The Accolade: A Dialogue

On the second drink Merritt began whispering along with the jazz song that was being cried in the pub. He burst into tears by the heart-touching moaning of the trumpet.

BARMAN: What’s the matter, mate?

MERRITT: They are going to take my job from me!

BARMAN: What? Why?

MERRITT: My life depends on this job… God!

BARMAN: Easy, pal. Tell me. Why are they going to fire you?

MERRITT: Because I’m doing my job perfectly!

BARMAN: I don’t follow.

MERRITT: They hired me for a short-term project. I signed a four months contract yesterday. They assume it would take that much time to finish the project.

BARMAN: You have the job for almost four months, then.

MERRITT: Only if I don’t do my job! After I signed the contract, they told me more details about the project. So, I slept on it for a day. Today I examined every aspect of the project to plan an approach. My plan was not appealing to me.

BARMAN: Why is that?

MERRITT: I can finish it in two weeks.

BARMAN: What’s wrong with that? You can do the job, get the money, and go for another project.

MERRITT: Come to this world, man! Do you know the pain one has to undergo to become aware of the fact that one is capable of doing something so quick and efficient beyond imagination of the shallow-minded employer? No, it is not pain! It’s death of a hope for a tranquil life!

BARMAN: Calm down. You should be proud of your abilities!

MERRITT: Why? They don’t serve me well. They are damaging me in every possible way.

BARMAN: You have skills. Only a fool won’t pay a good price for them.

MERRITT: All right! I can manage your bar so well that your expectations need to climb higher and higher every single day to balance my potentials. I can make this pub heavens for drunks and sleepwalkers. Will you hire me?

BARMAN: This is a small pub. I don’t think it would need the best barman in the world. Besides, what tales are going to be told? “The barman was so useless he gave his place to a virtuous man full of potentials.” No. Things are fine the way they are.

MERRITT: You are managing to come to this world. It wasn’t joyful to find out that I can finish the project in a matter of two weeks. It was quite upsetting. The entire day I sat behind my desk with eyes full of sorrow, and thought to myself, I am but a fraud if I don’t do the job. I shall be but poor if I do the job.

BARMAN: Do the job, is what I say.

MERRITT: Will they grant me knighthood for my efficiency? No! They’ll just say, “Thank you. We no longer require your service. And unfortunately, we can’t pay you as much for the little work you have done.”

BARMAN: That’s unjust!

MERRITT: Do you know the metric one’s productivity is measured by? The number of hours one sits behind a desk at the office!

BARMAN: That’s rubbish! One can simply show up, and do no work of any value.

MERRITT: Right! But what about deadlines?

BARMAN: They could pretend they are working.

MERRITT: And can you guess how many people work at the office?

BARMAN: 20? 30?

MERRITT: More than 70! Most of them are friends and relatives. Imagine being an outsider among gangs that govern every corner of the office.

BARMAN: That’s no place for a man of capacity.

MERRITT: Wait. You haven’t heard me yet. The place is so crowded and noisy that it chokes you to insanity in the middle of the working day. However, peace rules the office in the last few hours, because everyone is tremendously exhausted that they cannot even talk to each other, which is what they would normally do.

BARMAN: What would they do, instead?

MERRITT: Check the clock every minute until it hits 5 p.m. While I was taking notes today, I heard some colleagues saying goodbye. I thought, It must be 5 p.m. now. I raised my head from my notebook only to discover that I was alone in the office.

BARMAN: As though the door only opens at 5 p.m.

MERRITT: “We are free to go! We can all flee now!”

BARMAN: So, you should just do what they do. Show up every day, and do the work for around an hour. Your work will then be finished by the end of the contract.

MERRITT: That appears to be the only way to keep my job and hope for a life of no starvation.

BARMAN: But that’s not right.

MERRITT: Exactly! I’ll never be able to sit in solitude with my soul if I take that path of unright. Therefore, I shall resign.

BARMAN: Better be poor and have a merit soul.