Dying In The Office

Some truth is on display in the office, particularly in the unhealthy lifestyles of your prole coworkers. You hear their stories of drinking binges, entertainment binges, and utter neglect of physical activity they know is destroying them. There’s no way to hide the results on plain display to all. They are wheezing pictures of wrecked people who have renounced their connection with the physical world, and you help subsidize their health insurance to keep them alive a few years longer at group expense.

You notice as they hit their forties and fifties that some are morbidly obese, walk with limps, have wheelchairs, are diabetic, or depend on dialysis. Given a large enough office, some will die while employed, for which your workplace typically pays a handsome reward of a year or two salary to whatever family relation remains.

Death in the office is handled with modern detachment that accepts without time for reflection.

A manager will send out email informing everyone of the death, expressing sadness, and conveying the family’s wishes. There’s no opportunity or reason to pause for contemplation, so this email seems like dozens of others received that day, except better because it requires no action or reply. For a split second, each employee coldly realizes their own death would be similarly insignificant in the workplace and the world, yet must go on spending their time doing the irrelevant. Some of them used to have dreams and passion.

People make the polite comment at how we all will miss the fellow, yet no one is really devastated or surprised. The same work has to be completed, or faked and kicked down the road. They might put up pictures from previous office parties to remind everyone of the great time spent together with the deceased in the office working on pointless tasks.

No one’s death at the office slows anything down. The dysfunctional machine resiliently runs on automatic because it has no particular purpose, and hopefully the paychecks keeps arriving so credit card bills can be paid.

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