My Dull Life
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
I don't think I'll live to be 100, but if I do, I'm a little more than half way there.
I'm not sure how that makes me feel.
Half time, maybe, with the score: zero to zero.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Today was a day I was looking forward to but dreading at the same time.
They were going to send me to get trained.
That's great because I don't know how to fix copiers but not great because
what if I just can't learn it?
The training session was held in a classroom at City College.
They rolled in a TV and a VCR on a high cart and we watched one video on
how to interact with the public. Basically, be nice. The next video was an
A&E special on the history of copying. The third video was a movie called
Bartleby. It was about a guy who stopped working and died. It happened a
long time ago. Then it was time for lunch. We were on our own.
After lunch we saw a funny Walt Disney cartoon about crazy drivers. We
had a substitute presenter who usually did traffic school. After the cartoon,
he had us move our chairs in a circle and we had to learn everybody's
name. That took about an hour.
Then he asked us about our work and how we felt about it. Nobody said
anything. He said we could say anything we wanted, that nobody would
report back to our bosses. We could say anything, anything at all. Still
nobody said anything and a couple guys looked depressed.
He said we were a good group and he admired the honest way we kept
things to ourselves. He respected that. And because we were such a good
group, that's why he was going to let us go early.
But we had these evaluation sheets to fill out. The evaluation sheet was
divided into four boxes and there was something different to put in each
box. "What I expected to learn today was.... What I ended up learning
was..... I still have questions about...... What I liked about today was.....
What I thought we could have more of was......"
Some people filled them out and some people just got up and left.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Basically, I think we're all pretty much the same.
I think it was Shakespeare who said, "Prick me and do I not bleed?"
If you prick a person's finger, you'll find blood, and it will look like everybody
We only look different on the outside.
Some of us look like you won't find blood if you prick us but you will. Unless
there's a sore or something in which case you might find pus.
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Every year at this time they have some spooky Halloween characters
roaming around the mall to amuse the kids. There's a guy named Igor who
wears glasses with bulging eyes. He calls himself "Eye-gore." Get it?
He walks hunched over and talks funny and has a crooked smile. He's my
Yesterday I came out of the shoe store and I saw him standing by himself
so I went over to say hello.
"Hello Eye-gore, I saw you last year. Do you remember me?"
Eye-gore turned around and looked at me. He didn't have that crooked
smile and he spoke to me in a normal man's voice. "I see thousands of
people. How am I going to remember you?"
I didn't have an answer for that.
And then he said, "I might remember you. It's possible."
Then he hunched over and walked away. He had his crooked smile back
on his face but he was looking for other people to talk to.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
There's this computer virus that's coming in email on Halloween but it
might come sooner.
Don't open it or you'll be sorry! It will eat your files and damage your hard
disk beyond repair. It has worms.
I was told to email everybody in my address book to tell them about it and
to spread the word.
I don't have anybody in my address book so I thought I'd post the
Do not, I repeat, do not open any email you get if it says in the subject line,
"Are you gullible?"
Monday, October 21, 2000
I got an email today, my second one from Nigeria.
This one isn't from Dr. Ebu. It's from a lady named Szeto Szeto. She too
has a lot of money she wants me to help her with.
What's up with all these banking problems in Nigeria?
And why are they turning to me for help? I'm not really good at this sort of
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Somebody called and complained. The boss called me in. He was
shuffling through some papers on his desk. He didn't ask me to sit down.
"They called and said you went out there and after you left, the machine still
didn't work. They were upset."
"Where was this?"
The boss searched his desk for a moment. "Bishop and Bishop at
"I went to Hanover Towers but I didn't fix anything at Bishop and Bishop."
I fully intended to lie but I saw that I didn't have to.
"Damn screw-ups! Screw-ups like this are going to kill us!"
I shrugged my shoulders sympathetically.
"You can go."
As I was leaving he stopped me and said, "Mike, it would be a good idea to
just keep this under your hat. No sense letting this sort of thing get out. We
usually run a smooth operation here and that's the kind of message we
need to project."
He liked being called Sir; I could tell.
Everytime I enter a place like Hanover Towers I take off my ID badge and
put it in my pocket. I project the image that I could just as well be
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Nobody's asked me yet what I do for a living. Nobody's asked me anything
yet but I'll tell you what my job is. I'm a photocopy machine repair
I work for a company that sells and leases photocopy machines. I better
not say their name. It's not Xerox, though
I used to do inventory and shipping but then I got transferred to customer
service. In customer service, I answered the phone and then I transferred
the caller to either a salesman or the service department or some place
About a year and half ago my job was eliminated by a phone menu that
came with our new phone system. So, I got transferred to onsite copier
When I found out about the transfer I told my boss I didn't know how to
repair copiers. I didn't even know how to use copiers. He said I could read
the manuals. I said I was in customer service. He said repair was a
service the customers would appreciate. I said I'm not good at repairing
things. He said, "Richard, you look like you could do just about anything."
