Hanna-Barbera / by Conor Burnett


I’ve been getting worked up lately. It feels like I’m on a treadmill that’s floating a mile high.

I am a white, middle-class man living in the 21st century. My life is fine because everyone's life is fine. It is very easy to have a fine life in this space age.

I haven't touched anyone in so long. My son and daughter forget I exist. I know the same has happened for generation after generation, but somehow it feels darker and more foreboding. They ignore their problems and they ignore love. My son tries to fill the hole with technology and my daughter tries to fill the hole with men.

The only human being that I can recall physically interacting with is my wife. She'll kiss me every morning as I go to work. I do not have time to reciprocate before she too descends into the maelstrom that is the 21st century. I cannot tell if she kisses me out of love or out of ritual. They might be the same now.

This is the space age. Things are moving faster than ever. It used to be that I could ignore it, surreptitiously playing up my ignorance keeping up with things, but the 21st century started to force itself on hollow men like me. Now, to order food, I touch something and a hand appears out of the abyss to hand me my desire. Oh, I wanted extra pickles? I press a button and here they come, the hand shooting out of the abyss once again to hand me what I want. I bark a question at the brightly lit robot staring at me and it bleeps and bloops and gives me my answer immediately.

I work for a large, faceless corporation that couldn't have possibly existed 50 years ago. We are a product of our time.  We make nebulous parts for nebulous things. My boss is a short, pathetic man whose only purpose seems to be making everyone else feel shorter and more pathetic than they are. I am trapped. I can’t leave. I am firmly in place. There is too much relying on me. I am a cog in a machine.

Faster this treadmill goes. I am trying to sprint to keep up, but I just can’t. I'm tired. I'm just so tired. I call out to my wife, my dear sweet better half, the only one in this world that might have any idea of what I'm going through, the only thing that I know I have at least some sort of a connection to:




The hunger burns inside me. I am empty and am constantly reminded of this.

I am stared at. I am watched. I am feared. I am anything but understood.

I walk like them. I walk better than they do. I talk like them. I talk better than they do. I act better than they do and dress better than they do and yet they still look down on the outsider.

I do what I can to make them comfortable, and yet they fear me. Do they expect me to roar? To snarl? To chomp them in two like a bear would? Because I could. I could very easily flip the switch, to devolve into the monster they seemingly want me to be, and I could take all of them down with me. 500 years ago, I would not have to keep up with the Smiths. They would have to keep up with me.

Even the ones who claim to look out for my best interests very obviously place themselves above me in the hierarchy. The White Man. The Every Man.  The "Smith." The Smith claims to have my best interest in mind, but I can see behind the curtain. The Smith tries to cut me off from the rest of society, depriving me of what I need. The Smith forces me to fight back, but I refuse to engage in the way The Smith would want me to. You may think me an animal, think me lesser than you, Smith, but I know I am smarter than the average man. I could rip you limb from limb, Smith, but instead I best you at your own game.

The void can be filled. The animal instincts dulled.  It will drain mere hours later but any surcease is surcease. I want it all to myself. I want to indulge my feral side. But that would be to succumb to their wishes. I share. I morph and mold my desires to adhere to their rules. I use their language to engage in the customs that they do. I break bread:



Conor Burnett is handsome and strong. If you give him 5 minutes, he'll try to convince you to like pro wrestling. He will fail. You can like whatever you want I guess. And he just wants you to be happy.