Mayhem in Suite 500-H
God called me into his office today. As soon as I heard his voice on the intercom, I put my head in my hands. It is now officially two days until the entire universe and all of mankind has to be officially underway, all the galaxies and species and circles of life created, and every delay means big problems. The thing is, he knows this.
He had his feet up on his desk when I came in. “I came up with something I think has real potential,” he said. “How about….random aging?”
“Random aging?” I asked tiredly.
“Yeah,” he said. “Get this: instead of just a boring, straight linear progression of aging, people go to sleep at night having no idea what age they’re going to be the next day. So on Tuesday you might be sixteen, then on Wednesday you could be fifty, and the day after that, twenty-nine…or five….”
I just nodded throughout, then asked, as gently as I could, “Um….what would that do, exactly?”
He rolled his eyes. “It juices things up,” God said. “It gives people the unexpected. You have to think outside the box once in a while. How do you think Apple got so big? They don't settle for the ordinary.”
I gave God the courtesy of a long pause before I spoke again, as if I were seriously considering this nonsense. “I just think it’ll be, you know, too confusing,” I said.
“But that’s the genius of it,” he protested. “It makes you think, re-adapt, always be on edge.”
I shook my head. “The thing is, there’s really not any more time to be shuffling around with all that,” I said.
Now I could see God was getting perturbed. He stroked his chin like he does when he wants to seem deep. “I just think sometimes that I’m the only one around here who’s interested in lifting the quality of this project instead of just getting it done and playing it safe,” he said. “I mean, do we want a good universe that’s entertaining but forgettable, or do we want to roll the dice and push ourselves and maybe wind up with a masterpiece? Because I didn’t get into this to do okay work.”
“We all want the best possible universe,” I told him, “but given the time frame you set down…the six days is almost up. I’m still not sure why you didn’t think five or even ten years was more of an acceptable---“
“I’ll tell you why I made it six days, it was to light a fire under everyone around here,” God said. “How do you think Apple gets such results out of its staff? By setting expectations as high as they can be. Now, let me tell you a little bit more about this random aging thing, because I’m sensing that you really don’t get where this could go. Say for instance…”
I let him prattle on. Sometimes it’s best to just humor him and then he drops his crazy ideas an hour later. I’m sad, though, because I know exactly what’s going to happen. Ten days after the universe and mankind are created, he’s going to call us into his office and tell us that the point of this meeting is not to assign blame to anyone for what’s gone wrong, no no, we’re not here to make accusations, the only point of this meeting is to look at where we went awry and avoid mistakes on future projects, blah blah blah, together we can make the system work better, yada yada yada. That’s exactly how it’s going to go. I can even tell you what lame snacks he’ll have in the room to make us think there’s not going to be any finger-pointing: pretzels and baby carrots. There’s always pretzels and baby carrots.