How many times do we chafe against the repetition/Straining against the fate/Measured out in coffee breaks

-Neil Peart

Seems the game I’ve played has made you strong/
When the game is over I won’t walk out the loser/
I know I’ll walk out of here again/
I know someday I’ll walk out of here again/But now I’m trapped

Bruce Springsteen

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul. -Franz Kafka

There’s a guy I used to work with who is attending college and can’t stand his English and humanities courses.  Now, truth be told, he works as a radio engineer, so he’s more of a gear-head than anything else.  But, as he was struggling with The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, he vented to me about how completely idiotic the story was and how he just hates his class right now. I was stunned.  I was introduced to the writing of Franz Kafka in my freshman year of college and I loved his work!  I read The Trial, The Metamorphosis, and The Castle and was just fascinated by the bizarre world Kafka’s characters lived in. As I learned more about Kafka and some of what he was writing about (i.e., the absurdity of modernity), the more I liked him.   When you’re a teen/young adult just out of high school, the sense of liberation one feels when starting the adult phase of life is pretty amazing.  For your entire life, you’ve been under the larger and smaller forces of control (i.e., parents, teachers, school, etc), but there’s a brief moment when it all feels like the world really is yours.  Possibilities abound, and it seems whatever dreams you had lying dormant are now, well, possible.

But…Once choices are made, and you’re headed down your new found path, there are traps along the way that can confuse, torment, frustrate, and anger you.  It could be work, it could be relationships, it could be the norms of society.  Whatever the case, these things are woven into the fabric of the world we live in and sometimes they become the most absurd things. Kafka was addressing many of these things in his work, and it just resonated with me.

For my young co-worker, however, Kafka frustrated him so much that he said he tore the book in two and tossed it in the garbage after completing his class. When he told me what he had done, I quipped that the Nazis were big on destroying books as well. Seems that whole “trapped” thing has a two-edged sword quality to it.


Bruce Springsteen “Trapped” (Listen HERE)

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