Real Life Bread-to-Cash Conversion Schemes and the Not-Quite-Real End of War

 foodf 003

“It’s like living on the edge of some subtle dystopian nightmare.”

“Why does there need to be so much food on the shelves!? Where did all this food come from? Who buys it?”

“What!? What the hell even is this?”


I think about the amount of bread they pull from the shelves, the cheese that they compact into something called “waste,” which they can then “write off” for the “market value,” whereas if they give the food away, write it off as “charitable contributions” they are only able to be credited the “wholesale value.”


“You know,” the stockboy said to me, “there are some products on the shelves that they manufacture for the sole purpose of throwing them away. They inflate the price of the dinner rolls, and then they throw them away.”

He showed me the tally sheets, where they kept a record of the amount of food that is pull off of the shelves.

“1/3 of the children in Western North Carolina are food insecure.”

That means they are hungry.

foodf 002

Wasn’t I talking about dystopia? Did I not get to the part about war?

No. I will skip that part tonight and I will leap right to part in which dysfunctional systems inevitably destroy themselves and the hungry children descend in flash mobs, demanding bread with only their eyes.

I will hurry to the part where investigation upon investigation ensues. The indictments are just so scathing, we can’t turn away. These stories will be the great new genre, we will watch as corporations are exposed and then legally destroyed, with panels of humanitarians and concerned scientists determining where seized assets should be shifted.

I’ll skip right to the acts of reparative justice.

Today on the way home from work, I imagined a screenplay in which the designated “leaders” of the world and industry suddenly experienced a collective shift in consciousness and conscience.

foodf 005I pictured the scenes in offices and bedrooms around the world, the solemn stare through an airplane window, the look of one’s own hand. Voices on the telephone, a secret meeting, a grand surprise, a global paid holiday on which – with surprising grace and unanimity – the people of all neighborhoods, camps, and villages are informed that the United Nations and all nations had made terrible mistakes, that people had been lied to and that terrible things had been occurring for a long time.


“However, you must know that solutions are imminently available and that best possible efforts will be made to restore balance, equilibrium, justice, and integrity. Already, reparations are in progress. In the past I have said that we, as a nation, must work together to protect our freedoms and defend our futures. Today, I will say that, as a people, we have worked long and hard trying – and many of us dying – to try to fix what has been broken by our collective errors in interest.


It has been decided, by the nations of the world, that it is time – at this point in the history of the future – that we must end our current endeavors of war and profit. We must remember that at some point, in all our lives, we wanted to change the world for the better.

fAITHWe have offered this holiday, this time of rest, as an opportunity to consider a world without war. That is where you now live. Yes, there is violence and there is death. We hope that the remote communication of this message, to even the furthest reaches of this planet’s people will create – if only for a moment – a world without killing. Please, take a few minutes to ensure that your friends and family are receiving this message…and then watch, listen.”

when I went out to the street, this balloon was bouncing down the hill(Images of people looking around, televisions flickering on in classrooms, children being gathered, old people in rooms with shades drawn, dimly paying attention through their medicated haze, refugees in camps watching as they eat, clean and safe…with no sounds of guns, their children not dying…watching as the “civilized” world is told of and shown a world without war…white people weeping for the first time in years.)

“We have ended the wars. There will be no more war.”


So, yeah, that’s why going to the grocery store is a little intense sometimes.


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