Smith Jones, Head of the Department of Sloth, burst into the Chief Sluggard's office at the speed of a sleeping tortoise. He had a newspaper in his hand, and he strode up to the desk of John Smith the Chief Sluggard, waving it around.
"What's this?" he demanded, slamming the paper down on the desk.
"Er, it looks like a job-ad to me," said the Chief Sluggard, looking at it. It did indeed look like a job-ad:
The Department of Sloth, reporting to the Association of Lazy People, will shortly be requiring the services of an IDLER in our offices.
Duties will include:
- General acts of layaboutness
- Doing abso-bloody-lutely nothing.
This position would be ideal for dole bludgers who have had no practical experience at working in the office environment, and it has a generous pay package.
John Smith, Chief Sluggard, reporting to the Apathy Committee, has details about the position. Don't bother applying. The job will go to the best person to not apply.
"I know, but what the hell's it doing there?" demanded Smith.
"Not very much," conceded the Chief Sluggard, grinning sheepishly.
"Not very much? NOT VERY MUCH? It's doing much-to-much, if you ask me!" shouted Smith. "Mr. Sluggard, may I remind you that we are both paid by the Department of Sloth, and that this ad represents a shocking rise in levels of productivity! Not only have you made work for yourself, but you threaten to make work for somebody else, as well! This is a shocking breach of the ethics of our institution!"
"Well, no offense, Smith, but I couldn't help myself!" said the Chief Sluggard defensively.
"And why not?" growled Smith, crossing his arms angrily.
"Well.. you see ... sitting around here, doing nothing all day long ... it gets kind of ... boring!"
"That's no excuse!"
"Well, I know that I'm not really supposed to do anything, but this just kind of ... happened..."
Smith glowered at the Chief Sluggard for a second, and then said, "Mr. Sluggard, do you realise what this means?"
"What?" frowned the Chief Sluggard.
"Well, here at the Department of Sloth, we have developed a very large, complicated way of not doing things, of having tasks unachieved and of having jobs uncompleted. We have developed a bureaucracy which is admired the world over, and I'm proud to say that our pay-to-productivity ratio is the highest in the entire world! We are all paid ridiculously large amounts of money for doing As Little As Possible, and I'd like to keep it that way. But by employing this person, you risk everything! Why, it could create dangerous levels of productivity in our offices never seen before!"
"Ah!" said the Sluggard then, winking at Smith. "I see the difficulty you're having. But don't worry! I have a clever plan to head off any further activity in our organisation before it begins!"
"And what is that?"
"Well, it's true, we've already not received thousands of non-applications from plenty of unworthy non-workers. But ..."
"Well, I couldn't be bothered reading any of them, anyway. It is my job, after all!"
Smith sat there at the desk with a stunned look on his face. If you had been standing in the middle of the Sahara desert and somebody had come up and hit you across the jowls with a wet-herring I imagine you might have had a similar look on your face. Eventually Smith composed himself, assumed his customary frown, and said,
"Er... that's brilliant, John!"
"I know!" smiled the Chief Sluggard.
"That's the most effective way of not achieving anything that I've ever heard! You'll raise the standards of unproductivity around here no end!"
"Thank you!" he grinned.
"Keep up the non-work!" said Smith.
And with that, he stormed out of the office again, pausing only to do nothing for an hour or so, just to maintain the standards of idleness and shriftlessness around here, before slamming the door behind him with the force of an athletic amoeba.
John Smith, in the meanwhile, folded his hands upon the desk before him and fixed his eye upon the wall for a day. It was difficult, this doing nothing, but somebody didn't have to do it, and that somebody might as well not be him.
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