For many years I worked in a local authority. It was my first job.
I observed others to see what they did, I aimed to emulate them and become the best.
A lot of time was spent chatting.
A lot of time was spent avoiding work.
So I devoted myself to wilfully avoiding my responsibilities.
To be the best at the game they all seemed to be playing.
I had been brought in as a replacement for Bill.
They told me the government led the way in Artificial Intelligence and Bill was one of the
first robots they had used.
They said my reputation was so good that I had replaced Bill.
Humans 1 Robots 0
The existing staff had a blame culture. I thought it was resentment from working with a robot for so long.
If any work was delayed said “Bill was supposed to be doing that.”
I was worried that it would now be my fate.
It was several months before I found out that Bill was a box.
The staff members had drawn a face on a cardboard box and called it Bill.
Anything they didn’t want to do, which was most of everything,went into the box.
So I had replaced a cardboard box. The best A.I. the government could get.
I had a lot to live up to.
I was mostly worried that I would be more socially awkward than Bill.
As Busy as Bill
Sitting at my desk,half asleep, I would often think of my favorite word –
karoshi,meaning death by overwork.
It almost became a lullaby, karoshi,karoshi.
Sounding like a gentle wave rolling up to the shore.
Smiling to myself, I would gently fall asleep.
I became a master at avoiding work,any of my official responsibilities.
The word esquivalience was placed in the first New Oxford American dictionary available on cd-rom.
A fictitious word that could be used to demonstrate plagiarism in a prosecution for copyright theft.
The meaning given to Esquivalience is the wilful avoidance of one’s official responsibilities.
The word described me perfectly.
So have I turned a fictitious word and made it real?
Writers tend to use bits of reality and their experiences to create fiction.
I seem to be getting it the wrong way round.
Esquivalience is an example of a Mountweazel. A fictitious word made up to protect
against copyright theft. A copyright trap.
Like the entry in the New Columbia encyclopedia :
I was fortunate enough to attend an exhibition by Lillian Mountweazel in Dublin,in 2009. She was born in Bangs,Ohio and unfortunately died in an explosion while on assignment for combustibles magazine. The exhibition detailed her life and works.
The Works Piling Up
I was right. Once everyone heard about Bill’s replacement I became the new excuse.
Everyone passed all their work on to me.
“Tim’s doing it.” It was getting scary. Sooner or later the bosses would find me.
I needed to make a plan.
On my last day at work, I slept late. By the time I woke up everybody had gone home.
I collected all my work together, and found a cardboard box to put it in.
I picked up the felt tip and wrote ‘Bobby’ and drew a little face.
Bobby had a lot to live up to.
I’ve had a few jobs in my time.
All of them quite sensible.
Check out my jobs.