Monday, August 18, 2008

Joyous Return to Active Duty

There are times in life when one gets tired of doing the same thing day after day and wants a change of pace. When local officials asked for someone to help with a project they were working on "for a few days," I felt my opportunity had arrived to do just that. I happily volunteered and reported for duty. Little did I know that "a few days" was really 2 weeks.

There are times in life when one gets tired of having a change of pace and wants to get back to doing the same thing day after day. The project has been consuming my life and my soul for far too long (hence the absence of posts for the last 2 weeks), and it's good to be back.

I'm sure that many of you are curious as to what the project was. While I can't go into too much detail, a massive database was being compiled of super-criminals (super-criminal being defined as someone who uses abilities or powers beyond those of average criminals, which really isn't that hard when you think about it). The database itself was fairly straightforward - compile a list of current location, known contacts and security level of the penitentiary to which they were sent. I began with the ones who are currently incarcerated (approximately 1000 names), since we have somewhat more information on them (Current Headquarters: Algonquin penitentiary, Cell block D. Locations of known henchmen: Cell block C, etc.) This process took several days, but was completed without much incident.

Then they gave me the list of the supervillains who have escaped from imprisonment or are still at large. Not to alarm anyone, but this list contained no fewer than 2,000 names and, for obvious reasons, little was known about their current location and contacts. This part of the process involved over a week of painstaking, mind-numbing research. As the project neared completion, I asked the commissioner if he had any additional requirements. This was a mistake. He immediately gave me additional information to seek out. I finally finished with everything an hour before my deadline, 2 weeks after I began.

I used the word "mind-numbing" to describe this process. After the first 2 days on the project, I began falling asleep in front of the station computer. Realizing I needed something to keep me going, I discovered Pandora, a free online music site that lets you create your own online radio stations, using a "seed" of an artist or song, from which it derives certain stylistic points to create a station. I quickly created a station for musicals (using Alan Menken and Sir Arthur Sullivan as my main "seeds,"), another for stirring, dramatic orchestra music (using John Williams), and a station for slower, more haunting music (using Howard Shore).

These kept me going for about a week. But I soon found that, by the end of my shift going in to week 2, even the dramatic strains of the Star Wars theme were insufficient to keep me on my task. I finally resorted to something quite different. I realized that the only way I would be able to complete the project would be to shut out all thought and emotion beyond that needed to complete my task. With a trembling hand, I moved my mouse to the "genre" based station, seeking a numbing form of music and made a selection. Thus it was that for the last week of my task, I spent several hours each day listening to the whining, grinding beat of techno. Shutting out all thought, all feeling, I became a machine, my fingers moving in time with the droning sound. Selling a piece of my soul to the beat, I completed my task day by day. It's good to be back.


Derrill said...

"I thought you were going to say Rap. That stuff'd keep you awake."

As I read your as always dramatic entry to Joy, I quipped: I knew there was only one solution: ... Coffee! The super-villains had won.

"All office work is mind-numbing."

Oddly enough, I enjoy being a clerk and my data work as Economan, but as Joy points out in midsentence, "but you don't do it very long!" She is right, as always.

Maybe Justice Central should put the pictures of known super-villains on milk cartons with their various aliases.... ~Have you seen this student? You probably haven't because she's taking an online course that she hasn't finished. But if you see her in the real world, please have her contact...~

Grandma Jule said...

Every truly *great* Superhero has put in their time either cleaning or repairing Waste Extraction. It's like our Chief Captain said, You can't be the Greatest of all until you know what it is like to be the Least of all.

The wisdom you have gained from this monastic retreat will sharpen your powers of observation and make you a more effective Hero.

Good work, my Son!

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