Rest

Agent Tattletale, he says, “Americans are the world’s best at doing their work.” And studying and competition. But we suck when it comes time to relax. There’s no profit. No trophy. Nothing at the Olympic Games goes to the Most Laid-Back Athlete. No product endorsements for the World’s Laziest anything. His camera eye on auto-focus, he says, “We’re great at winning and losing.” And nose grindstoning, but not accepting. Not shoulder shrugging and tolerance. “Instead,” he tells himself, “we have marijuana and television. Beer and Valium.” And health insurance. To refill, as needed.

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He leaves a message — a yellow sticky on the dead black of his computer screen "Gone to lunch. I may be some time". His colleagues won't be seeing him for the rest of the afternoon. Rare joy of truancy, of bold escape from the trap of work. That heap of typescript can be left to dwell on its thousand offences against grammar and good sense. His trusty blue pen can snooze with its cap on. Nobody will notice.

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