Jan 19, 2015

    Desk jockeys are the 'most dangerous' folks

    MY PSYCHOTHERAPIST says I have "revenge addiction". I am so going to get the @$%@*& for that.

    Meanwhile, I just noticed that pretty much all office cubicles in the world have padded walls, just like lunatic asylums. Mine are a soothing beige-grey. There's a message there, right?

    One of my office neighbours says that people who sit at boring desks all day are actually the most dangerous folks in the world, because cramping the human spirit eventually leads to violent outbursts - which she says appears to be the theme of a new Hollywood blockbuster, The Accountant. I quickly added it to my list of Films Not To See.

    A Web search revealed that in this movie, Ben Affleck appears as an office worker who has a dull job during the day but kills people in his spare time. Clearly a clever blend of the average office worker's actual and imaginary lives, or at least mine.

    My colleague said she would be happy to watch Affleck sitting in an office as long as he ripped his shirt off. This would need a bit of creative licence - shirt-ripping-off doesn't happen much in modern offices, except during end-of-year parties, when it becomes mandatory.

    Actually, the central character in The Shawshank Redemption is an office worker who performs "live accountancy" during the movie.

    Look Who's Talking, so I read, is about an auditor whose newborn baby delivers wisecracks in the voice of Bruce Willis. I have not seen Look Who's Talking, as it is clearly a deeply disturbing horror film.

    My colleague reminded me that the main character in Moonstruck is an accountant, played by Cher, an actress who gives me the creeps, as she does not have a single wrinkle despite being a succubus of well over 200 years of age.

    Why do film-makers feel they have to give modern office workers secret lives to make us interesting? Our lives are already filled with tension and high drama.

    For example, consider the race against time when you have to shut down all your open Internet windows in the few seconds before your boss reaches your desk. Clickclickclickclickclick - my fingers move so fast that time and space are warped over my keyboard.

    And if they want good movie dialogue, they could just use standard office banter. I once had a boss who thought he was funny, and we had the following exchange over the office intranet system. Boss: "I need a laugh, can you send me a joke?" Me: "I'm doing some work." Boss: "That's not bad. Can you send me another?"

    And of course, there's drama. Last month, a guy in a cubicle 3m away from me had a screaming tantrum, swore at the boss and resigned, slamming the door.

    Usually, if there's a commotion, our heads pop up like those of prairie dogs. But this was a show of human emotion, so we sank deep into our cubicles, some of us probably right down to the floor.

    I was so shaken that I lost half a day's work.

    Fortunately, I do not have revenge addiction. But I might just get him anyway.