Long ago, in a blog post far away, I mentioned something about a desire for an ‘activist business’. At the time it was simply idealistic dreaming; what would I do if everything worked out with this awfully silly and risky venture? I made it pretty clear that I wasn’t in it to get rich (or at least filthy rich ha ha) and with all the weight involved with meaning, history, and intention, I blurted out a vision where I could use my platform for some sort of good beyond happy customers and a happy wife. There are plenty of days when local happiness is better than good. It’s everything. Smiling children, filling up at the gas station and not even looking at the grand total, getting Staci back on skis and hearing her laugh like she did in high school. This, indeed, was and is the goal: daily happiness without the stress that comes from debt or The Man or Corporate.
Today I had to engage with Best Buy and Apple. A simple issue regarding ‘smart’ covers for a couple of ipad minis that I had purchased for sharing information between our brewery and cellar, now that they are 10 miles apart. These ‘smart’ covers didn’t work as they were intended. The magnet wasn’t strong enough to hold the cover on the tablet when propping it up. Nether cover worked, it was a flaw in the design. I discovered today when I went to return these things that I had waited too long (I only had 14 days to make any returns). Best Buy shrugs their shoulders and prints me out a receipt with Apple’s number on it, saying that they are the ones that will address my issue. I spent over 2 hours on the phone in a couple of sessions, each call I was transferred at least 4 times and was probably on hold for 1 hour 45 minutes. You see where I’m going with this, I’m sure. I still have both non-functioning items that cost nearly $80 and wasted quite a bit of my day. We all endure this existence and complain about it, don’t we? Else what? Else what.
The other recent example has to do with getting our beer legal to sell in the state of California. Wow. The red tape has stretched for almost 4 months now. Most of this time has been chasing down items requested by one department and sending it to another department. The last month and a half we’ve sent the same paperwork back and forth 5 times. Guess who pays a fee each time this happens? Guess who has no accountability and no investment in whether or not I get the approval I need? The killer was that each government employee I spoke to made some crack about the ‘system’ and how messed up it is. And then went back to doing a slightly lower-than-average job, collecting their pay, retirement, and health care.
Watching our presidential campaign and the armed occupation in Eastern Oregon by a freaking militia, I am saddened and disgusted, but I must say that I’m fully entertained. Maybe I should start watching TV. Maybe football? I hear that even women go nuts for this sport, thanks to the way the NFL manipulates their fan base. I know that somewhere deep down there is sport involved, but all I see is wasted opportunity. Mr. Poopy Pants?? Maybe a little.
Our particular situation is this: We are brewing beer in a way that excites some folks who buy it and enjoy it. Often they buy it again and share it with a friend and we are empowered to continue. We support local farms and engage in a bit of global commodity purchasing (corks and glass are the only items we have to leave Oregon for). Luckily for my employees (right Connor?, right Jared?), this has the potential to keep our business model intact for us to make our livings and buy gas for our cars and occasionally go skiing. It also provides an avenue to exist outside (for the most part) the two giant problems that make living in this world so dang complicated and often times self-destructive. These giants are facing off in the election (again) and both claim that they can provide for our self-interests. These giants are Corporation and Government, for those of you who thought I was referring to Allergies and Boredom.
My education with this is severely limited in scope, but incredibly consistent. We are not going to elect anyone who will be able to enact the kind of change that I want to see (functioning, accountable, and useful government) and we are not going to be able to control the behavior of corporations so they stop fucking everything up (why oh why are Capitalists so dang greedy??). I read a quote from a Camille Rose Garcia that made me feel better for some reason. I guess it’s OK to have nihilist sentiments while creating little works of oddball beauty. Coincidentally, I may be living in the woods for the same reasons!
“The world that has been created for us out of the industrial age is not very conductive to happiness. It is really only designed for consumption and production with no other activities very highly encouraged, or they in fact are often criminalized. I really look around me sometimes and wonder, “My god, what kind of sick mind has created all of these horrible, ugly structures filled with sad, stressed-out people, who are either plain unhappy, unhappy but hopped up on pharmaceuticals so they can function or clinically crazy? If this is the best man can do, then I say just let the sun fall into the Earth already and end this horrible mistake”. Uh oh, maybe I am a nihilist after all! It’s good that I am in the woods.”
My resolve is to maintain the happiness and freedom that we are experiencing thanks to our hard work creating our oddball little works of beauty. I will share the inspiration I often feel with others through my actions and, instead of the anger that rears its head when butting heads with The Man or the automated operator, I will try to attain entertainment. Attain entertainment! Oh my god, this ridiculous post finally paid off.
The sun will fall someday, yes, but today it’s bluebird!