A Day on the Job By Chris Arnold

A Day on the Job

Chris Arnold

*Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!*

He reached over, looking for the snooze button that wasn’t there.  He really wished that he could just sleep a little bit longer, but knew as well as anyone that there was work to be done.  He just wished he could put it off a little bit longer.

*Beep! Beep! Beep! Be…*

With that he found the button and brought the alarm to a screeching halt. God, he wished that he had made it a more beautiful-sounding clock. Why couldn’t he have designed it to play some Tchaikovsky, Beatles, or maybe even his personal favorite, Eminem?  He liked all kinds of music, and instead he had configured it to have this lifeless drone.  It was certainly effective though, and he was in no mood to risk oversleeping.

He quickly made himself some coffee and headed to the kitchen to check the latest news.  He always found this to be a particularly sobering experience, and today was no different.  Just at a glance there were the deaths, all those thousands upon thousands of deaths that piled up every day.  He’d gotten used to it by now, didn’t cry knowing of all those men and women who died before their time like he had in the past.  There were more civil wars, more strife every day it seemed also.  There was hardly any good news of note, just more depressing stories, more muggings, and more people turning away from him.

Next he checked to see if anyone had left him a message.  More precisely, he was looking to see just how many messages he had been left. Somewhere in the billions it appeared, a pretty average day.  Everyone wanted to get a word from him, and he just didn’t have the time or the patience to handle it.  If he had tried to respond to every single request, he’d never get anywhere.  No, he’d just get another question before he even got through the next message.  At least he had his spam filter.  Blocking all of the calls from people just figuring they might as well throw his name around was one of his finest accomplishments.

While the mail had been bad, the news, predictably, was just as bad. Everyone just wanted him to fix all of their problems for them and a lot of the time the problem was mortality.  He could do nothing about that and got shivers every time that he heard from someone who had died since he last checked.  That was one of the reasons he typically broke his own policy, working overtime and not taking a day off.  Did he get any thanks for that, though?  Of course not. People wanted him, and they wanted him now.  He hated to let them down, but sometimes, he just needed to take a rest.

It was time to get down to business.  He couldn’t stand looking through all of the prayers the brown-nosers sent him.  It was always “merciful God” this, “almighty God” that.  Truthfully, sometimes he wondered whether he was either of those things.  And God?  Couldn’t they have come up with a better name?  He’d tried to tell Moses, but it had sounded so ridiculous that no one had used it anyways.  These days he liked to refer to himself as Sam.  He often changed his name depending on what was in fashion and just how he felt at that moment.

It was exactly at that moment that Sam knew precisely what he had to do.  He started small, making sure that cheaters would never prosper.  All the steroids users lost their “oomph”, the small market sports teams won the pennant, and every game of soccer, bowling, euchre, poker, jacks, Mario Kart, curling, and duck duck goose were played in such a way that those looking for unfair advantages found them mysteriously missing.  Life became much more fair all of a sudden.

Next, Sam gave everyone a dose of awareness and appreciation for others.  No more would anyone be in a bad mood after a long wait in line, as they would understand the employees were simply doing their job.  Children learned to share, bickering ceased, harmony was found.  Yes, any problems that arose were to be handled in a perfectly civil matter, without the use of force or legal action necessary.  And to top it off, a fool and his money were allowed to stay together.

This wasn’t enough to make people happy though.  Everyone, from the Prime Minister to Colombian drug lords to Joe Green of Tallahassee, Florida were given a unique and unrivaled skill.  For some, it was the ability to write prose the likes of which had never been seen, for some unrivaled persuasive skills, and for others simply the ability to make incredible sandwiches or tell others what their skill was.  Everyone had something, though, and everyone knew that they were the best at something.

Between the respect for others and self-respect which they had developed, everyone soon got along with their neighbors.  They knew that they had someone to count on, and knew better than to stress over the fact that this was nothing special.  They were completely happy with their situation, even if it was just like that of everyone else.  No one was left out. There was no prejudice, racial, sexual, age, or otherwise.  It was a wonderful culture.

Soon, all wars ceased.  All countries had to do was send an ambassador, and seeing the beauty and worth which he possessed, the opposing country would soon settle down and come to an agreement.  The nuclear weapons of the age were quickly destroyed, along with the handguns and knives that people had held on to for self defense.  A few weapons were kept for the slaughter of animals, but most of the weapons that were not destroyed stayed safely put away in a newly formed branch of the Smithsonian.

Without wars are politics to worry about, everyone soon turned to bigger issues.  Bikes became the norm, stopping global warming and saving the environment.  All over the world people received good wages that they could live off of.  Greed was unheard of, and corn and other foods were sent across the globe, ending world hunger once and for all.  The homeless were invited inside, and soon the streets were bare.

Everyone was perfect.  There was no longer neglect, premarital sex, unsafe living conditions, or any other vices.  No one ever wanted or got a divorce, and every crush led, not to heartbreak, but to true love.  People loved, loved one another as they loved themselves.  And this is to say a lot, as no one was ever self-loathing, or having any reason to hate himself. People did everything right.  They even took off for the Sabbath and got up in time for church without a horribly annoying alarm clock to wake them up.

