Protein

An ounce of nuts, how much protein is that? Brad was wondering as he was preparing the third snack. He needed four snacks to get through today, plus two backup, in case he needed to stay out longer. He had to eat something small every two or three hours to keep up his muscle growth, but no sugar, processed fat, or carbs. He made little baggies and put them in his backpack.

One of his roommates, Jack, walked into the kitchen, “How’s the rationing going, man?” he said with a yawn, still trying to wake up.

“It’s fine,” said Brad, “But I gotta say it’s getting a little heavy on my pocket. All this organic food, fresh fruit, you know?”

“Man, you’re the ninety-nine percent,” said Jack without ironically as he was pouring himself coffee.

Brad looked in the mirror. His shoulder line and arms were beginning to look really good, but his face had this permanent tired look. “You know,” he said, “Nothing has changed since the pyramids. Only back then we were slaves, and now we’re hired hands. A system evolved where they placate us with promise of fame and riches which we will never get, and we are supposed to feel good about the whole situation.”

Jack took a long sip. “Is that what hurts you? That you will never become rich and famous? Would you have everybody be rich and famous? That’s impossible.”

“No, but I’m–”

“Most people in this world, most people, Brad, don’t have enough food and water to get through the day. A small group here in the West enjoys Utopian wealth. We have houses, closets full of clothes, refrigerators full of food, and free time to spend however we like. But that is not enough, is it? At the end of the day, it’s not about how much stuff you have, because you will always want more. You can be happy hunting rats for food, or unhappy fucking supermodels in the penthouse.”

Jack was red in the face over his steaming mug of coffee. Brad was done preparing his baggies and started putting them in the backpack.

“It’s a shame,” said Jack, trying to compose himself, “We don’t know how much of our happiness, the 99-percenters’, depends on this invisible system. This mindless force driving markets, causing wars, and manufacturing new varieties of items nobody needs but everybody wants. No, not happiness. Comfort.”

Brad was out of the door, already half-jogging, “I agree with you, Jack. You make a valid point, but I gotta go.”

He got out into the suburban street, small bright houses everywhere. He saw people getting out to get their papers before they start breakfast, and he realized he was not happy here. He began to run.

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