You ever hear of that “first hundred days” thing that the press always talks about when judging a new President? I think it’s ridiculous. The guy has four years to show us what he’s got, but for some reason the first hundred days gets its own milestone. Why? Because one hundred is a nice round number? Anything to make a headline I guess.
I wish that I could be judged in a similar way. If word got out that the first hundred words of everything that I wrote were the best, then I could just concentrate on writing one hundred really great words, and then I’d phone it in for the rest of the essay, piece, article, whatever it is you want to call this stuff that I put up every day.
Or at work. From now on I’m going to put all of my effort into the first one hundred minutes of a shift. After that I’m going to hang out in the kitchen and eat ice cream for the rest of the day. I actually do that a lot. Most of the time I’m a pretty hard worker. I’m always in and out of the kitchen, checking on my tables, making sure everything is OK. But with one exception: when my staff meal comes up, I don’t care what it is I should be doing. I always stop right where I am and eat. Honestly, if I can’t enjoy a plate of food in the middle of a crazy workday, I’d rather quit. I’d rather be homeless. So if you’re waiting on a side of fries and I promised I’d be right back but you haven’t seen me for a while, I’m either dead or finishing up my sandwich. In either case, keep your shirt on.
You want to know another one of my little restaurant tricks? Every time somebody asks me how many of something comes in an order, like how many chicken wings, or how many shrimp dumplings, I always answer with one less. It doesn’t list how many come on our menu, so you have no way of knowing if I’m telling the truth or not. Then I wait for your order to come up in the kitchen and I eat the difference. Please, don’t act all offended. Chances are you’re only going to leave me a twelve percent tip anyway. And come on, if one of your friends at the table asked you to try your food, you’d say yes, right? And I’m friendly, so it’s kind of just the same. If it’s really such a big deal, don’t ask me how many are served on a plate, because all I’m hearing is an invitation to have a little snack.
Anyway, back to the hundred days thing, I’m actually starting to think that it’s a great idea. Let’s say I make a new friend. I only have to pretend to be a nice guy for the first hundred days. After a little over three months I’m basically a fixture in your life now. And now that we’re liking each other’s status updates on facebook and texting to see what’s up on Friday night, now I can start acting like a huge dick. And you’ll say, man, but he was such a great guy for those first hundred days. What happened? And if you confront me I’ll start in on this whole explanation about midterm elections coming up and, come on, I’ve already used more political capital than I can afford right now. Let’s just get through the next three years and I promise, if you choose to embark on another friendship term with me, I can guarantee another hundred days even more turbocharged with niceness than the first time around.
If I ever get pulled over by a cop for speeding I’m going to protest that I was driving within the parameters of the traffic code for the first hundred miles. The next time I get called for a foul at a basketball game, I’ll tell the ref that I was playing perfectly fair for the first hundred minutes. Wait, games aren’t that long. OK, first hundred seconds. When I go shopping, from now on I’m only paying for the first hundred dollars worth of merchandise. I’m just going to grab as much stuff as I can, and I’m going to make a run for it out the door, throwing a hundred dollar bill at the cashier on the way out.
I hope you stopped reading this seven hundred words ago. Seriously, right now I’m just coming up with enough words to make an even eight hundred. Go ahead, count them. I’m almost there. Almost at eight hundred. I don’t know why I picked eight hundred. It seemed like a good length. Eight hundred.