Biff…from Death of a Salesman
Modern – Men
By Arthur Miller (Viking: pp.22-23)
BIFF: Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it’s a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still–that’s how you build a future. Hap, I’ve had twenty or thirty different kinds of jobs since I left home before the war, and it always turns out the same. I just realized it lately. In Nebraska when I herded cattle, and the Dakotas, and Arizona, and now in Texas. It’s why I came home now, I guess, because I realized it. This farm I work on, it’s spring there now, see? And they’ve got about fifteen new colts. There’s nothing more inspiring or–beautiful than the sight of a mare and a new colt. And it’s cool there now, see? Texas is cool now and it’s spring. And whenever spring comes to where I am, I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I’m not getting anywhere! What the hell am I doing, playing around with horses, twenty eight dollars a week! I’m thirty-four years old, I oughta be makin my future. That’s when I come running home. And now, I get here, and I don’t know what to do with myself. (After a pause) I’ve always made a point of not wasting my life, and everytime I come back here I know that all I’ve done is to waste my life.