Jack Napes, An Immodest Proposal

Jack Napes is an Irish writer based in Tokyo. His previously published work under the Napes name is ‘A Visit to the Parasitological Museum, Tokyo: An Adumbration of the Irish Banking Crisis,’ which appeared in Number Eleven magazine.

A shroud has enveloped much of what was once called the “Free World,” a misnomer to be sure, but one that served to differentiate the freebooters from the freeloaders. Stats from the States tell us that 1% of the population in that benighted land have bagged the lion’s share of the loot, and reports from the home front—i.e., Ireland—are hardly encouraging. The sleights of hand of such notorious monstrosities as the Sackings Group, Ltd., Morgan the Pirate and Co., and the Shi-Tea-Bank are beyond the present-day Pale, which brings me to my illustrious ancestor, Dr. Jonathan “Kick-Butt” Swift, whose prandial proposal provided a possible panacea by way of the pantry.

“Kick-Butt” Swift’s purpose in advancing his proposal is nicely encapsulated in this quote from the last paragraph of “A Modest Proposal”: “[I have no] other motive than the publick [Yes, indeed, the public is always licked!] good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich.” I aver that my motive in writing this is consistent with his. I have no pecuniary interests with respect to business ventures that might arise from the adoption of my immodest proposal.

Let’s face it. The good job is nearly extinct and has mutated into something that would have been unrecognizable just a few decades ago. If you want to eat high on the hog or perch your claws on the hone of the scone, you need to avoid most assiduously any endeavor that will require you to produce anything useful. If your stock in trade is arcane financial instruments with inscrutable names and unfathomable implications, you have it made. But very few can expect to land such viva-Las-Vegas gigs. The vast majority will, if they can secure employment at all, work in the service sector.

The service sector is a strange land, a place where the titles are highfalutin — “associate” (sales serf), ”barista” (coffee jerk) — and the payment picayune. It is a place where abuse runs rampant, stupefaction is the norm, and benefits are a concept from a bygone era. Unfortunately, for its dreary denizens, the service sector has reached its limit with respect to many of the offerings proffered therein. It needs new services or, in the spirit of “everything old is new again,” a Nietzschean eternal recurrence kind of thing, an old service made new!

I propose that the Tudor era occupation known as Groom of the Stool be revived, the stool herein being the monarch’s commode. The Groom was a butler of the buttocks, so to speak, responsible for burnishing the bum after royal excretions. The twenty-first-century version would see these chimney sweeps of the nether region servicing the CEOs of buccaneering enterprises; i.e., the corporate critters responsible for the current financial miasma. The job would advance trade and give “some pleasure to the rich,” to be sure, but it would also provide gainful employment to some and offer a modicum of job security: such grandees, after all, usually have long lifespans.

Jonathanactswiftlybeforeinflationdevoursyoursavings.com (a.k.a., Jack Napes)


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