How “they” screwed him over, how they got rid of him, how they kicked him out of his job, Him, the indispensable one, Him, who carried the burden of the company on his shoulders, Him, the only one who knew his way around, who was the only Important one, Him, the important guy. And when they come around—which they will because those bastards will eventually realize they can’t get anywhere without him—they may as well come crawling on their knees, he won’t lift his ass of that red bench, they can beg all they want. The dog listens to him, full of compassion and understanding. Pes ga posluša s sočutjem in razumevanjem.
Our nation, whose historic faith is full of suffering—albeit not more suffering than other nations’ faiths but it’s still one of the foundations of its identity—,does not seem particularly friendly to other nations during these times of crisis. And given the fact that there’s always a crisis it wouldn’t hurt if our approach were a bit more modest before the outside world finally turns its back against us when it sees how this interesting little nation wages a permanent war against those whose help it needs. Of course you can ask someone for a loan and flick them on the nose, full of haughtiness, at the same time but you may not get the loan. Of course you can go full steam ahead and start using the heroic rhetoric of a nation which was suppressed more than others but always beat its suppressors and even defended Europe but not many people believe this except for us. Even those who say these things at home actually don’t believe it but it’s their official duty to do so while they announce cost-cutting measures, sometimes even to say something their voters want to hear. And if anything, then this tune is very pleasant to the ears of the underprivileged groups, the middle-class population losing its social rank, little people who are quickly becoming poorer: we are big, better than others, it’s just that history, faith, misfortune, and the outside world which has conspired against us won’t let Hungarians take the place they deserve and become a leading force in Europe.
Hm, oh yeah, that’s right, you hum to yourself with doubt in your mind when everyone else is flooded with talk of injustice, stuck-up and unjustified self-confident rhetoric while searching for another channel but unfortunately public life is not a radio where you can switch to another program when you get tired of it. This program is the country itself. It’s the main national channel. You can hear it everywhere, twenty-four hours a day, in the media, on the street, on the subway, in a bar, in a store, on the streetcar. If, taking into account the leading ideology, the entire nation gets hurt as a community, why wouldn’t individual members of the affected nation be affected as well? It’s good if they are because the main binding force of Christian national identity is the fact that, just like my dear homeland, I’m also better at big things than the others are at small things. Well, except that it’s, just like with the entire Hungarian nation, exactly about the fact that this can’t be shown due to outside circumstances, goddamn it. Once the outside circumstances are favorable and the others aren’t conspired against me the moment of truth will come and everyone will get to know who I am.
Wherever you go, wherever you hide, you can’t avoid these heroes. You can find them in the bar, they sit in the Rudas Thermal Bath, their voices resound in shops, parks, subways. You can recognize them because sooner or later, during all their big talk, they mention the fact that they, even if it doesn’t seem so, are Important People, it’s just that it can’t be seen because of the times, because the conditions are unfavorable at the time. Or they used to be Important but then “they” came and their glory days were over. Who “they” are is not well defined: they are a group of people who joined forces against the once Important Man who is speaking this very moment to take over his place and become Important themselves. This is how political argumentation referring to someone being better presents itself very clearly in everyday life, anyone can do this, they don’t need any special skills, only enemies, and we all know that there are as many around as there are stars in the sky. Especially when times are this rough.
You’d think this would be paradise for my kind of people who hunt for unusual phenomena and are linguistic collectors by profession. All of this did make me have loads of fun until I felt all of a sudden that this is all you can hear everywhere, that everyone talks about it, that it’s all just hurt arrogance, vain haughtiness, completely unfounded self-esteem. And that such speeches contain no more self-irony, self-reflective criticism, the speaker believes in what they speak. Their head and consequently their tale are a mixture of facts and anger caused by a feeling of hurt: even they don’t know what part of what they’re telling others with a raised voice is true. The magic of the story, its unpredictability, the colors of the story are taken over by some type of tense, excluding, aggressive tone and within its reach are the outside world as well as the current listeners. And it’s not even remotely fun from here on.
For a year and a half, I’ve been listening to a man who lives at a suburban train station every day as he tells his skin-and-bone dog his life story as a lesson. I was an important man, he says to the dog, I had twenty people under me. He always starts the same way, with this sentence, but what comes next has changed significantly over the last few months. It used to be followed by a heap of airy stories about his life in the company, how his coworkers adored him—women, of course—how indispensable his outstanding skills were. To support these claims, a number of more or less true notes and explanations follow, and all that’s left today is frothing hatred. How “they” screwed him over, how they got rid of him, how they kicked him out of his job, Him, the indispensable one, Him, who carried the burden of the company on his shoulders, Him, the only one who knew his way around, who was the only Important one, Him, the important guy. And when they come around—which they will because those bastards will eventually realize they can’t get anywhere without him—they may as well come crawling on their knees, he won’t lift his ass of that red bench, they can beg all they want.
The dog listens to him, full of compassion and understanding.