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!