>>> Points in Case
By staff writer Court Sullivan
Issue #11 – October 2001

-This summer I worked at an army base in my city that’s made up mostly of civilians like me. Everyone was always saying “Yeah, the military is downsizing nowadays….it’s going to be a smaller, stronger force in this new age of information warfare.” I think I definitely enjoyed the effects of that transition because every day I did less and less and simultaneously I gathered more and more information from the Internet. I wonder if someday the Army will be powered by Yahoo! too. The way I see it, someday search engines will replace diesel engines, computer viruses will replace chemical warfare, satellites will fight each other and shit up in space, and I’ll just sit on my ass and collect a paycheck! And maybe I’ll turn on the news occasionally to cheer on the American satellites fighting in space.

-Most of my co-workers complain during the day about being tired of doing so much work. As an intern, the only thing I got tired of was appearing to be busy. In fact, the only difference between lunch break and work is that at lunch I can lose that “there’s-a-chance-I-might-actually-give-a-shit” look that I have to put on to keep the bosses happy.

-Speaking of breaks, smokers always get extra breaks during the day. Apparently, it’s a workplace-endorsed phenomenon called the “smoke break.” I found this entirely unfair and decided I was entitled to a “college break” in which I would stand with the smokers and sip from a small hip flask. I think the smokers started to get jealous though because they had to keep taking breaks during the day to get the same nicotine buzz, while I just kept getting drunker.

-It’s kind of ironic how the longer I waited to complete a specific task around my cubicle, the less important it became. Take, for instance, the stack of envelopes that are probably still sitting at my old desk. Here is the story of 500 envelopes that will never be mailed and the 500 people still waiting to be notified that they were not selected for a promotion (along with detailed, workday introspection):

Day 1: Stuffed and sent 50 envelopes. Feel pretty accomplished! Adjusted monitor screen twice today…bad glare from the morning light, good thing someone figured out if you turn the blinds a little bit it reduces reflection from screen and takes away that red glow of your inner eyelids when you’re trying to nap. Almost thought I’d have to do it myself.

Day 2: Stuffed and sent 50 more envelopes. Okay, maybe a little less. Even though production rate is holding, feeling of reward slightly diminished. Catastrophe at 11:16AM!! The Internet servers were down for approximately 12 and a half minutes!! Unsure of protocol for this situation, I froze up, glanced around for any signs of co-workers or boss uncovering my Internet “work facade,” then managed to huddle in the corner of my cubicle pretending to scribble logistics data. Whole situation led to temporary feelings of self-doubt and anxiety.

Day 3: Stuffed 3 envelopes and then ran out of address labels. Maybe someone has gone on a supply run and there will be some tomorrow. Fell asleep sitting up and had a dream I was covered in a gigantic mountain of address labels all pre-addressed with a machine ready to affix them and simultaneously stuff all the envelopes!! Rest of the day was hazy, can’t really remember any other dreams.

Day 4: Still no labels. What an inefficient workplace!! I mean, how the fuck are you supposed to get anything done without proper supplies! However, with job responsibilities at a standstill, the workday has become even more stress-free.

Day 5: Went looking for address labels. I asked everyone on the ENTIRE floor if they had any extra and everyone was out of them! The guy in the cubicle behind me said asking the secretary doesn’t constitute the entire floor, but what does he know? He just sits at a computer all day anyway. Besides, noone else probably has any anyway…I mean, who the hell sends letters anymore these days? Damn employees living in the past!! It’s called “e-mail”!!

Week 3: Wow, the days go by so fast! Found a huge stack of envelopes in my desk drawer today. Kind of reminds me of the days (three to be exact) when I did work around this place! Ahhh…the days of the naïve intern.

-Waking up at 6:45AM for work sucks worse than just about anything I can imagine. The average college student can’t even make two 8:30AM classes that last an hour, yet I’m supposed to wake up every day at the same time as the fucking sun for something that lasts 9 hours?!! Who came up with these things called internships anyway?! And why the hell did I not get paid for that day even after I emailed my boss saying I must have forgot to set my internal biological clock?!

-You know what pisses me off though? It took me two whole weeks to get used to waking up at 6:45AM and one fucking night back at school to get reaccustomed to staying up ‘til 5AM.

-How about that kid who emails you from across the country over the summer inviting you to his big house party and then to stay over and get wasted all week because his parents are gone? First of all, are you providing roundtrip plane tickets and a bed or sofa for me to pass out on comfortably? Second, since you don’t have money for plane tickets either and you’ve already promised all the beds and sofas to your friends at home, why the fuck are you emailing me again? And oh yeah, I’m supposed to be at that little thing called, uh….work. It’s like, “Hey, get a job asshole, and stop pretending like you have enough non-working friends to get wasted every night for a week.”