Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Doing Business

The table was far from uncluttered to begin with and the piles of paper did not help it any. There were only a dozen or so carefully stapled bundles and as we read them they shuffled from one pile to another and every attempt to sort and organize was thwarted.

Who is next?... Have you read D#?... Here take a look at K^... Wait, I've read this one, who is in that pile?

The room would grow quiet and still from time to time and then one of us would finish reading and blurt a comment, this would be challenged and the room would swell with the din of voices. After a few moments of agreeing and disagreeing the noise would fade and we would engross back into the papers. The documents continued to shuffle and rotate across the table. New piles appearing, teetering precariously against the candy dish, or drooping over the product samples we had inspected earlier.

Do you want to compare notes? I have about four yes's, make that five yes's, four maybes, and two no's. Okay, tell me who you have in your yes list.

We began to recognize them by the unique scrawl of text on their faces, we no longer had to look at the names; S* had the tight handwriting circling the edges, P@ was stapled with many colorful attachments, K^ was sparse and neat, R$ was written in blue ink with smooth flowing penmanship. The papers showed a unique character, but no soul. We were mining them for facts, for information, for personality. The words not written often giving up the best treasure. We needed to know about character, ethic, heart. We learned about age and address and most recent employment.

Well I originally had D# on my no list, but on second read I'm not sure why I put him there.

I have been on the opposite side of this operation enough. But even having once been a name on a paper does not evoke the right amount of compassion. These papers were tokens for flesh and blood. The all too flimsy illusion fronting for human. We piled them and shuffled them and wrinkled them and smudged them and conveniently forgot we were shuffling people. Somewhere out there in the gathering twilight a young man could have been preparing dinner as we tossed his name casually. This girl could have been phoning her mother as we piled her on the floor because the table ran out of room.

We need to call this person and ask about ____. If she will fit this position then we can decide how to place these other two.

It took hours to pass the papers and bandy the names about. We eventually coerced them into the loosest of org charts. Tiered, prioritized and sorted. It became obvious we could go no further. Even after driving home and with sleep pulling at the eyes the papers were pulled out once more and arranged across the living room floor. The A list and the B list in neat rows, the wildcards circling the periphery. They still had no soul, but the papers were people. I was deciding their lives.

hey, as long as you didn't throw some of them away for having the wrong font to "scan properly into your database," you couldn't have done that bad.
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