You have an impossible number of freedoms. Consider, when you go to
the store, the overwhelming presentation of breads: white, whole
wheat, honey oat, nine-grain, rye, garlic, pumpernickel, sourdough,
gluten-free, baguette, raisin. Will it be Wonderbread from Safeway? Or
something baked by a local artisan?
Look in the mirror. Your choices here are also infinite. Put on a
collared shirt and a belt, and transform into a respectable
white-collar yuppie. Buy a skirt and a shawl from a Tibetan shop–now
you’re a bohemian, free spirited and creative. Showcase your
nerdiness, and signal your intelligence through an xkcd shirt. You can
shop at thrift stores, at Target, at high-priced no-name boutiques, at
Nordstrom’s, and take home clothes of linen, wool, cotton, silk,
angora, spandex, cashmere, polyester, and nylon that have been spun
into twill, corduroy, satin, brocade, calico, cretonne, herringbone,
Pick a religion. You can be whatever you want in this country. Be a
Christian if you’re mainstream, Jewish if you like feeling special,
Muslim if you want to hint at your potential for terrorism, Mormon if
you’re too nice to be perfect, or a Pastafarian if you’re irreverent.
But you’re not limited to just Judeo-Christian sects and their
parodies. You could join Hinduism, Sikhism, Asatru, Zoroastrianism,
Jainism, or Shinto, and how could you ever leave Scientology off the
Who do you want to date? Filter your prospects by books, by movies, by
music. Indicate on your online dating profile that you want someone
six feet tall, who rock climbs, who is also vegetarian. So many fish
in the sea–you can afford to wait for the right blond bombshell, or
for the appropriately submissive Asian, a naughty librarian, a batshit
crazy girl with daddy issues, or a woman who could’ve been the girl
Choose your bread. Choose your identity. Choose your religion, choose your love.
But one choice is missing. Between you, and your daily bread, lies a
machine. You need it far more than it needs you. You’re
disabled, and it’s the only caretaker in town. The secrets of raising
wheat are not yours. The land that is suited to growing wheat is not
yours. They belong to the machine. Can you even take care of a potted
plant? You are in a hopeless position. You are bargaining with the
machine for your very life, but to the machine, you only mean as much
as the plastic bag holding your sandwich bread means to you.
Revel in the choices that a specialized economy gives you. You possess
an infinity of freedoms, minus one: the freedom to leave.