photo of keyboard

I Wonder by Jamie Buell

I wonder, Very Young Department Manager, what you are holding back when you remark upon the instability of this Excel file, saying, “You have to handle it with care; there are some other analogies I can think of but can’t say at work.”

Is there a deeper affection you hide? Alone, away from here, your pleated Dockers collapsed on the floor, the stroke of keys a steady rhythm – insert, return, insert, return, autofill – the hard mouse against your hand. There you are. Make the margins as wide as you like; no one is watching.

Do you imagine taking it to a bed and gently pushing this spreadsheet beyond its comfort zone, making it feel that exhilarating moment when it surrenders control, when its cells become your cells, its custom filtering options just an extension of your will?

Maybe now your necktie is involved?

Disable the autocorrect. No one tells you what to do. The sum of all the content shrinks to fit inside the narrow grid that you have chosen. Rename it. Call it whatever you want, and when you’ve taken from it everything you need, drag it to the trash where you both know it belongs.

And once it has given up its data to you, will you hold it close and whisper how proud you are of it, how special it is?

Your beautiful, fragile spreadsheet.

Jamie Buell is a writer, teacher, and comedian living in Chicago. He teaches writing at the Second City Training Center and performs occasionally around town. He has a wife, a dog, and a baby.

Lead image“Teclado” (via Flickr user Eduardo Javier Maldonado Acevedo)