The cake is a lie

After I scheduled this post, I heard about the massive earthquakes in Turkey/ Siria. And it got me thinking: by comparison with the hardships now faced by those affected by that catastrophe, my original post makes me sound like an entitled git. My heart goes out to those struggling with the aftermath; I made a donation to Oxfam’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal, because “but for the grace of god, there go I.”

I’m lucky to have been born into a (relatively) prosperous society. While I am by no means wealthy in the context of where I live, I am when it comes to considering those who happened to be born in certain other areas of ‘our’ [sic] home planet. But, more than that: I wonder what those far more fortunate than myself (for whom national boundaries are meaningless) truly think of such events. I strongly suspect that far too many of them simply shrug, say “that’s life,” congratulate themselves on their supremacy, and hop into their helicopter or private jet to go party (again) on their megayacht (the one moored off the coast of the island they bought ‘just because I could’), or perhaps consider (another) jaunt into space.

‘Normality’ is, to me, a dirty word – as is ‘humanity’. Until, globally, we buckle down, settle our differences, and pool our resources, calamities such as this latest one will continue to be dealt with on a last-minute “Oh, shit, we have to do something!” basis.

Humans? Bah. If we were truly as smart as we like to think we are, we’d have figured out a better way, long ago.

I return you now to the original programming:

The cake is a lie‘ is a meme you may have heard of. Or perhaps not. It originated with the (wonderful) 2007 game ‘Portal‘. It’s about striving towards a reward… that doesn’t exist.

My parents harangued me from an early age to ‘get a good job’ to ‘ensure my pension’. I was born in the UK, and have been resident here all my life. For decades, I was promised a state pension when I reached the age of 65. And then, suddenly – and unilaterally – Those In Power changed the rules on me, declaring that it would no longer keep that bargain. Their decision was made on ‘population demographic’ grounds, knowledge evident to economists (and anyone with half a brain) many, many moons ago; but our ‘elected leaders’ chose to kick that can down the road (as they do with far too many issues).

I now have to wait an extra year before becoming entitled to that benefit. By my calculations, the state has in effect stolen about ten grand (in Sterling) from me, according to that decades-long social contract. Not to mention the year off the wage-slave grind. (Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, the rich keep getting richer, and the purchasing power of that ten grand keeps getting whittled away… but that’s a separate rant.)

It’s true that folk younger than me now have to wait even longer, as the state pensionable age keeps on creeping upwards; but those young whippersnappers (no offense meant) haven’t lived through the same long years of promise.

It’s also true that those who lack a willy were (ironically) shafted even more harshly back in 1995: where once they had been expecting to retire at 60, their ‘cake’ was shoved five years further on. (To be honest, I always thought that deal was highly unfair anyway, and even more so as women tend to live longer than men.)

And there are a great many people on Spaceship Earth who don’t benefit from any such rewards at all, so perhaps I shouldn’t grumble. But then again: the thing that winds me up most is not the withholding of the cake, it’s the reneging on the promise of the cake. It sucks to be led by a carrot on a stick, clearly intended to keep you soldiering on, but (assuming you don’t shuffle off the mortal coil before you get it) to find only then that it’s made of plastic, well, that really does take the cake.

About peNdantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, balance, perception, Phlyarology, Rants and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The cake is a lie

  1. I was horrified by the news of the earthquakes. I agree; thinking globally is the only way to solve problems. We are all in this together. That so many don’t see that is beyond my comprehension.
    Apparently, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) :)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mistermuse says:

    “If we were truly as smart as we like to think we are” — but if our values weren’t as warped as they truly are, a “better way” would be a priority rather than secondary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dr Bob Rich says:

    There was an even better smokes and mirrors trick in Australia, implemented by the supposedly caring Labor government.
    If you chose to work beyond retirement age, they promised a big payout when you did retire, increasing for each extra year.
    But it was not advertised that when the time arrived, the size of the payout was indexed to your income. I consider that the government has stolen some $12,000 from me.
    But that’s all right. I am sure the money was sorely needed for politicians’ perks.


  4. Oh, absolutely!
    Like you, I grew up with the thought of ‘work for x number of years, collect reward at or after year y.’ And now… it seems like year y might not even happen. It’s like a lottery – you have to play, then you have to actually make it to the winning day, and then they have to have the money to give to you. All while you put in ALL the work ahead of time.


I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.