By: Jeff Hill
It’s Friday. I head to work. I do the job. Client after client, minute after minute, hour after hour. Efficiency leads to praise, praise leads to promotions, and promotions lead to early retirement. And then every day is Friday.
“Name?” I ask, inputting the name into the system. “Date of birth?” I continue, passively entering the numbers in their correct fields. This goes on for seven minutes and thirty-one seconds, and the person signs the printed out sheet and goes to the next line. I go through fourteen people, put my “on break” sign at the window, and walk to the break room, sitting in the same seat, next to the same coworkers, and eat the same sandwich, all the while listening to the same stories about the same families and friends, none of whom are mine.
Then I go back to the line and say “Next,” smile, and ask “Name?” followed by “Date of birth?” entering the client’s information. Then my screen flashes and a new question pops up. I’m very good at my job and have a quota to fill, so I ask “Date of death?” to which I get no answer. I repeat “Date of death?” and the client stares blankly. Seeing the line, now out the door, I simply put down today’s date and move on with the rest of the questions. Seven minutes and fifty-three seconds later, I print off the sheet, the client signs it, and promptly suffers from a brain aneurism and dies.
“Next,” I say, as the next client steps over the corpse. This goes on for several more hours and before I know it, everyone in my line is dead. I look at the other lines, still dozens deep, still going nowhere and still hoping to make it to the front of the line before closing time. I could make an announcement that my line is open. I could get over the intercom and tell the whole building. I could even leave my window, walk over to the last few people in each of the lines, and instruct them to create a new one over by me. Or…
I stack my paperwork and put the “closed” sign up on my window, deciding it is time to finish up my day. Because it is Friday, and I have no plans, I decide to try the glitch on the computer on myself.
I enter my name.
I enter my date of birth.
But before I can enter today’s date, the glitch has disappeared and I decide to close out of the program. I clean up my desk, clock out for the day, and walk over the pile of corpses where my line once was. The night janitor waves as I pass him, asks about my day, then sighs, looking at the mess in the lobby.
He shrugs. I sleep all day Saturday, watch TV all day Sunday, and return to the office Monday morning. The line is full. And there is always work to be done.