3 Item Diary

Jerry was nervous, happy and anxious as he rode the elevator to see his new office. “This time, it will be fine. I can do this.” — said Jerry, as he awaited the bell to ring for the 7th floor, and finally, it did.

As the door opened, before his eyes stood a very designer, very lean management, very colorful office. He just stood there and watched as the stylish people walked around with papers in their hands. Jerry has always been very observant and found it bit peculiar that a software company would have so much paper to carry around.

Suddenly there was an arm shaking, deal making, confident walking, million dollar smile, causal suite, crazy tie wearing man approaching Jerry. He was no doubt the boss. “You must be Jerry.” said the boss-man while extending his greeting arm. “My name is Gregory and I’m in charge of making the people on this floor feel as comfortable as possible, no exceptions. If there is anything you need to fulfill your purpose here, just let me know and we will make it so, haha.” Jerry didn’t like the way he said and used the word purpose, and he found it odd the he had presented himself more as his maid then his boss.

While Gregory continued his perfectly crafted friendly speech, he noticed that all the smiling paper carrying people that were passing by didn’t even look at him or noticed him. “I’m reading too much into this” — Jerry repeated in his mind. Gregory was just about wrapping up his speech that featured the keywords friendly, family, loving, happy, home and purpose.

Gregory finally showed him his office. It looked stunning. It was very colorful, featured a lot of light, had just the right amount of boxy playfully but not to playfully colored furniture to counter the rounded furniture. In the middle, there was a big white oval desk with colorful drawers. The walls were filled with shelves that had random toys, boxes and books, the kind that looked pretty on shelves, not the kind you read or use very often. Everything about it screamed perfect, screamed …purpose. Even Gregory, as he was showing Jerry the room was standing in a perfect position to complete the golden ratio of composition within Jerry’s gaze. It’s as he knew where Jerry would be standing and looking beforehand.

Finally, Gregory leaves. Jerry follows his first instinct and smacks himself across the face as hard as he can. “Good. It hurts. It’s not a dream, the matrix, inside of a video game, a painting, a little boy’s mind, or a story, right?” — said Jerry with the pain on his face slowly reassuring him it was as real as it gets. “Okay, got my shit together.”

Jerry walked around the room to take it all in for a few minutes, and before he knew it he was already sitting at his new desk working. Jerry was a UX designer and his job was to craft interfaces for the company that are both beautiful, simple and purposeful. He was very observant, had a good eye for style and constantly thinking of the bigger picture, constantly trying to improve things, constantly asking about the purpose of things. This job was made for him.

A few weeks had gone by and each day he would find new things suspiciously perfect with his work environment.

One day he noticed that all the seemingly boxed furniture in his office were slightly off and crooked so that they would all point to his desk. As if the room was telling him to work more. Upon trying to reverse this unsettling fact, Jerry noticed that the furniture was bolted to the floor.

Another day he actually needed one of the pretty books, and upon returning it he rearranged the shelf to his liking. The next day they were once again arranged as he was never there. Jerry thought about complaining about this to Gregory, but it seemed so unimportant and trivial, so void of purpose, that he decided not to.

Another day he noticed that while he was stuck with a problem for a while, his chair started to get annoyingly uncomfortable, so he started to walk around the room and this simple change of pace helped him figure out the solution. “This chair is uncomfortable on purpose!” — Jerry shouted as he marveled from a UX perspective the perfect amount of discomfort his chair provided.

Another day he noticed that all the light in his office that came in through the windows or by indoor lighting never shed a photon on the door leading out of his office, as if not to remind him to leave. Jerry tried to reflect some sunlight to the door by opening a window, but the windows were bolted shut.

Jerry grew ever more and more troubled day by day. He didn’t just notice things anymore, he would seek them out.

One day while coming to work Jerry purposefully bumped into one of the stylish paper carrying people knocking all the paper out of their hand. Jerry would then presume to help them pick it up, but then he lost it “Why are you carrying around stacks of blank paper?!” No one even took notice of his outburst. Jerry then proceeded to forcefully knock out the paper of two more people. “IT’S ALL BLANK!!!” — Jerry screamed. No one answered.

Out of nowhere, Gregory appeared behind him. Jerry hasn’t seen or heard Gregory for months now. “Why are they carrying around blank paper? We’re a fucking software company!!” — Jerry yelled. Gregory just proceeds to the take Jerry back to his office in a calm friendly fashion as if saying with his body, there is nothing to see here folks.

“Melinda was taking the paper to the art room. Terrance was taking the paper to the copy room. And Hanna was doing it for fun I think, she’s just weird that way, haha” — said Gregory jokingly, “Is there anything else you need Jerry, something to make your stay more comfortable?”. “But but …all the other people….No I’m fine, thank you” — said Jerry pouting, almost like a child. “You know Jerry, you do excellent work, very purposeful, very stylish and very brilliant. Our last UX designer was just like you, but he left us after two years. I guess he knocked up a hooker in Brazil and moved there, haha. I know you can be better, we have great hopes for you. You might even knock up three hookers, haha” — said Gregory and left as quick as he appeared.

“It has been a year since Jerry started working on our floor, it is safe to say that he is now part of our family. He is no longer just a weird visiting cousin, he is now our brother we share drugs with, haha” — said Gregory at the yearly office party. Jerry didn’t make a sound, he just nodded with the fakest smile he could muster. Soon he left home.

Jerry doesn’t notice things anymore, he just smiles and carries paper where ever he goes. “I might need it, to jot down new ideas” — he says to himself, but he never does.

One day he decides to use the paper he carries around. He writes down a list of things that have been on his mind:

1. Life has no purpose.
2. I have no purpose.
3. This place has a purpose, to make me feel 1. and 2.

Jerry thinks to himself, “A bit suicidal much?”, but he was never really good at halfhearted jokes. Jerry then gets up from his uncomfortable chair looking for a place to put his list in. He settles on a red box on the shelf. He never opened it before, it was just there, filling the room undoubtedly with purpose to make him work more. But it was already full of paper.

It was a stack of lists, the top one read:

1. How to kill yourself?
2. Bolted windows, bolted furniture to break windows, haha, I’ll use my head.
3. Bye bye fucking blank paper people

As Jerry realized that this must have been made by the previous UX designer, he was propelled to read through it all. He felt his life depended on it. “At long last, a light of sanity in this insane orderly office!” — He screamed with joy.

The box was filled with similar devious lists, each one a bit milder than the one before, like a progression of madness ending in suicide. As Jerry went through the lists, agreeing with most of them, as each one echoed through his being as a truth about this place he had always known, he finally arrived at the first note that started this 3 item diary.

It read:

1. Life has no purpose.
2. I have no purpose.
3. This place has a purpose, to make me feel 1. and 2.
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