My Years is a valuable and powerful meditation on the soul-killing nature of trading away one's lifeblood, one drop at a time. As the copy on the Soft Skull site says, "Work is a fifty year fugue from which people occasionally awake, wondering where their lives went; time spent working is a series of murdered years." We highly recommend it for any and all corporate motherfuckers out there.


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Posted March 30, 2003 1:26 AM






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