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The Midget versus the Digits

or, "How I Became a Socialist In America"


The Midget, whose name was Markoff Chaney, was no relative of the famous Chaneys of Hollywood, but people did keep making jokes about that. It was bad enough to be, by the standards of the gigantic and stupid majority, a freak; how much worse to be so named as to remind these big oversized clods of the cinema's two most famous portrayers of monstro-freaks; by the time the Midget was fifteen, he had built up a detestation for ordinary mankind that dwarfed (he hated that word) the relative misanthropies of Paul of Tarsus, Clement of Alexandria, Swift of Dublin and even Robert Putney Drake. Revenge, for sure, he would have. He would have revenge...

Damn the science of mathematics itself, the line, the square, the average, the whole measurable world that pronounced him a bizarre random factor. Once and for all, beyond fantasy, in the depth of his soul he declared war on the "statuatory ape," on law and order, on predictability, on negative entropy. He would be a random factor in every equation; from this day forward, unto death, it would be civil war: the Midget versus the Digits....His first overt act began in Dayton the following Saturday. He was in Norton's Emporium, a glorified 5 & 10 ¢ store, when he saw the sign:

NO SALESPERSON MAY LEAVE THE FLOOR WITHOUT THE AUTHORIZATION OF A SUPERIOR.THE MGT.

What! he thought, are the poor girls supposed to pee in their panties if they can't find a superior? Years of school came back to him ("Please, may I leave the room, sir?") and rituals which had appeared nonsensical suddenly made sense in a sinister way. They were trying to reduce us all to predictable units, robots. Hah!...The following Wednesday, the Midget was back at Norton's and hiding in a coffee urn when the staff left and locked up. A few moments later, the sign was down and a subtly different one was in its place:

NO SALESPERSON MAY LEAVE THE FLOOR OR GO TO THE DOOR WITHOUT THE AUTHORIZATION OF A SUPERIOR.THE MGT.

He came back several times in the next few weeks, and the sign remained. It was as he suspected: in a rigid hierarchy, nobody questions orders that seem to come from above, and those at the very top are so isolated from the actual work situation that they never see what is going on below. It was the chains of communication, not the means of production, that determined a social process.. Nothing signed "THE MGT." would ever be challenged; the Midget could always pass himself off as the Management.

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