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Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris

Little, Brown and Company, March 1, 2007

Don’t know do you? Could be your colon. Could be cancer. Could be your credit card balance. Might possibly be a fat gun shoved up your dismal ass. Or perhaps hedge fund buyers flying down the slick office buildings of space? But when it comes (and oh, baby, it will) it won’t be beautiful or glorious or ringing or holy or even cloudy tunnels of denture-cream white. It will just be the end. Basta! It’s the middle that really counts. And you better hope that doesn’t suck. ’Cuz all good things come to an end (in the end). Even this touching and hilarious first novel.

It was madness to leave without your useless shit. You came in with it, you left with it—that was how it worked. What would you use to clutter a new office with if not your useless shit? Old Brizz with his box of useless shit, shifting the box from arm to arm as he talked with the building guys. Of course, Old Brizz never had an office again. His useless shit really was useless. He had cause to leave his useless shit behind. But his was a rare case. All things considered, it was better to take your useless shit with you.

We all take our jobs, ourselves, our friends and family, our customer care service agents, way, way too seriously. Why? Because we think this happy crap lasts forever! Like Ferris’s characters we live in a world where we think we are creative (not), bright (not), sexy (definitely not) and work in tall and glorious office spaces (in reality holes separated by smelly carpet). We are immortal! We drink vanilla decaf-with-a-bath-and-a-half. We eat chocolate onion bagels. We gossip behind each other’s backs stealing blue meds and sanitary napkins. We are assistant managers and junior managers, senior senior managers. We are VPs and FTP servers. CFOs. CEOs. Ho Hos. We rent parking spaces! But oh my God! We’re really all gonna die! So why get so upset about it? There are layoffs, ripoffs, jackoffs “walking Spanish down the hall.” We are all dead, so get off the Windy City madness now brother while you can. Join the Navy! Check into a motel! Hitchhike to Kansas! Start that wheat germ farm in Oregon with that freaky art student from community college like you always wanted to. It’s just a job! Just a life! Just a ditsy dot in the “i.” So, go on, get out of here! Every sentence has its period so why get stuck in this one? But please don’t forget to laugh along the way.