Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Report: Day 35 

Yesterday was really a great deal of fun. I spent the day speaking in short declaritives. Staple this. Move over. Straighten that up. Push in your chair. Use a napkin. You get the idea.

I started right off the bus on my way in to work. "Hold my hand as we cross the street," I demanded of a very startled woman who happened to be crossing in the same direction I was. I thrust my hand out toward her and looked at her impatiently.

"What did you say?" she asked.

"I told you to hold my hand as we cross the street. And be sure you look both ways."

I wiggled my hand a little and groaned. She considered me carefully, this was Newark after all. Then she took my hand and, after carefully looking in both directions, guided me across the street. At that point any doubt about being able to pull this off completely evaporated.

I assigned a task to most everyone I saw yesterday. Most were reasonable, few were terribly demanding. I considered calling co-workers into my office to give them faxing or copying chores, but I decided to draw the line at treating the world like my secretary.

Some tasks were a little more unorthadox than others. At lunch time I stood outside the law school and barked the command, "run!" at a passing law student. I suppose my tone was particularly authoritarian as he immediatly complied and ran several steps before stopping, turning to glare at me, and finally composing himself.

It goes without saying that on a day like Give Little Tasks to Everyone Around You Day I would Benrick with The One True Love of My Life. I waited until late in the day, 3:00 p.m. or so. I walked up to her desk and said, "Stand up."

She immediately complied, smiling broadly and saying, "What you want?"

"Turn around," I said. She complied. "The other way now. Again. Put your hands over your head and do it again. Spin, baby, spin!"

"What is going on here?" asked a co-worker who was understandably confused by the One True Love of My Life spinning haplessly and in a less and less graceful manner.

"Don't ask questions," I demanded. No further questions were asked.

I turned my attention back to the One True Love of My Life saying, "Thank you. That's enough. Retake your seat now."

She sat down and swayed gently from the dizziness. She giggled helplessly, like a child after a carnival ride.

Other tasks were purely selfish. "Give me some gum," I demanded of a law student.

"I don't have any gum," she said.

"I really like gum. Your failure to comply with a simple task like 'give me some gum' is very disappointing."

She thought about it for a second and finally said, "I'll see if I can find some gum." About two hours later she reappeared with a stick of Juicy Fruit which she laid gently on the reference desk. I nodded in approval and she disappeared back into the stacks.

Today, God help me, is say nothing day.

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