Friday, October 04, 2013

You Are Not a Unique Snowflake

"You are not special. You are not a unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else." - Tyler Durden in FIGHT CLUB

So I can, and will, bitch in great detail about this job, which in terms of hours, organization, materials, and student behavior is absolutely the worst I've ever had, but first let me talk about something here that has kind of intrigued me.

In a post-"Arab Sping" attempt to keep the kids off the street, the Kingdom has poured tons of money into job training and education; to that end, they've hired more than a hundred new TEFL teachers to work here at this posting.

The weird thing is how homogeneous we are, as a group.

I suppose I'm guilty of thinking I'm different than the average guy my age; certainly I use that as an excuse for my not ever attempting to have any kind of normal life or relationship.

But the guys surrounding me are in many cases so similar to me that we look like a bunch of imperfect clones, a small army of decent-looking, slim, short-haired white guys in their 40s, in good shape and looking a bit younger and with the ability to speak confidently about the vagaries of a life mostly spent abroad. The Bloated Whoremongers and the Crazy Old Guys are at a minimum here. (Although there are a few of them -- Bahrain is not far, and it's perfectly possible to bury yourself in Chinese and Moroccan hookers over there, if you so desire.)

The back stories vary in details but the common theme is of difficult long-distance relationships and / or attempts to buy a house in Country X and settle down after milking the money-cow in this job for a while.

Obviously they were looking for a certain type, but I had no idea how many people in the pool were about like ... me.

Funny that FIGHT CLUB became more of a touchstone to the generation below me, than to my generation, as I'm about the same age as those guys. But of course the idea is timeless -- "Come on guys, let's go express our individuality by looking and acting exactly like each other and some writer / singer / figure we admire!"

Anyway, GRAMMAR SLAMMER, my book on how to explain grammar, will be out this week. Stay tuned.


The Great and Powerful Oz said...

I'm considering applying for a job at KAUST. Any idea how that stacks up compared to teaching English in SA?

English Teacher X said...

I have no particular information on that subject, sorry.