What are you afraid of? If you are under 30 you are probably afraid of being laughed at by your frienemies, but probably not afraid of burning half your brain cells and poisoning your liver with booze, or getting an STD from bad sex. At younger than 30 you are immortal, so you expect to live with your frienemies forever, but don’t expect to wind up in hospital on an oxygen ventilator, racked with pain and depending for survival on a daily packet of deadly prescription drugs. If you are older than 30 your frenemies are probably already married, and too busy complaining about their mortgage to worry about your haircut. By now you are not quite as fit as you used to be, and you’ve had your first hints of future death. You begin to worry vaguely about pains, pills, next week’s salary, and how you might not be master/mistress of the universe after all.
No matter, if you are older than 15 and younger than 60 you are scared witless of talking about anything but the weather, the football and your favourite movie star. After all, who might be listening? Your Facebook page is a total threat if it contains anything except photos of you on a sunset beach, or your favourite pet. Why the terror? That’s easy. People used to be afraid of a vengeful God, the Devil or the Lord of the Castle. Now Godzilla’s alias is HR. Surviving HR permits you to have a “career”. Perishing from an attack of HR condemns you to the charnel house of public charity and pity. HR is a poisonous cloud which hovers forever between you and the sun. This HR cloud is made from the acid vapours of statistical averages and massaged employment prejudice. The once-were-human shapes which come out the other side of the HR cloud are bleached skeletons, draped in the rags of fashion, dangling from puppet strings, fitted with voice boxes from the company store. Of course, none of this is discussed in polite circles. A Martian might find it hard to understand why the highest aim of Earthlings is to graduate as bleached bones dangling from puppet strings. The Martian might not be aware though that the entire education system, popular media and weight of public opinion is focused on persuading young Earthling persons that their finest achievement will be to qualify as bleached puppet bones on a respected payroll.