What would you do if you had a million dollars?

look of excitement

Wanted to do something special here for my hundredth blogpost, and little did I know that the subject would be chosen so perfectly for me. If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that one of my blogging compadres is the blog lady over at Lucy’s Football.  Well, her life in general and her job in particular has been getting to her lately. Just last week, she wrote If I had a training company, you know I’d call it “Pulling a Train”, right?

While I was reading that, part of me considered, ‘Hm…I hope Lucy’s Football‘s superiors at her J.O.B. don’t read this blog. Or if they do, that they have a sense of humour.‘ Well, the answer to the first one is that they did. And the second? Apparently they don’t.

Earlier in the day, this appeared out of the blue over on twitter:

And my response? I think it’s great. Truly one of the best pieces of news I’ve heard in a long time, and my life is full of good things happening right now.

So in honour of the unceremonious sacking of one of the good guys, I’m dedicating this hundredth blogpost to the people over at Lucy’s Football. By people, I mean that wild-eyed, unruly-haired wonder. The first thing that came to mind when I sat down to fashion her a response was the scene in Office Space where they talk about what you would do if you had a million dollars. For those of you who haven’t seen this Mike Judge movie from 1999, go fire up your Netflix account or however you access media and watch the damned thing. Really.

For the rest of you, here’s a little reminder:

Peter Gibbons: Our high school guidance counselor used to ask us what you’d do if you had a million dollars and you didn’t have to work. And invariably what you’d say was supposed to be your career. So, if you wanted to fix old cars then you’re supposed to be an auto mechanic. 
Samir: So what did you say? 
Peter Gibbons: I never had an answer. I guess that’s why I’m working at Initech. 
Michael Bolton: No, you’re working at Initech because that question is bullshit to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there’d be no janitors, because no one would clean shit up if they had a million dollars. 
Samir: You know what I would do if I had a million dollars? I would invest half of it in low risk mutual funds and then take the other half over to my friend Asadulah who works in securities… 
Michael Bolton: Samir, you’re missing the point. The point of the exercise is that you’re supposed to figure out what you would want to do if… 
[printer starts beeping] 
Michael Bolton: “PC Load Letter”? What the fuck does that mean? 

For the more sensitive among you, I should go ahead and apologise for that foul-mouthed language. Wait a minute: you’re accustomed to accounts of sneaky fuckery and you’ve got stool. No need for walking on egg shells with you lot.

Now that she’s going to have all of this free time, I’d like to give ol’ Lucy’s Football a task. There’s a story behind it, and I aim to tell it to you in all of its glory.

When I was a younger man, I went through a bit of a rough patch employment-wise. There came a point where I decided that working was for chumps, and I resolved to cease even searching for gainful employment. It was a courageous decision for which I was not fêted to the degree I was expecting.

The way my friends would rub it in that I was in such an unfortunate predicament was that they’d simply ask me questions about the daytime television schedule. They assumed, and were quite right, that my leisurely day allowed me to become rather well acquainted with what was on offer while they were slaving away at their 9-to-5 positions.

When do they replay the Daily Show on Comedy Central?‘ they’d query. And I knew. I knew all too well.

Now, let me be quite clear here. I’m sure Lucy’s Football will find something better rather quickly. According to her  telling, almost anything she finds will be more fulfilling than what she was doing. My hope is that she’ll hold out for something that really utilises her..ahem..unique charms.

But in the meantime, ‘Hey Lucy’s Football…what’s the best thing on television at 11 am on a weekday?

shy of working

no intention of sawing either of these feet off

Arbeitsunwillger Mann sägt sich Fuß ab (‘Man unwilling to work saws off his own foot‘)

I mentioned this earlier in the week, and thought it might be inappropriate for this blog. Then I remembered this is a blog where we talk about dogs vomiting in chocolate spewing forth and someone stuffing postboxes with excrement in you’ve got stool.

With topics like those, we can certainly manage one about self mutilation. When you hear the story, I think you’ll understand why I feel this was necessary to be covered.

Your obvious question is, ‘Why would someone saw off his own foot?’ He had a better reason than you might think. He didn’t want to go to work.

I can already hear your voice straining with incomprehension as you say, ‘But that’s no reason to do such permanent bodily harm, is it?

Well, we don’t have a lot of details here, but let’s at least cover the whole bloody stump of a story before we attempt to decipher what this fellow might’ve been thinking.

First of all, I don’t want to make too much of where this happened, because Austria has not had a very easy time of it over the last several years. I love our neighbours to the south, and over the years have spent a lot of time there.

Every time there’s shocking news that some Austrian has been caught holding people hostage in his cellar for years at a time, I worry for the emotional state of its people. Not just those held hostage, but the Austrians in general. I can’t be the only one who’s suggested that the Austrian authorities should just go door to door searching cellars. At some point, you have to wonder how many more subterranean dwellers could be rescued.

Back to the story.

The man is described in the article as arbeitsunwillg, which I’ve translated as ‘unwilling to work‘. There’s another German term for this that I think is a bit more sensitive. You could also call him arbeitsscheu, which means ‘shy to work‘ or ‘shy of working‘.

I can already hear a few of you saying, ‘Well, that’s me. I’m shy of working. Very shy. Every morning as I drag myself out of bed, a wave of shyness overcomes me.’

Somehow, I doubt you’re nearly as shy of working as this guy.

He had an impending appointment with his local job centre, and apparently he was dreading it so much that he came up with an ingenious solution. They’d been offering him jobs that I suppose were beneath him. He’d grown accustomed to the luxury of planning his day as a man of leisure.

Reminds me a bit of that scene in Office Space, where the guy decides he really doesn’t want to go to work anymore.

So the guy in the Austrian state of Styria, what they call ‘Steiermark’, comes to the conclusion that if he takes a table saw and separates himself from one of his less-than-necessary appendages, that it’ll be self-evident that he cannot return to work. To the sort of job which only someone with two functioning legs can undertake.

My question is: ‘What sort of job was so horrible that the option which includes sawing your leg off suddenly starts to look appealing?

I have a theory about what job they wanted him to do. The job centre must’ve recommended him to a job that insulted not just the proud little Austrian, but his sense of patriotism, as well. See, I believe they wanted him to be one of the people who goes door to door searching peoples’ cellars for long-term hostages. It makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

For the sake of Austria’s wounded identity, this guy is a hero. He’s taken one for the team.