Copy, Escher, Bach (You Copy?)


I’ve been educated in the finest Universities in preparation for this breakdown. Literate, patient, diligent. Fit for the cubicle. I will work hard for the Company. I will write winning copy. I won’t get up to pee, on company time, unless I really have to go. I won’t smoke. I’ll sit staid before my monitor. Grim determination. Won’t fidget. Write winning copy.

Advertisements, marketing, executive speeches and proposals. Inter-office memos. Company newsletters and PR.

I will rise with the sun. Better yet, I’ll beat it. I will shower, shave and lower myself like a diver into my suit. I will travel by bus and by train to the tall building that contains my station. I will leave my cubicle, from time to time, to attend meetings. I will participate in the meetings like a team-player, an eager worker, who wishes to communicate his ideas to others, to share ideas with others, to interact and cooperate with others in their communal effort to get things done.

What is to be done? We must create messages. Mission statements. Slogans. We must convey Executive concepts in clear, friendly, and when appropriate, witty language.

Lunch. I’m not hungry. I want beer. But I will not drink beer. Might slow me down. Perhaps a roll or a bagel and a bottle of seltzer.

I am no longer young. No cigarettes in the stairwell. That’s for kids. The go-getting, tireless young with their palm pilots and twelve hour days. Must I work twelve hour days? No. I will not work twelve hour days. I will work eight hours, like my predecessors. Still, with the commute, my day will amount to twelve hours. Eight hours in the cubicle, four hours on trains and buses.

But I will have my own station. A place to call home five (or more) days a week. How will I decorate this cubicle? With photographs of loved ones to remind me of…my reason for living? I love my wife. Perhaps, if we work hard, we will be able to afford children. I will place photographs of The Wife and Kids in the cubicle to remind me that the day will end, that I will be going home to loved ones.

I will work hard in my cubicle to help the Company earn value. But sitting all day, I might injure my back. Perhaps I will score a small amount of percocet from time to time. I will go home and do yoga. I will ride the stationary bike. I will meditate. If there is time left, I will try to write, though it will be difficult to pen my own ideas after typing the thoughts of the Company all day in my cubicle.

At last I will crawl into bed and read. But there won’t be much time for reading, for I must fall asleep early so that I may rise early to begin the journey to my station. Also, if we do have children, when they are very young they will wake me in the night. As they develop, I must spend quality time with them so they don’t feel neglected and grow up to be degenerates and cause me no end of grief in my declining years. Then again, these are my declining years, these years in the cubicle. How many have I left?

Maybe, after a time, if I write winning copy, the Company will move me to an office. My own office! In my office I will pace back and forth as I think hard for the Company. I must be creative and productive. After all, the Company allowed me my own office. They raised my salary. The health and well-being of my loved ones, the very roof over our heads, depends on the success of the Company, depends on my success within the Company.

But I will grow older, older, and the workers will grow younger and more vigorous. I will grow tired of pacing. I will lay down to rest on the nice couch in my office and snooze to Fugues and Cello Suites.

And then the vultures will descend. As they carry me away, I will remember life before the cubicle, a dream. I will remember memory itself, and desire. I will remember wanting. Nevertheless, I won’t miss seeing when the vultures tear away my eyes. I won’t miss knowing as they shuck my cranium like an oyster.

ADAM ENGEL reads you. Reads you. Copy. Copy. Over and out. Copy to asengel@attglobal.net

October 06, 2015
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