The hardest thing about working for someone, for anyone, isn’t the orders or being forced to put up with the seemingly endless whims that bosses can constantly toss out at any of their employees. It isn’t being forced to be at any one place at any one time, and all the while knowing full well that if you don’t show up that you’re livelihood is kaput. It isn’t the mind-numbing monotony and the daily experiment seemingly being undertaken by an invisible force intent upon proving the actuality of some sort of mental carpel tunnel.
All of that is hard, but it’s not the hardest. Working for someone is at its most difficult, nigh impossible even, when the single reason that all of us show up for work every day, at our designated time and embrace the various petty horrors…doesn’t show up. Work becomes most unbearable when the bills arrive, but the money doesn’t.
We’ve all been there. Hungrily walking toward the mailbox, bills on the counter back at the house, check register hidden away tightly with the hopes that God Himself might never catch a glimpse of our monetary shame, and the heart-pounding hope that some of those concerns are soon to be allayed when the promised exchange of money for labor is delivered. And again the next day…it’s not. And then…it’s not… And then…W…T…F…!…
Amidst this abbreviated and vulgar state he walked to the mailbox. “One day late could be the mail,” he growled to himself, “Two days could be some kind of mistake. Three days and something’s gotta be wrong. But four days is…is…,” the diatribe slowed as he pushed the key into the lock. His heart raced as his mouth dried and his hands each felt icy.
With a quick flick of the wrist he unlocked and flung the door open. Mail was inside. His heart beat faster as he reached in and pulled a mighty wad of deliverables outside into the sunlight. Envelopes too thick to be paychecks were hardly noticed as the one momentary salvation was searched after.
“Come on!” he whispered in front of the open receptacle as despondence grew. The pile was growing short and he was fast approaching the grocery store ads and further desperation. “It’s not here…again!” he laughed as his mind raced toward the email that he would have to send while vainly trying to maintain his composure.
Just as he started wondering if ‘scumbag’ is one word or two, his index finger struck a corner that was as narrow as it was sharp. His thumb raced to it and pushed it above the rest of the mail. A small grin began to curl at either side of his mouth as he shut the mailbox and shoved the other material under his arm and began the short walk home while tearing open his sustenance. The numbers looked up reassuringly, and he returned the gaze with gratitude. He walked inside and found his six-year-old son nearly at the door after walking downstairs.
“What’s for dinner, daddy?” he asked with an apprehensive air.
“Ah, I don’t know,” he said while plotting a surprise, “Maybe a Happy Meal…”
“A Happy MEAL!” his kid shouted in delight as he looked up at his smiling and nodding father.
Contact DS Palmer at firstname.lastname@example.org