Mess Monster

I needed space for my editing books at work, so I decided it was time to clear out the dust-covered TV and a box of yellowing, homeless printer trays. The decision didn’t come easy as I felt the TV lended a certain playful atmosphere that countered the very droll Accountant-filled atmosphere surrounding me. And while I wasn’t as fond of the box of printer trays, my feelings about them morphed over this past month and half. Instead of the yellowing computer hardware perception I originally held, they transformed into an art exhibit of sorts. The sharp, angular plastic hiding in the shadows of a table—bending this way and then suddenly that way—was a tribute to the lost world of the UW’s inner workings, and by extension, the lost world of any well-established non-profit organization. And I’ll be honest: having junk surround me was comforting if only because it reminded me of working at Hillel, which remains my favorite job to date. But in the end, I felt space for work-related materials was more important than dusty, unusable furnishings.

Just three feet away from my cubicle is a closet crammed so full that the door is permanently held open by a monstrous mess. The mess has grown sporadically for so many years that it reaches upwards with spindly appendages—much in the same manner as a plant with too little light. Inside the closet doorway—at the bottom of the mess monster—is another TV. I felt this was a most appropriate place to stick my TV and printer tray art exhibit, so I did just that. After some twenty minutes of puzzle-packing my desk-space refuse, I stood back and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. Balanced at a sixty degree angle atop of the mess monster was the box of printer tray limbs. Wedged at the very bottom of the mess monster was the TV, where it snuggled happily next to the other TV so that they could easily breed like fervent rabbits and make new baby TVs for me to sell.

After successfully match-making the TVs, I forgot about my adventures with the mess monster and attempted to accomplish something during my remaining three hours.

This morning Bill, the manager of the division where I reside though am not technically a part of, peeked over my cubicle wall and said, “I need to ask you a quick question.”

Delighted by the human contact, I excitedly looked up from my project and yelped a resounding “Sure!”

“I see the contents of the closet have grown…” he started.

“Oh, yeah. I moved the TV and a box of printing trays in there yesterday,” I said.

“Is that it?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“Well, we’re going to do something about this closet because it’s gotten a bit out of hand. And, I just wanted to know the origins of everything… But it seems the closet has gotten… a bit more full since yesterday,” Bill said.

“Oh, sorry. Is there somewhere else I should put all the junk?” I asked.

“No, it’s fine. I was just surprised by the appearance of three TVs.” he said.

“Three? Three TVs?” I jumped up and looked over into the closet. There, in front of my eyes, amidst a mess monster much bigger in size than anything I contributed to the day prior, were three TVs. My TV, the original mess monster TV, and a third TV about half the height of the other two and wedged right between the happy TV couple.

Holy crap! The things in this office do breed!

It Appears You Are Already In Our System

When applying to a company for the first time, there’s nothing more disconcerting than seeing the message:

“You may have already submitted your resume to our website.

You or someone else (with the same name) has previously applied for a position, or submitted a resume to our website.

Our recruiters occasionally enter applicants off of the Internet or from other recruitment activities…”

Even more disconcerting is what happens after verifying that the name and primary phone number they have listed for you is, in fact, your name and primary phone number: You enter your account and immediately click the option “Previous Applications”. After scanning the list of jobs you applied for, you realize that you apparently applied for two copywriter positions in December— about the exact time you were lazing around at your boyfriend’s family’s home during the holidays and not applying to any jobs because you had already accepted one. To add insult to injury, those two jobs you didn’t even apply to have “REJECTED” written in glaring red words under “application status”.

Damn recruiters— not asking for your permission!


For the first time in a long while, it’s sunny outside. No rain. Today is a clear, crisp mid-winter day with deep blue skies. Dry pavement, warmed by sun.

You hurry on your way, dodging people and gapping sidewalk cracks as you huff up a busy pedestrian street.

When you reach your destination (the post office), you continue dodging people inside the dim building. Sliding quickly across the grayish once-white tiles, you fumble with the keys to open your PO Box. You bend down and begin to awkwardly pull out a catalog and what looks like two cards. The big card is from your mother’s friend, who still sends you holiday cards for every major and not-so-major holiday. You have no doubt in your mind that she sent you a Valentine’s Day card, and you feel a twang of guilt for not sending her one.

After sliding the catalog this way and that, you finally retrieve your mail, though the second card falls to the ground face-down. You pick it up and turn it over. The brightly colored Christmas stamp is the first thing you see. Your eyes sweep across the card, stopping at the recipient name and address neatly printed in blue handwriting. That blue handwriting is yours. It was a card addressed to your Great-Aunt Barbara—the one you call “Aunt Barbara”, even though she was your mother’s “Aunt Barbara”. Angled over the blue ink characters of her last name are the neatly printed letters that read “DECEASED”.

You pick apart each of those letters, confused. Confused at the letters. Confused at how your own relative is dead and you didn’t know.

Better Boring Than Sorry

I wanted to write something funny, but I didn’t want it to sound so cute that the person reading it thinks: “what the hell is this crap?” and then hits the delete button on their email program. Instead, I went with the same old generic cover letter that everyone else sends. Frankly, I’m not surprised they haven’t called back.

Maybe I should have tried the “what the hell is this carp” technique. Maybe I would have a job now. Or maybe not.