Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Dream Job: Pulling a Rickshaw

The thing is, don't they have motors now? That really ruins it for me, honestly (I don't know how to be anything else). What better example of human absurdity does one need than this job? It would be like pulling a full-sized crucifix around so people can be reminded of their indifference.

Naw, people adapt to inhumanity, it's well-known.

And I'll tell you, it would be pretty exotic here in Michiana--you'd need that motor for the winters. But wouldn't it be romantic to pull a real rickshaw, not one of those "auto rickshaws" in Asia? "Auto rickshaw"?! That's not a real rickshaw, there's no element of human suffering to it, creepin' Christ. Maybe I could get tips too, and I don't mean about the stock market or gardening. You never know, someone might give me a ball of rice too, they're easier to chew with just a few blackened-teeth (I'm thinking ahead here).

Yes, NYC and London have the auto and peddled rickshaws (sundry "pedicabs") now, but that's just not brutal and ugly enough. If we're going to have so much economic inequality again, why hide it? I want to pull the John Jacob Astors of today, the Rockefellers, and other modern Mandarins. I want that bamboo hat, the black pajamas, the sandals without socks, and the blackened-teeth. I want it all. Most sources say the rickshaw was invented in the USA anyway, later adopted by Asia and other regions of the globe. But give me a rickshaw, put me in Shanghai, and you tell me that's not exotic.

An American pulling Asian elites; I'd have that goddamn retirement money in just a few years, by gum.

It wouldn't be a problem to smile pulling one of these things, knowing America has made a bold, new step towards honesty, and they'd have to bring them here. The only step left nowadays is having some rich person riding piggyback on your shoulders (coming soon!). You can hide our homeless, but you cannot hide the rickshaw pulling human horsey. Occasionally, I get invited by a reader to come live in their nation. "Do they have rickshaws?" I often ask myself.

I mean, they don't offer me any lodging or jobs, so a rickshaw life for me it is. I can already feel those contractions leaving my speech and writing. Rickshaw-rickshaw-rickshaw! Rudyard Kipling--that scion of British imperial literature--wrote of rickshaws in one of his earliest stories, 'The Phantom Rickshaw' in 1885, around the time Twain was seeing the publication of 'Huck Finn' and three years before Jack the Ripper saved the poor of Whitechapel from further neglect. Ah, the good old days when the poor knew their place.

Toronto (http://www.rickshawservices.com/Franchises.html) even has them, I found out to my dismay. I would have ridden (or pulled) one when I was there last July. Surely the Philippines, China, and Japan still have them, but I'd wager that they're motorized, damned-and-blast! Even Ireland has them. White man's burden, I tell ya,' white man's burden. Since America's slipping into being a second and third world nation, we may as well accept the return of all things rickshaw.

I'm feeling the spirit of Criswell in me right now: human-powered rickshaws in Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Beijing, Seattle, London, Paris, Detroit, Kuwait City, Riyadh, and places like Warsaw, Poland. But India's (keep delivering the laughs) not ashamed. They still have rickshaws everywhere in Calcutta, you betcha! You just gotta love those human caste systems, crushing the little guys for no logical reason whatsoever.

The number three: that's odd...just not as odd as us primates. I'll learn Chinese just to be able to pull one, you watch.