There’s a Powerball ticket on my desk from last week. I already checked the numbers, and let’s just say, if you’re holding any outstanding IOUs, keep holding them. I’ll make good on them eventually, I promise. Well, promise is such a strong word, but let’s say just one degree short of a promise, you know, barring any unforeseen circumstances, like if I die suddenly and I can’t pay you back, or if you die suddenly, and I can’t pay you back. I don’t want your ghost coming back to haunt me, “A promise is a promise!”
Also I have this tiny stapler right here, it’s really small, like when you buy a regular sized stapler at the office supply store, a lot of the time, included in the box, there will be like a mini sized stapler, only big enough to hold twenty staples at a time, maybe twenty-five. I’m not quite sure how this stapler wound up being the only stapler in my possession, but that was it, that’s what I was relying on for the rare instance when I needed between two and fifteen pieces of paper stapled together. But this thing is such a piece of junk, which isn’t fair really, I’m sure it wasn’t built for the long haul, primary-stapler role I had assigned it. A staple got jammed a while back and, on a normal sized stapler anyway, I’d just slam it down harder, forcing everything out. But on this little guy, all I did was jam another stapler in there. It got past the point where it’s fixable. It won’t even unhinge anymore. I don’t even remember the last time I’ve thought about it. Like, how long has it been on my desk, broken, taking up space?
A few inches away I have this click pen, it’s white with blue letters screen printed on the side. Although they’re really faded by now, at one point it said, “The Journey,” it was the name of a megachurch, something evangelical. One time maybe four or five years ago, I was waiting tables and these Southern tourists left me this pen in lieu of a real tip. I thought, really? You want to convert me to your religion and the best you can do is this pen? Still, I kept it in my rotation of pens, handing it to guests after I’d run their credit cards. I was indiscriminate as to who got to sign with my The Journey pen at first, but after a year or so, I started to imagine it to wield magical tip-boosting holy powers. I could tell that if I kept handing it out every day, it would break or I’d lose it. So I started saving it for only the worst tables, like people that would not be pleased, heavy complainers. After a miserable experience for the both of us, I’d hand them their credit card with a big fake smile and say something like, “I hope you have a blessed day.”
Both the stapler and the pen are sitting right next to my watch. It’s very basic, some sort of a synthetic navy blue strap attached to the same colored navy face. Two months ago or so, the watch stopped. I remembered making such a big thing of it in my mind, like how it would turn into one of those simplest of chores that I’d just never make an effort to actually get done, how I’d lose all track of time, I’d get fired for being perpetually late. I freaked myself out to the point that I left my house that very second and rode my bike to this dingy watch repair shop on Broadway. I walked in and the guy didn’t even say anything, he had a special watch monocle, he used little tweezers to artfully remove the old battery, put a new one in, and then adjust the date and time to make up for all of the lost minutes and hours I’d let slip away since the battery died. I asked him, “how long do these batteries last?” and he told me, “Six months.” He charged me six dollars. What’s that like, a dollar a battery? Not too bad, something I could definitely make a little room for in the budget. But just last week, the watch died again. I brought it to the same watch guy, went through the exact same routine, he took my watch, my six dollars. What’s the deal? Are you giving me defective watch batteries on purpose to bring in more business? Am I being played? But for six dollars, I don’t know, I can’t really get myself to even bother asking another watch question. I guess six dollars every two months isn’t that expensive either, and as long as I’m careful about my money, my Powerball tickets, not writing out too many new IOUs, I think I can squeeze it in, yeah, I can definitely make it work. I’ve got to be able to be on time, right? Nobody’s getting paid if I’m not getting paid, if I’m not showing up on time because I don’t know what time it is.