yolo vs golden handcuffs paradox

returned from bathroom.

noted other financial analyst not wearing jeans.

felt strange that other financial analyst has not worn jeans since dress code officially relaxed.

wondered if i would dress better regardless of dress code if i had four or more kids to feed.

felt comforted by the crinkling sound of the wrapper that the other financial analyst’s breakfast came from.

thought: he’s like, goddamned 37 and practically eating frosted flakes.

other financial analyst said: “did you have to bust out the dog sled team to get down the mountain this morning?”

he says this every time it snows.

he smiles every time he says it.

he probably said this and smiled 42 days last year.


noticed headline on google reader: “Going To McDonald’s For An Apple Is Like Going To A Hooker For A Hug.”

felt confused that an alt-finance blog was saying that “the elites” didn’t want us to go to mcdonald’s.

thought it was more common to complain that “the elites” want to keep us dumb and stupid (including “fat” somewhere in the dumb/stupid continuum).

realized article just saying you should have the right to eat at mcdonald’s.

thought about how i eat a whole digiorno’s pizza by myself approximately once every two months.

felt ok about the article’s existence but did not finish reading it.


female-accountant-who-is-over-enthusiastic-about-professional-sports said: “oh my gosh, good morning, jacob.  you slipped by me unnoticed.  you’re good at that, aren’t you?”

said good morning without looking away from computer.

thought: why is she making such a big deal about saying good morning?

thought: if she didn’t use that tone, i don’t think i would be annoyed right now

thought: should that annoy me?

thought: maybe she thinks she’s being normal and that i’m being a dick.

thought: i should not be a dick.

thought: i should be nicer to the other financial analyst and judge him less.

thought: he works harder than i do and is generally in a better mood and nicer to people.

thought: try to be thankful.


tried not to watch cute girl from accounting walk by my desk because she’s married and i have some vague notion that she can tell and i have some vague notion that “the people” have a right not to be watched.

thought: goddamn.


resent that the administrative assistant passively demanded that we all go watch the THANK YOU DRAWING by having once expressed in an “open” meeting that it makes her feel like she’s failing at her job when we don’t participate in her “fun day” activities.

thought: i would rather not work by reading articles on the internet than by watching a THANK YOU DRAWING.


felt clever for thinking: “don’t tell me what to do” when microsoft excel displayed an error-box that said: “This operation requires the merged cells to be identically sized.”

smiled for a little bit.

thought of it as a program flaw when it took more than three attempts to paste the values.

thought: “jesus fucking christ i will kill you” when it took more than four attempts to paste the values.


found sales report sent last month.

copied and pasted email to new window.

replaced “November” with “December.”

attached updated file.



noticed most people wearing black.

felt comforted.


felt annoyed that the administrative assistant sent email thanking everyone for coming to THANK YOU DRAWING.


[deleted a sentence about django unchained and race]


heard cute girl from accounting talking to girl from collections about how she will be quitting her job and moving to colorado for her husband’s career in the military.

imagined myself telling said husband that i am approximately an anarchist in some type of situation where he is trying to get me to say the pledge of allegiance or something.


female-accountant-who-is-over-enthusiastic-about-professional-sports kept using loud voice to thank russian accountant for idea to reorganize work flow.

russian said that it is no problem and seemed “fucking annoyed.”

felt positive feelings about russian accountant.

felt like russian accountant was wearing black at a THANK YOU DRAWING.


received schedule of monthly finance director’s meetings.

relieved i would not be responsible for running a finance director’s meeting until october.

debated whether it was good or bad that i am the youngest person invited to said meetings by at least 10 years.

debated whether i should make a goal to not be working in a finance department by october.

debated whether i am ungrateful for my job or a coward for not quitting.

thought: try to be thankful.


female-accountant-who-is-over-enthusiastic-about-professional-sports said: “so, as financial analysts, what are you guys working on now?  budgets?”

pretended not to hear question.

other financial analyst said: “budgets are done.  we try to do all of that within the fourth quarter.”

sports-enthusiast said: “so, what?  are you guys like, reconciling our reported revenue to the sales database?”

thought: where the fuck did she come up with that?

other financial analyst said: “right this second, i’m putting together a January forecast for [name of sub-company].”

sports-enthusiast said: “and that’s going to take you all day?”

thought: i’m going to spend my day reading as many muumuu house articles as i can possibly get a way with.

other financial analyst said: “no.  i need to spend some time working on a commercial bid spreadsheet.  now whether i can will depend on what kinds of reports people ask for in the next few hours.”

sports-enthusiast said: “so you must be really good at excel, huh?”

other financial analyst said: “as a financial analyst, you live and die in excel.”

thought: blood and fuckery on both your houses.


russian accountant made stress noises and said things like: “what zey heck is zis?”

felt fucked.

thought: doesn’t she realize that other people will pick up on her negative energy?

thought: fuck.

thought: is my facial expression routinely more negative than neutral?


felt sunlight through window.

asked jack on gchat: “do you think you could ever just farm all day? just like, garden and kill things for a living. off the land.”