He usually called me Mike.
I got the impression that I could take the new assignment or quit.
The next day I got a tool kit in a black leather bag which was a little bigger
than a brief case. Before I opened it, Marge called to tell me they were
expecting me over at a law office.
When I got there, everybody looked kind of busy. The receptionist pointed to
the room where they keep the copy machines. One of them had a paper
taped to it which read, "Out of Order." I took the paper off. I opened my black
bag and saw that it had about 100 tools including a little flashlight and a
little mirror attached to some flexible wire.
I pushed the Copy button on the machine and nothing happened except a
red light came on with the message, "Needs Service."
I didn't have any idea what to do so I just closed my bag and left and went
back to the office and waited to be fired. There were no more calls that day.
The next day I was expecting I'd get chewed out for not fixing the copier in
the law office but that didn't happen. They never called to complain.
I was called out on another job and pretty much did the same thing except
this time I opened the copier door and peered inside with the little
flashlight. I opened the bag, took out some tools, put them back, wasted
time, didn't do anything.
They didn't call either, or if they did, I didn't hear about it. If they called, it just
got reassigned to somebody else.
I spent some time looking at some manuals I found. If there's a paper jam,
you remove the paper. If it needs toner, you give it toner. The other stuff, I
don't know what they're talking about. I've given up on them.
Another day I got called to go to a place and I couldn't find it. It was very
frustrating, so I drove home and just sat in my kitchen. Around 4:30 I drove
back to work but there were no calls or messages.
That's pretty much how it's been going ever since. I show up, I don't fix
anything, I leave.
Sometimes there are people there who watch me and wait with an arm full
of papers they want to copy, but I've learned to piddle around in a slow and
boring way so they usually leave.
One time a woman asked me what was wrong and I said it didn't work and
she thought I was being smart with her and she didn't like it so I quickly
made something up. "There's a malfunctioning spindle release lever that's
impacting on a feeder gear. If I can't adjust it within specs, we'll have to
recalibrate the parameters."
"Will it take long?"
"That's what I'm here to find out."
That's not true, really. I was there to fix it. But since I can't fix anything, it
balances out somehow.
This can't go on forever, but I work for a large company and nobody seems
to care about much of anything except fantasy football and Fat Fridays,
what they call snack days.
I got my performance review just a couple months ago and all the boxes
were checked that said, "Meets Expectations."
Sunday, October 06, 2000
I haven't had lunch yet. I think I'll fix myself a cheese sandwich. I heard
Nixon's daughters were mad at each other. That's kind of sad, isn't it? I'm
supposed to see the doctor about my boil. I hope it doesn't hurt. The
mailman hasn't come yet. Or maybe he did and there was nothing. I'd ask
my neighbor but she's hard of hearing and when she asks me to repeat
what I said and I repeat it, she gives me a look of disappointment when
she finally understands. And then sometimes she just frowns and goes
back to watering her lawn.
Saturday, October 05, 2000
I guess there's going to be a war. Maybe I should get cable.
Friday, October 04, 2002
I guess I should clean the mold off the shower curtain today.
Thursday, October 03, 2002
My boss calls me Mike. Yesterday he caught himself and asked me how
long he's been calling me Mike. I shrugged my shoulders. My boss beat up
a guy in high school named Mike Wright. He was going to tell me about it
but stopped just as he started. He walked away and smiled and said that
things like that were hard to forget.
Wednesday, October 02, 2000
It was treat day at work today. Everybody is supposed to bring something. I
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Arnie, the 10 year old boy who lives next door, was attacked by Daisy, their
pit bull. I liked Daisy because she never barked. I say that in past tense
because they put Daisy to sleep.
Sometimes Daisy got out at night and ran around in my front yard. She was
huge and muscular and seemed to move in slow motion like those
scenes from Raging Bull. I saw her chase a German Shepard once. She
didn't even bother to bite her when she overtook her. She just knocked her
to the ground with her big head.
Arnie's face was bit up bad. His face has stitches all over the place and it
looks like a pre WWI map of Europe with Prussia and stuff like that. And it's
swollen too. He looks bad.
He came over to show me today. No, really it was his little brother who
brought him over to show me. "Look at Arnie's face!" Arnie turned it from
side to side so I could see it all.
I said, "Did it hurt?"
"When she bit you."
Longer silence. "Yes."
I don't know a lot about children, but I believe it's a good idea to always ask
them questions they're able to answer. So, I don't know why Arnie paused
when he did. It could be a result of the wound. Let's all hope for a speedy