Quoted from Sarah Kendzior’s “Surviving the Post-Employment Economy"
“In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM - science, technology, engineering and medicine - are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester.
It is not skills or majors that are being devalued. It is people.”
Her work is frank, speaking of a reality I hope that will never be mine. At the same time, it gives me a strange comfort to know that I am not alone.
Bovine pericardium is received in whole sacs from government-inspected abattoirs.
That’s what the PDF from the aortic valve manufacturer says, when you read it in the waiting room, waiting for the patient to wake up.
The smiling elven surgeon wears a beanie covered in brightly colored chili peppers. He says how aortic valves, when you get to open one up and see it with your own eyes, look like gossamer wings, or the wings of dragonflies. Translucent.
Have you ever seen that spray foam insulation. That’s what it looked like when we opened him up.
The video shows how they snip the calcification off the annulus.
You don’t feel like waiting for the elevator so you look for stairs. You walk down a hallway where you are not supposed to go. There are big doors with signs that say device implantation in progress. Through the window you glimpse gigantic curved machines of stainless metal and white polymer and cool diodes and the frame from the scary movie flashes across the back of your forehead.
The surgeon says the vein inside his sternum was so strong that when he unclamped it he hosed down his colleague. That one its like God left it there for heart surgeons.
You try to remember what’s an abattoir.
You watch a corporate commercial from the valve manufacturer. Earnest Midwesterners with advanced degrees do their best to mimic the evolved perfection of the fluttering gossamer wings inside your chest. The engineers are well-practiced at the containment of hubris, but the promoters know how to get it flowing.
Outside it is five below and getting windier.
They ask your mom if your dad was in the military cause it took six nurses to hold him down and re-sedate him the first time they tried to bring him up.
In the gift shop by the exit to parking they have a display of six plastic heads wearing gas masks, decorated with a garland of Valentines.
The hospital is a labyrinth built in layers over 120 years across six blocks. There are no real maps. Just arrows that point the other way.
Down another dead-end hallway you find a stairwell. There’s a keypad with a red light but you try it and it opens and no alarm goes off. Inside is a vertical tunnel. Ancient conduits run up along the wall in thick steampunk bundles, next to brass and marble staircases that go up farther than you can see.
It’s like when you open up a thing and look at the parts you’re not supposed to use anymore.
There are abattoirs where they harvest the gossamer wings of bovine angels with laser cutters. That is not what the video said.
You wait for the body to talk.