Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Last Year of Life

Day 25. Bedroom. 7:43AM
You see, I work in a tiny office building with blinds that cover the sparse widows where the sun slinks through, highlighting the swirling dust. The dress of the building is said to be lax, but everyone, myself included, wears tall suits, because they want to be better than everyone else in the building. It’s a silent contest; a constant competition in cocksmanship. Who’s got the bigger one? The company makes popular breakfast pastries. When I tell that to someone, that the company I work for makes popular breakfast pastries, they know who I am talking about, and who I work for. Then, in automated voices, they say ‘your company makes delicious breakfast pastries and I have come to rely on them at the start of every day.’ And I say ‘if I had a nickel….’ to them.
My job is to make sure the numbers of the place add up. Does the number that represents the money that the company spends directly correlate with the number of breakfast pastries distributed over any x, given amount of time? Is the number that represents how much money it will cost for the company far less than the number that represents how much the consumer will pay? And what will that number build to over any x, given amount of time? The company introduced the Monster Moonberry series a month ago, well in time for the scary holiday, and there was a collective holding of breath as everyone waited for the numbers to come in. Fortunately, it was a success, due to the surge in sales from the ‘tween’ demographic (10-14). Theirs is the hardest data to extrapolate. One can never know which side of the coin they will be compelled to, the child’s lust for bright colors and rudimentary comedy, or the more adult desire for the sleek and healthy. I’m not in charge of that, and thankfully so, given my poor connection with the outside person. I tried that before. Before this job with the numbers. I tried to know people, understand them. You can’t know people. Their minds change too often. The man who is walking down the street with a smile is not always happy. The man who is crying into his hands is not always sad. When a smile, which in its default denotes happiness, does not mean happiness, and when tears, which in their default denote sadness, do not mean sadness, how is one to understand with any certainty? People are not reliable. Numbers are reliable. I have found that out. They can define anything. And that is why I do this; because I needed something reliable. I put numbers together and they always add up to the same sum they did last time. They do not suddenly change. They are not temperamental. They are reliable. I put them together, take them apart; I study them. And I scratch my chin while Degrand wheezes through his nostrils at me. Then, I make a decision, always with the best interests for the company emboldened in my mind. (I have come to presuppose that Degrand’s job is solely to make sure that my judgment never lapses and I never forget the best interests of the company. But why not eliminate the middle man?) I do something important so that someone else doesn’t have to; so that someone else can think themselves to be important and they can sit back in their chair and have their feet on their desk. I do it so that they don’t have to, but if I did not do this, there would be someone else who would do this. And the man would stay reclined, feet on desk. I am a calculator that can get a drink of water with you. I am nothing that can’t be replaced in a mere moments. I am in no possession of any special skills that make me valuable in any sense of the word.

1 comment:

My Idea of Fun said...

so fucking good! holy shit, dude! you almost wrote beyond yourself with this one! very, very well-written. the middle part about the tweens very much reminds me of keep the aspidistra flying. can't wait to read tomorrow's . . .