The last sentence from the track fitter happier on Radiohead's 1997 OK Computer album.

Could be perceived as expressing one's perception of the futility of one's own life; imagining oneself as a pig, trapped in the cage of society, kept alive by its magic medicine.

Or it could just be a random sentence put together by a computer.



Back when I still had Amy. One night we were lying around on her ratty livingroom carpet. I had my eyes closed. Listening. She was full of ideas, full of what if?   and here's what we should do.   She laughed a lot. It made me tired.

She jumped up and ran to the bathroom and came back and said don't open your eyes. I didn't.

It was cool when she smoothed it on my face, smelled like tangerines and dirt. Mud mask, the kind that would leave gray powder in her eyebrows, waiting for me to discover it, hours later, in bed.

She didn't ask if I wanted it on my face. She never asked; she knew I might say no. I adored her for that. She never did waste any time talking me into things, just dragged me along into climbing water towers, jumping from her uncle's hayloft into not enough hay. Would have dragged me into a marriage. I would have gone. If she had wanted me to.

She said, quit moving your face. I held still, no more fooling around. When she had me covered   (round cool circles on my cheeks and chin. a swath across my forehead like the relief of a fever cloth. slow slender strokes, her soft strong fingers blending me together)   she went off to start dinner. Don't let it get too dry, she said. It'll pull your skin, it'll hurt.

As the mud dried it constricted, it did hurt. My forehead, cheeks, chin all tight. Mouth encouraged to stay closed, taut. I waited a while, until the itching, before I went to wash it off. In the bathroom mirror I was an interesting brownish monster. I wanted to bare my fangs at myself but all I could get was a small expressionless slit. I wiped off the mud with wet cotton balls. Dampened, the mud relaxed its hold on my skin, like I was wiping a cool, immediate muscle relaxant all over my face. Underneath, my skin was pinker, but still the same old skin.


I try driving new roads to work but I always go back to what's easiest. I keep thinking I will dye my hair, but I don't. I think, this is just a phase, I will go back to books sooner or later, I really am a reader, I'm just not reading right now. I blame my job. I blame other people. I try things but they don't work. I don't really try.



I sit where most of us sit.   In a box, in front of a box.

 
                FITTER HAPPIER  MORE  PRODUCTIVE
                C  O  M  F  O  R  T   A  B  L  E
                ON SUNDAYS RING ROAD SUPERMARKET
                FOND    BUT    NOT    IN    LOVE
                STILL   KISSES    WITH    SALIVA
                A PIG  IN A CAGE  ON ANTIBIOTICS

I lay on wunderhorn1's futon, staring at the OK Computer poster on his wall. I am complaining about my life, about my lack of direction, about all those wonderfully angsty, twenty-something complaints which were enshrined in Generation X, a book published when I was 12--but things have come full circle, and 2003 looks a lot like 1991.

"I don't know what to do with my life," I complain.

"You seem so full of natural curiosity, I should think you'd be able to pick up anything." He's a very sweet man--you should get to know him. (But not like I know him!)

And he asks me if I could do anything, what would I do?

"Travel."
"Write."
"Play in a band."

Cubicles frighten me, and not just because I'm mildly claustrophobic. Cubicles--the veal-fattening pen--are like collars buttoned to the top. Strangling. Confining. At least in school there were windows to look out of.

"Eyes forward, Mary!"
"Yes, Sister Saint Anne." (sigh)

I don't have a cubicle. It would be impracticle, even the bowels of the library, to have cubicles, since there are so many carts of books that need to be pushed around. If anything, the carts surrounding our desks become our cubicles. It's a sad sort of irony that the thing I love--books, knowledge--is caging me in. It's not like I get to use the knowledge, it's not like I get to pick the books, it's not like the job calls for creative thought. No. I'm a computer jockey. OK, computer, where do we want to go today?

I get up. I fight traffic. I sit at work, typing away at numbers, codes, ephemera. I fight traffic again. I have a few drinks. I go to bed. I do it again. I used to do this aided with antidepressants. That was fun--my day started with antidepressants, diet pills, and vitamins. Lasted until I had the minor breakdown which lead to me dropping out of grad school.

I'm growing frustrated, that much is obvious. So as I lay on wunderhorn1's futon, I stare up at the poster. It's funny--you can stare at something countless times, hear something hundreds of times, and suddenly one day, it'll change. You'll see it in a different light.

A pig in a cage on antibiotics

I've always pictured a real pig. Little Babe the pig. Injected with some strange new antibiotic. Like in The Secret of NIMH. But as I sat there, I suddenly understood what I was looking at.

And I realized that there were two things staring me in the face. Two phrases. One was right and the other was wrong. One was a truth and the other a warning. One was a cure, and the other a curse. Because as I look at wunderhorn1, when I see him actually listening to my nonsense, dealing with my angst, I know just how much he puts up with from me. And that means something.

And I know, that no matter how trapped I feel, no matter how many drugs I take, or they want me to take, I know why people sometimes do things they don't want to do. Because you have to. Because it means later, maybe you'll get to do that thing you want so badly. It doesn't have to be for a house or a car--it's for whatever is driving you. As long as I'm aware, as long as I'm conscious, as long as I do this grudgingly and with one eye for the door, as long as it's temporary, I'll be OK. And I won't need the antibiotics anymore. I've built up my own resistance.

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