Copyright 1994 by Robert L. Gidley. All rights reserved.
This is how I spend my days, sometimes. This piece is a little too choppy and never really finds its focus. Plus, it's not very funny, so it's no wonder nobody paid me for it.
When you work for yourself, you quickly discover just how many ways there are to avoid working. When you're a regular employee, there's always somebody (boss, supervisor, guy with a whip) to motivate you to work ("Yo! Ever see a pink slip?").
When you work for yourself, however, you find that not only do you hold the whip, but you also beat the drum, row the oars, and steer the boat.
As a result, you notice that the deck needs scrubbing, and you really can't go anywhere with a dirty deck, so you abandon all that rowing and steering and beating and whipping and clean up that nasty-looking deck. Once that's done, you feel confident that you are ready to sail into any waters, just as soon as you clean up the sails a little bit.
I start my work day staring at the computer screen for a few minutes trying to figure out what I want to do, when I notice that my keyboard is dirty. Of course, it's been dirty for the last two years, but I just now noticed. At first, I decide to clean just the really dirty keys and then get right back to work.
After I finish them, however, I notice how nice and shiny they look, and how dull and drab the other keys look by comparison, so now I need to clean the rest of the keys. Before you know it, the entire keyboard is nice and shiny.
Then I notice some gunk underneath the keys, so I decide to take the entire keyboard apart. This is a fun project, because I can pretend the circuit board inside the keyboard is a big city and I'm driving a little tiny car all around it, and try to find a road that goes all the way through.
This takes me up to lunch-time, and after all the hard work cleaning the keyboard, I really need to have a nice relaxing lunch.
After lunch, I yawn and realize that I'm tired and a nap would sure feel good about now. If I worked for somebody else, I wouldn't dream of stretching out on the office couch after lunch and catching a few winks. Among other things, it would be way too noisy, with people talking, phones ringing, and folks checking to see if I were dead so they could move into my office.
Since I work for myself, however, it's pretty easy to snooze for a while. I find that regular napping like this lets me stay wide awake at night worrying that I'm not making any money.
Then it's back to work, but look — the mail's here and I'm right on it. First I sort the envelopes according to importance and gaze at the nice neat stacks that I made. Then I sort them by originating zip code, which gives me a geographical display of where my mail is coming from.
I've already killed ten minutes and I haven't even begun opening them yet. The junk mail is the most fun (and certainly less depressing than the bills), because they always stick in lots of stuff to read. I especially like the Publisher's Clearing House, because you get all those neat little stamps with pictures of magazines on them.
First, I can decide which magazines I would order if I were actually going to order them ("Hmm, Tire Iron Monthly or Ferret Facts?").
Then I can take the little stamps and paste them onto pieces of paper and make little drawings with them ("Look, a dinosaur made from magazine stamps!").
On a good day, I can stretch the mail into an hour-long project.
Okay, the keyboard is nice and clean, I'm rested, and the mail is sorted, opened, and read. So, now I'm finally ready to get down to work and — oh my goodness, it's five o'clock! Well, time to go home. But tomorrow, I'll get an early start on things and I should have that project done by noon!
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