What people could not control, Sam did.  While he had helped them to be better people they could neither withstand the force of a hurricane or stop disease from taking their lives from them.  Only he could make sure that Earth included a proper amount of rain to water the plants, rigged luck so that no one was ever disappointed, and a complete lack of anything harmful, so that no one should ever feel sorrow.  Dying of old age was simply a due course in the circle of life, with better things to follow, and no one could ever think of anything else to be disappointed by.  It was a utopia.

The best part was that everyone finally held inside of them an innate understanding of who God is.  They knew better than to suck up to him, but instead thanked him for what they had while showing respect, but also showing that he was not so far above them that they couldn’t talk to him like they would a human.  He held a relationship with all of them and, for once in his existence, God felt fully appreciated.

The only problem was that this perfect world, free of any of the pitfalls of life as you know it, was impossible.  Even for Sam, there are just some things that you can’t do.  This may seem unheard of, blasphemous, to many but when Sam made people in his image, he did something unimaginatively powerful.  By making humans little version of him, he made each and every one of them gods, capable of far more than they realized and unable to be programmed like a robot.

For instance, when God created people, he gave them his desire to do great things, to be a great person.  God knew that it was impossible to expect people to go through a game of scrabble without someone feeling disappointed.  No matter how successful someone is they are always looking for more success.  As long as someone is at the top, those below will wish they were there.  Even heaven, a place devoid of the violence and sickness which people hated, could not solve this problem.  Thinking back on Satan, the fallen angel, Sam felt sick in his stomach.

For another thing, not even Sam could change people’s minds for them.  Sure, he could look at every lustful thought, every greedy thought, everything, but the god in people did not allow him to turn lust into love.  Every human could think or do anything, and God could only watch and try to change their minds the same way anyone else does.  Free will was one of the aspects of living creatures which Sam often had second thoughts about.

Sam sighed, thinking of the demi-gods he had created.  He had made them long, long ago because Adam wasn’t the only creature to get lonely.  He had hoped that these humans would be something special, a unique and unparalleled bond.  They always turned him away though and, truthfully, Sam was rather lonely.  He envied Zeus, who could throw big parties on Mount Olympus with all of the other gods or could come down to Earth as a swan and hook up with one of the local women.  This is not to say that Sam was a pervert or was complaining in particular about his lot in life.  He just felt misunderstood and never really had a chance to just sit back and have a pleasant conversation.

This was the biggest problem he faced in his job.  Police officers and musicians alike have to deal with tough crowds, but people’s expectations of him were absurd.  He could never get over the fact that people regularly prayed for world peace or an end to poverty.  While these are certainly things Sam would have loved to have seen, it was not his job.  The people who prayed were infinitely powerful, having the ability to bring life into, or take out of, their world.  They were the ones who could do anything, but instead they spent more time praying and hoping than actually doing anything substantial himself.

Sam looked through his to-do list again, and it was as intimidating as ever.  Maybe he could help end hunger by making the weather perfect, stopping droughts for the time being and so forth.  He tried to avoid this.  After all, he had spent countless hours aligning the stars and the moon and all the other astronomical entities so that the Earth wouldn’t go plunging into a black hole after a year or two. It had been tiring work, inventing gravity and the other laws of physics, but now Earth had such precision that it had the right amount of sun, the right amount of rain, the right amount of oxygen.  No one ever appreciated this though.  Then again, even when he did directly step in these days the media was unwilling to admit his power.

Quickly Sam helped an African nation have one less thing to fight about with a rain shower to help the crops.  Still, knowing how little it was sent him into one of his existential states.  Sam couldn’t help but question his own existence.  Most people ask “why me?” when something horrible and seemingly incomprehensible happens to them.  For Sam that incomprehensible even was his origin.  He had no parent, no predecessor, and he had been thrown into the position of leader of the free universe.  He had no idea why he was like this, and the only other people he’d met were those of his handiwork.  Sam gladly would have stepped down from his position if he’d ever met someone to replace him.

Sam had made efforts, though.  The first of these attempts was with the great flood.  He was tired of how these humans knew nothing of him, and he wanted nothing to do with them.  He had tried, but in the end he knew that without humans, without Earth to watch over, he would have nothing. So instead of letting Noah starve (he had never expected him to actually build the huge ark in the first place), he brought food for them to eat into the deserted world.  He also left himself a reminder of how bad an idea it was with the emergence of the rainbow.  It served also as a sort of “sorry I wiped out your entire planet” card, but it was more for Sam than for the people.

The worst part of everything was that Sam knew there was nothing he could do about his situation.  He’d gone down to Earth once and done a little bit of his hocus-pocus.  He had shown everyone what a big deal he was and had hoped that, maybe now, people would believe in him.  Nope, those who did believe were too into his human form, never bothering to pray to the same god he did.  Most rebuked him, reviled him, and when possible ignored him.  It was a painful experience for Sam in more ways than one.

So there he sat, ruler of the universe, creator of all existence, powerless to make Earth the world it was meant to be.

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Photo by Rachel Dotson. © All rights reserved.

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