The loud clanging alarm clock went off promptly at 6:00 a.m. as it always did. I hopped off my government-issue twin mattress right away. As an unmarried single dweller, I’m not permitted to own a queen-size mattress, and concealing a king-sizer could even get me a 90-day jail stint if some overzealous bureaucrat were to come knocking. No, for me the twin-size was deemed sufficient “nocturnal replenishment space” (governmentese for “mattress”). The government didn’t seem to mind that at 6’4” I find my allotted replenishment space a tad confining.
Anyway, I leapt right into action. Not like in the good old pre-2013 days when I’d take my sweet time and listen to my favorite morning talk radio show under the cozy covers. Unfortunately, ever since the Obama administration’s Broadcast Airwaves Czar reinstituted The Fairness Act in August of 2012, the talk radio shows one by one all faded from the airwaves. Talk radio was simply no longer commercially viable once the stations had to counterbalance with unprofitable Air America-style programming. Well, if it gets me out of bed and becoming a productive member of the labor force one hour sooner, I suppose that’s for the better. As Mr. and Mrs. Obama have reminded me on many occasions, it’s a shared sacrifice. And I know they’re shouldering their portion of the burden just like me. I’m sure their Nocturnal Replenishment Space is only a Queen.
Today was the first day of the month, which meant I had to get to the Mortgage Relief Assistance Office by 7:30 if I wanted to get a good spot in line for my subsidy. Since that MRA check covers 90% of my mortgage payment, I’m not about to pass it up—even though I could easily make the payment myself from money I squirreled away before the Equity in Compensation Act of 2012 reduced my handsome programmer’s salary by two-thirds. I guess all those years I spent studying the intricacies of digital architecture were not the wise investment in my future I once thought.
I hate shaving. Yeah, I know—most guys tell you that. But I’m one of those nerds who used to love it. Course, that was back in the glory days when we still had incandescent light bulbs. Now, with these damn CFL jobs, you can’t see half your face. Which means these days mine has more nicks than a Greek restaurant.
After I’d shaved and bandaged myself, I wolfed down a bowl of Fed Flakes. They’re bland, but Oprah insists they’re good for me. And though it’s taken a little adjustment, I’ve come to love skim. Strange that only two years ago you could still buy whole milk, but after a while you really do forget how good it tasted. That’s what’s so great about being an American: we can adapt to anything.
Time to hit the road. I walked down to the garage I share with the other seven homeowners on my block. Damn—wouldn’t you know it? I forgot to plug in my Volt again. Today of all days. No matter. I’m an American, I adapt. I’ll jump on the CTA.
A sardine can would have been roomier than that subway car. Ever since the Transportation Carbon Reduction Agency curtailed our monthly driving hours, the CTA has had to pick up the slack. It was a pretty painful ride—my right leg went numb for most of it—but riding the CTA keeps the air even cleaner than driving my Volt does. “Shared sacrifice,” I told myself, shaking out my leg.
Going to the MRA Office is one of my favorite activities. The line may be long, but it’s one helluva party. Before they passed the 2014 Mortgage Relief Assistance Act, Christmas only came once a year. Now it’s monthly. And if Congress passes that new Clothing and Essentials Relief Bill they’re considering, we’re talking weekly visits from the Man with the Bag.
I left the MRA office, check in hand. Famished from all this hard work, I ducked into a McDonalds for a McTofu Sandwich and McCucumber Pie. I never ate tofu before the Fast Food Reconstitution Act, but now—mmmm!—I’m lovin’ it. One great thing about the government regulating your diet—you’re more productive. No more 3 p.m. food coma after the Big Mac, large fries, and 16-oz Coke.
On to work. It was 1:30—I needed to put in at least a symbolic appearance at the office. As I went through the routine X-ray and body pat, two policemen were dragging a meek-looking, fifty-something man out in handcuffs. He was wearing a suit, looked respectable, but the way they were roughing him up, you’d think he was Charles Manson. “What’d he do?” I asked Pete, the security agent poking my groin. Pete explained all. “The dumbass smuggled in an Eli’s cheesecake for his secretary’s birthday. You can’t bring haz-mat onto public property. Do you have any idea what the childhood obesity rate is?” I couldn’t bear admitting to Pete I hadn’t really kept up with that stat, so I just nodded in political solidarity. I’m a big nodder these days.
I left work early, about 3:45. There’s not much to do at the Federal Institute of Federal Institute Supervision. But with unemployment at 37%, I’m just grateful to have a job.
On the way out, I passed by Old Mack, the security guard who examines your bags when you leave the building. As he handed me back my government-issue, made-in-China rucksack, he looked at me funny. “What’s wrong, Mack?” I asked. Mack furrowed his ancient brow and shot back “Were you in some kind of a bar brawl? What’s with all the band-aids on your face?” I smiled. “Oh, these? No, Mack, no brawl. I just nicked myself shaving.” Old Mack’s a stoic like me. “Tell me about it,” he chortled. “Take a gander at my shared sacrifice.” With that Mack turned his head slightly to the left, revealing four large band-aids on his right cheek. Again, I could only nod in agreement.
All in all, comrades, it was just a typical day in the life.