I Have Not Done Any Work Today

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic

A short, hypothetical account of what could be. Explores how trivial decisions could impact a life in not-so-trivial way.

I haven’t done any work today. Now, bear with me. I realise that that sentence is not an exemplary opening to any body of writing, unless that body of writing happens to be an extract from Confessions of a Serial Murdering, Machete Flinging, General Naughty-Bloke. If that’s the case, then you would undoubtedly be reassured that the lack of work he has undergone within the last twenty-four hours will have potentially spared several lives and, so long as you’re not into all that slaughtering, death nonsense, you’d be grateful of the information and implications that initial sentence imparts to you. However, this is not Confessions of a Serial Murdering, Machete Flinging, General Naughty-Bloke and I am well aware of that sentence’s shortcomings, but it is needed to introduce the premise of this little, lexical wandering. So, let me start again:

I haven’t done any work today. Considering that we have already thoroughly convinced ourselves that this is most certainly not a piece of writing documenting any sort of homicidal behaviour, we can reconsider the implications of that first sentence again.

I am a student. I have recently applied to enroll at two universities: Goldsmiths, my first choice, and Greenwich, my second. I need to attain ABB in my A-levels to attend the former. Three C’s for the latter.

What if that work I decided not to do today destroys the possible realisation of my enrollment at Goldsmiths College? I’ll attend Greenwich instead, it’s not ideal but academia beckons whichever way. That’s fine. But what if I could have met someone at Goldsmiths, a peer, let’s speculate, who, if I’d have done some work today, would have influenced my life in the unimaginable way only something unforeseen can? Let’s say we would have entered into a comedy double-act. In our second year as students, we would have performed at the Edinburgh festival. Our surrealist humour would have met with great applause and admiration, from audiences and critics alike. The riotous laughter from audiences every night would be an aural gesticulation that I’d carry into my ultimate decade as a sexagenarian, before I die at sixty-four from cardiac arrest, lung cancer or suicide (I’m basing the potential causes of death on the ailments of relatives. I don’t take hypothetical dreamings lightly, you must understand).

Of course, after such a successful Edinburgh stint, the BBC would have soon declared interest:

“Hey, kid, loved your show. Wanna make a television program for us?”

After enquiring as to why the Head of Comedy at the BBC was a clichéd, cigar-smoking, American network executive, my comedic partner and I would gleefully accept and begin labourous hours in pubs getting uncontrollably intoxicated and writing the funniest material you’d have ever read. We’d drop out of Goldsmiths to let our careers excel.

Then filming would begin. We’d both star in it, of course, but I’d let my co-writer direct it. After all, I have no interest in directing. I’d have directed a theatre production at Goldsmiths and would have found the pressures of responsibility disconcerting and difficult to manage.

Wow. The first series broke ratings records for the channel. Critical response was almost resoundingly positive and we’d made a ton of money. More money was to come as the BBC would have commissioned a second series and HBO offered us the opportunity to take the program to America, which would be accepted, of course. The writing of the show wouldn’t seem like work either, just two pals having fun and thinking of jokes. Bliss.

Four series later and tumultuous events would begin to transpire. My best friend, colleague and partner would have slept with my sister. You have to realise that we’re famous around the globe at this point, and the tabloid papers would be printing this. I’d wake up one afternoon, I like to sleep in and this would have transcended into my adulthood, and pick up my newspaper, only to see the story printed in gargantuan hieroglyphs on page one. I’d pick up my twelfth generation iPhone, and infuriatingly stab his digits into the hologram display. An hour and a half 3D video-call later, and our double-act would be no more. Although the press would portray me positively, I’d recede from public view. The embarrassment and disbelief would make me recoil from attention in fear of such betrayal again.

Slowly, the world would forget about him, our show and me. My once recognisable face would merge with everybody else’s as I passed down any street. He’d attempt a comeback twenty years later, presenting terrible gameshows, but to no avail. Everything would be over.

I’d be sixty-three, a year before I die, and I’d be walking down Camden Town High Street. I’d have lived there since my forties when I began writing plays, but I wouldn’t have gained any success because of the lack of some profound piece of knowledge that would have been imparted to me if I’d have finished my time at Goldsmiths. An old man would approach me.

“Aren’t you that guy who did that show some, how long, thirty-years ago?” He’d slowly drawl at me.

“Yeah. I am,” I’d reply.

“You know, I had some pretty bad times when I was younger, but that show, it made me laugh when it was easier to cry. Thanks.”

And he’d walk away.

I should really have done some work today.


Submitted: April 09, 2012

© Copyright 2022 BenBowker. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Chris Gerard

I like the way your mind works, and you've given me a great opening for my book, which really is about a serial-killing, machete wielding, generally naughty bloke! Good luck with your exams, work your socks off, get to Goldsmiths or wherever. The rest will follow.

Tue, April 10th, 2012 1:31pm

Author
Reply

Thank you. It means a lot, especially considering I'm new to the site and comments are very helpful! Thanks again.

Tue, April 10th, 2012 9:16am

sunnyskies

This was very entertaining to read. It seems like one big daydream. (I don't know if that's how it was intended; that's just how it seems to me).

Wed, April 11th, 2012 7:43pm

Author
Reply

Essentially, it is just a train of thought that I wrote down and it was still developing as I was writing, so I'm not surprised it gives that impression. Thank you for commenting.

Thu, April 12th, 2012 9:00am

dogweaver

We do what we do and the damnable thing is we have no way of knowing that we did or did not do the right thing. We cannot re-run our lives to see what might have been, if for instance in your case you did some work today.

Of course we can dream of what might have been but maybe it is enough just to have been born and survive to an age where we can think about such questions.

I did like this piece however and thank you for reminding me that I have not done any work today.

All just my opinion of course

Fri, April 13th, 2012 11:12am

Author
Reply

But then can we not still consider the implications of a decision and find it fascinating to think about how different our lives might be should a given action not have been taken? By thinking about it, we also become more adept at making clearer decisions and foreseeing the consequences of the choices we're about to undertake.
Furthermore, we can also consider how different other people's lives would be if we had not taken and followed-through with certain choices, something that I didn't particularly touch upon in this, but am interested in nonetheless.
Anyway, this is all getting very philosophical. The plan was to highlight how the trivial decisions can still effect a life, and then somewhat snowball to effect it in a big way.
Cheers for commenting and getting me thinking!

Fri, April 13th, 2012 8:46am

brucek

never know, could happen. i hope the writing of this doesn't cause a ripple that makes it an impossibility. never know, that might happen too. (i think i'll go sharpen my machete now. after i wipe the blood off, of course) clever and intelligently written. i tip my imaginary hat to you.

Fri, August 31st, 2012 1:56am

Author
Reply

Thank you, good sir!

Sun, September 16th, 2012 2:40pm

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