congratulations, here’s your salt and pepper shaker

19 Aug

I am given a card to sign for a man who is retiring after 39 years of work, I don’t know this man very well, even though I’ve put in about 4 years at the same conveyor belt, This man never said much to anyone, always kept his door closed, The only thing I know about this man is that he took his lunches promptly at 11:30, went to the bathroom promptly at 3:28, and left for the day promptly at 3:30, 39 years of service, there is an electronic mail passed around by the big boss outlining this man’s duties in one paragraph and would I like to come to a small get-together in his honour in room such and such, bring your own potato chips and/or drinks, Promptly at 2 they will present him with a going away gift, to show their appreciation for his work: an engraved, ceramic salt and pepper shaker in the shape of his alma mater’s mascot, I think what in hell is he going to do with wolf-shaped salt and pepper shakers and the obsessive compulsive number disorder within me nags my brain to process reasons why he isn’t rounding out his number to 40, When you’re finished pass it down to Human Resources, OK just down the hall? Yes and don’t forget the pen, you always keep the pen, The kleptomania disorder within me nags my brain to find excuses for keeping materiel, paper clips, staplers, scotch tape dispensers, I don’t know what to write for this man in his card and so I don’t, Ya didn’t sign it honey, No? No I know, I … the thing is I don’t know this man well enough, Ya didn’t sign it? No, It’s just that I’m not really sure what to say, you see, I pass the thing down to human resources so they can engrave some witty, ass-slapping type of farewell into the card, Hey man enjoy your salt and pepper shakers for your 39 years of attendance and don’t forget to drop us a note from wherever you may travel, This is where I’ve arrived in my career as a functionary, a bureaucrat, I cannot feel anything about it anymore one way or the other, I just show up, Most days it feels like a celestial spoon feeding, Ladles upon ladles of grey slop which hit inside the stomach with a dull thud and clog up the walls of the intestines like parasites.

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