got annoyed when jack replied he didn’t think he really could.

told jack i would like to live in a van for a while.


got slightly annoyed that jack sent a grantland article he would expect me to read called “I Suck at Football, Week 18: Nolo Contendere” that was about writing even though it was about football.

used the term “meta” in reply.

sent jack “10.03.08 GMAIL CHAT // JAMIE STERNS & TAO LIN” and asked what he thought.

started reading grantland article and felt bad.

told jack the article was neat and that i was not trying to be condescending but really wanted to know what he thought of the gmail chat as a column/poem/art.


stroked beard.


ornery-old-lady-accountant who used to own an apartment in the complex i live in said that this is such a small world because she just met someone else in the company who grew up just an intersection away from where she used to live in monterey, california.

i suggested perhaps the world was a dream and everyone populated in it had to come from somewhere that she’s already been because those are the only places she knows to say that people are from.

she asked the girl in collections where she is from.

before collections girl said anything the lady said: “nope, i’ve never been to nicaruaga.”


russian accountant watched videos of her granddaughter perform (again).

the children sang some kind of song that sounded sweet-but-doomed.

the children sang in russian/harsh gibberish.

the russian cooed a lot.

seemed like she wanted to cry.


read steve roggenbuck interview where he says he tries to set a goal and draw a straight line there.

thought: sorting out whether the wages of “our” employees had been expensed to the right divisions was the most boring thing i have ever done in my life.

felt guilty about not drawing straight lines.

remembered i was going to die.

told jack via gchat about roggenbuck interview.

jack talked about seeing a guy with an extremely expensive ferrari yesterday and wanting one pretty badly.

remembered time when jack humble-bragged about interview with current corporation where interviewer complained that the worst part of their company was that they would get you with the “golden handcuffs.”

thought about typing that to jack but jack typed he had to present his plan to cut 1,200 jobs next year and signed off.


stroked beard.


noticed other financial analyst did not have any spreadsheets open on his big screen and was just reading an article on the little screen.

thought: why the fuck doesn’t this guy just leave work already?

thought: is he waiting for me?

thought: is this some type of power play?

thought: could he, like, want to be friends?

thought: we’ve never even had lunch.

thought: fuck this autistic weirdo.

thought: is he avoiding his wife and kids?


other financial analyst went to bathroom.

looked around room.

thought: we’re the only two left.

noticed his computer had a blue screen that said: “Please do not power off or unplug you machine.”

noticed other financial analyst returning from bathroom.

opened another spreadsheet and moved to little screen to cover google reader.


heard other financial analyst put on jacket.

heard other financial analyst say: “well, i think it’s about quittin’ time.”

other financial analyst walked approximately three steps to my desk and rested his computer bag on edge of desk.

other financial analyst asked about my niece, whether i skied over the weekend, and whether i put any money on the iu game.

other financial analyst said: “well, i’m heading out of here.”

grinned and waited approximately three seconds before other financial analyst actually left.


started to “vroom” around turn while watching cop in my rear view mirror who had pulled someone over.

failed to see rock in road.

hit rock and tire made exploding noises.

smoke and dragging and stuff.


pulled out spare tire and “the key” and lugnut or whatever and looked for car jack.

could not find jack.

called dad to see if it could be possible that i didn’t have a jack.

dad told where to search and check and there was no jack.

kept checking and closing the compartments and rechecking and hoping that “this time” i would notice something new that led to a jack.

cop pulled over ahead of me.

backed up closer with lights on.

got out.

turned corner around my car in a manner i associated with video games; ready to “shoot at a moment’s notice.”

pointed flashlight at me.

pointed flashlight at my trunk.

at me.

at trunk.

told dad would call him back and hung up phone.

cop said: “are you ok?”

i said: “yeah, but i have a flat tire and i guess i don’t have a jack.”

cop said: “you don’t have a jack?”

showed cop all the places a jack could be and he agreed i did not have a jack.

cop said: “are you going to be ok?”

i said: “yeah.  i am going to call my brother.  i assume he has a jack and can bring one.”

cop said: “ok.  i’ll be back in an hour or so to check on you.”

called brother.

brother said he was in mexico for work.

asked if cop was also missing a jack.

i asked what?

he asked why the cop didn’t just let me use his jack.

got upset at cop.

brother’s wife alone with newborn.

would take “a while” to get to me.

imagined baby crying.

called tow truck company to bring a jack.


thought about how $88 would be a lot to me if i were a writer, but was nothing really as a financial analyst.

felt extra conflicted on whether i could be a writer.

thought: well, i wouldn’t have to call a tow truck if i made some friends and had more than two people to call about bringing a jack.

thought: goddamnit.

thought: fuck me.

thought: it is okay.  you are okay.  you did not die.  you have have plenty of food to eat.  you will be a good person someday with friends and a way to make a living that you enjoy.  you will spend most of your day working on things that interest you.


tow truck arrived about an hour later.

tried to be thankful.

felt guilty for not naturally being thankful.

tried not to feel guilty.

tried to be thankful.

Posted in Matt, Really Serious Literature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>