Jim woke up this morning and went to work like he always did. His arrival time was 15 minutes before the expected time of 8:30am, but this was not early for him, just everyone else. The hours of the day flew by as he stared at his computer screen, typing on the keyboard, clicking and scrolling with the wireless mouse he had won the previous January for perfect attendance. Jim won a new office gadget every year for this behavior.
The year before his supervisor had given him a framed motivational poster that featured a grizzly bear eating a fish. The caption read “Excellence is not a skill, it’s an attitude.“ The supervisor insisted that it was hung above Jim’s computer. He got a matching mouse pad as well.
The apartment where Jim lived was on 5th street in Covington. He preferred the Kentucky side of the river opposed to Cincinnati where his job was located because he was afraid of black people. No one ever knew this about Jim, because he didn’t know this about himself.
Every room in Jim’s apartment was spotless and decorated appropriately with pictures hanging on each wall of every room. Steam locomotives hung in the living room, birds of prey were poised in the dining room, cottages with smokey chimneys adorned the kitchen and 1965 Playboy Playmate Centerfolds were calling out in the bedroom. Jim didn’t like sleeping alone.
The dinner table had already been set from the night before. Jim would set the table every night after doing the dishes, always setting two places. In the 6 years he had lived there only two guests had ever joined him. The first was a man devoted to the cause of cleaning, carpets to be exact. Hoover is what he said in every sentence. Jim bought two.
The second guest, a blind date that a co-worker had set him up on three years ago. Jim thought she was pretty, but didn’t understand why she kept talking about her ex-husband. Jim didn’t like her because of her disapproval of his choice of dinning room decorations. He didn’t offer her dessert. This was the extent of Jim being an asshole.
As usual, Jim was eating alone this evening. Typically, he didn’t mind eating by himself, but today was the exception. The first Matrix movie had been on television last night and it got him thinking about his life and the choices he had made. According to his parents, guidance counselors in school and his supervisor at work, he had made all of the right decisions. Jim felt like he never had a choice. There was never a red pill/blue pill moment for him. He decided that tomorrow was going to be different.
Jim hurried up and finished his dinner only putting the dishes in the sink, passing on washing them and setting the table. Before he went to bed he neglected to straighten up the house. This was to be the start of his personal rebellion.
When the alarm clock went off the next morning Jim started his day as he always did. The clothes he was going to wear were laid out on his freshly made bed. He shaved, showered and got dressed for work. The commute was long and boring, but he still arrived 15 minutes early. The supervisor appeared in Jim’s office shortly after and said the same thing he always did.
“Good morning Jim. Ready for another great day at work?”
“Yes sir.” Jim replied staring at the fish being consumed by a grizzly bear.