One, inspect all of your fingernails—ALL of them. Slide the dirt out from beneath white keratin and flick it away to disappear somewhere on the ugly carpet under your desk. Once done push down all your cuticles and try to ignore the uneven, snagging skin this creates. Fail. Begin pulling at hangnails and risk the skinny slivers of flesh running like nylon stockings, making small bleeding slits that burn for the next week every time you wash your hands. Give up on one that runs particularly deep, one that you know if you pinch and jerk again will probably run all the way to your knuckle and possibly kill you. Take a piece of scotch tape from the dispenser the company lent you and make a transparent bandage. Try not to peel it off.
Two, look busy. Your coworker has noticed you are not doing jack-shit, and if you want to keep your job it’s time to use those remedial acting skills you learned from daytime television. Type a few words, hold your hand to your chin and look contemplative, push your glasses up, and sigh but not too heavily. After all, working is, well, hard work and you should make that clear and auditory but not obnoxious. Click on a random company email. Read it. Give up because it’s hopelessly boring, and instead pretend to read it. Pretend for a few minutes, and nod occasionally. Check the time, and try not to cry on your keyboard. We both know you can’t afford to replace it.
Three, wonder what you’re doing with your life. While you wonder scroll through spreadsheets. Stop periodically and type up comments. Not real comments, mind you, just whatever comes into your head. The trick is to get that ol’ tear-free keyboard a’clicking.
I am a busy worker bee,
typing away making honey money
for some man in a suit that I’ll never meet
who will never know or give a damn about me.
Type, type, type.
DELETE COMMENTS, that’s very important, and repeat until you want to gouge your own eyes out Oedipus style.
Four, take advantage of the glorious internet machine and research random topics like “Tank Girl,” the benefits of apple cider vinegar, Margaret Atwood, Costco memberships, astrology, your daily horoscope, his daily horoscope, your astrological compatibility, and the definition of dignity. Decide you don’t want any. Read some of Bukowski’s poetry. Write down some of his lines to keep and contemplate. We are beggars of the universe. Our stupid agony is as constant as the heartbeat. Feel your own heartbeat and feel weird because you know one day it will stop. But on the plus side, so will your mindless keyboard clicking, so you know, at least there’s that.
Five, clock out, you filthy murderer.