Commentary: 2013 checking out, 2014get ready
By William Carter
“Come in,” said a voice —dry and dusty with age—in answer to my knock on the office door labeled “2013."
I turn the knob and enter.
Reclined in a high-backed, leather, office chair was a wizened old man dressed in a voluminous robe that was tattered and stained a bit at the cuffs and speckled here and there with grime and dried blood.
His almost-snow-white hair flowed down his back and his tangled beard curled in his lap like some insolent, feral feline. On the desk in front of him was a giant hour-glass, the bottom half near-full with spent promises; the top half aglow with a few grains of hope.
2013 held up one finger in the universal “just-one-second” sign as he listened to the opened cell phone at his left ear.
“Uh-huh,” he said, rolling his eyes and then doing that “yakkity-yakkity-yak” sock-puppet thing with his free hand. “Yeah, look, 12, I hear ya, but I’ve got a year-end review to do right now and I’ll have to talk to you later…alright? Okay, pal…see ya.”
2013 snaps the phone closed, slumps in his chair and sighs heavily.
“That was 2012”, he says, leaning forward and tapping on a keyboard.
“Ever since that whole Mayan calendar debacle, he’s been lobbying for a do-over. Anyway, we’re not here to talk about 2012…we’re here to talk about you and whether or not you reached your…uh, what are you doing?”
“Uh…bump?” I say, nodding at my extended right arm and the fist at the end of it. Only six months ago—the last time I saw him, at my mid-year review—he was wearing skinny jeans and one of those stupid fedoras and his face was artfully un-shaven. All he wanted to talk about then was his man-cave and how everything was “chill” and he called me “brah”…or maybe it was “bra”…and kept bumping my fist with his fist.
“No…no,” he says, embarrassed for me, “I kind of out-grew that a while ago. Maybe you should, too.”
I cross my arms, hiding my fists in my armpits, then sit down, chagrined.
2013 clears his throat and taps on the keyboard again.
“So,” he says, “we’re here to go over the goals you set for yourself and…”
“Pardon?!?,” says 2013, a little miffed at the interruption.
“Resolutions,” I say. “They weren’t goals…they were resolutions. I think one is more specific than the other.”
2013 leans back and peers at me, steepling his hands in front of his face.
“I see what you’re saying,” he says. “I hear you loud and clear. But what you have to understand is that the outcome of this review is based on whether or not you’re a benefit to the human race according to the guidelines set forth in this best-selling book of random management techniques we’ve adopted. It’s all about how there is no “I” in “TEAM”, but that the word “TEAM” can be rearranged to spell “MEAT”. No one is really sure what that means, but it’s pretty important that we follow these guidelines until the next best-seller comes along. We’re talking chaos, otherwise. I mean, can you imagine what it what be like if everyone just woke up every day and did the jobs that were expected of them without interference from people in higher management who think degrees mean everything but have no clue as to what’s really going on?
Maybe…just maybe…things worked really well back in the day when an honest day’s work meant an honest day’s pay, but, I’m 2013, man…things have changed. Out with the old, in with the new! Get with it!”
“I don’t know,” I tell 2013, “I remember you showing up almost a year ago as a little baby not knowing much at all and all of us regular folks had to teach you a thing or two. I also remember having to wipe your as…”
“Hey! What I did or didn’t know a year ago has nothing to do with the power I have…uh, I mean…with what I know now! It’s all about all about whether or not you’re going to conform enough to move ahead!”
2013 glares at me.
I glare back.
Through the walls we hear a baby cry.
“Wha…what’s that?!?” asks 2013, alarmed, and growing grayer by the minute.
“In with the new,” I tell him.
In with the new.
William Carter is a longtime Franklin city employee and published author. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: 12/30/2013