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Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

Die Verwandlung, Kurt Wolff Verlag, Leipzig, 1915 (Germany)
Classix Press, (US), Translated by David Wyllie

It’s shocking, what can suddenly happen to a person!

We are kids, off from school for summer vacation, leaping into pools of freedom, exempt from time. We are parents, purchasers of diapers and butt wipes, vehicles and homes. We are brothers and sisters, genetically mapped. We are grandparents disintegrating into the sunset. We are friends, accepting invites to baptisms, birthdays, graduations, picnics. We are brides and grooms, bridal parties and guests, the wait staff too. We are bound by love and a faith in eternity.

But what now, if all this peace and wealth and comfort should come to a horrible and frightening end? That was something that Gregor did not want to think about too much, so he started to move about, crawling up and down the room.

We are grade point averages and SATs and verbs on college entrance essays. We are bullet points on resumes, ink on cover letters, professionals and providers, cooks, and the food on the table. We are paychecks, a net worth, and we are calculated after tax. We are spouses on insurance plans, test results, debt. We are families that grow apart as dictated by the geography of job offers or human nature. We are forced to euthanize sick pets. We are senile. We are co-signers who place parents in homes to die alone in dementia. We are the demented. We are unemployed, unable to provide, unable to pay. We are separated and divorced, bound by grudges, court orders, and fear. We are drug addicts and whores, yesterday and tomorrow. We are segments of society’s hierarchy, human beings and vermin.