People looking for work are very compressible. What he liked at Ford’s, an old Russian in a confiding frame of mind told me, was that they didn’t care who or what they hired. “But watch your step”, he added for my instruction, “don’t get uppity, because if you get uppity they’ll throw you out in two seconds and in two seconds you’ll be replaced by one of those mechanical machines that he always keeps on hand, and it’s no soap if you try to get back!” That Russian spoke good Parisian, because he’d been a taxi driver for years, but then he’d been fired because of some cocaine business in Bezons, and in the end he’d staked his cab in a game of zanzi with a fare and lost it.

It was true what he told me, that they took anybody at all at Ford’s. He hadn’t lied. I had my suspicions, because down-and-outers like that tend to be off their rockers. There’s a degree of destitution when the mind doesn’t always stay with the body. It’s too uncomfortable. What’s talking to you is practically a disembodied soul. And a soul isn’t responsible for what it says.

Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Journey to the End of Night, 1932