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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Should the Nobel go next to the Emmy, or by the Pulitzer?

I work in a very old building, and sometimes I get there very early, and depending on the time of year, it can be very dark.  As you walk through the building there is always a lot of noise, a symphony of creaks, and groans, and shuffling sounds, and something that sounds similar to the purring intonation  made by the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, that would be awful.  Oddly, the noises always seem just out reach of the built in flashlight of the iPhone, you can almost see the source of the sound, but not quite.  It was frustrating.

Then, I read about this app available for the iPhone that would show paranormal activity, and in some cases allow you to communicate with the spirits.

I rushed to download the app, and spent the evening familiarizing myself with the "interface."  It seemed that ghost hunting was going to be stressful enough without adding confusing menu options, and complicated gestures, so I learned where the optimal screen for my approach was and the quickest way to get it loaded.

It was so exciting, I could barely sleep.  This morning, I rushed around the house fixing lunch, slurping coffee, finally it was time to leave, a quick peck on the cheek of my lovely wife, and a cryptic "hey, clean off a space for my Pulitzer, would you?"

She replied, "you are not trying room temperature fusion again, are you?  Remember the stitches.  And I sure you mean Nobel Prize, unless you are writing an article."

"Oh, great, a Nobel is smaller, I think, They take less room, it will be much easier to make space."

Whoosh, the elevator door opened on the darkened fourth floor, but the phone was at the ready, held high and scanning the room.  A noise to the right and a quick move in that direction, and I could not believe my eyes!  There, on the screen of the iPhone was a ghost.  He was standing about 12 feet (about 4 meters), and carrying a box, it looked kind of heavy, maybe 20 pounds (about 15 degrees Celsius).

"What are you looking at?"  He asked, staring right at me. I was shocked.

"Why are you carrying a box?"  That was the best thing I could think of to say, the whole thing kind of caught me off guard.  Try finding a ghost walking through the kitchen at work carrying a box, and see if you do better.

Slowly, he put the box on the floor, picked up a ghostly thermos, poured himself a cup of ghost coffee, sat down on the box, took a sip of his coffee, lit a cigarette, and said.  "It's my job."

"You carry boxes around a warehouse, for a job, in the afterlife?"  I asked, this was almost too much.

Another ghost came over and borrowed a cigarette, and a light, and a cup of coffee, some things never change.

"Yes, I do.  Hey, it's a living, we all have to eat."  The ghost said. "It's not all we do, we take stuff out of boxes and put it in other boxes, and send it to other places. Which works out ok, because those places send us boxes of stuff. Kind of the circle of afterlife commerce."

"Do you like it?"

"It ain't so bad, last year we had Attila the Hun as the warehouse foreman, and that could be a little tense. Now we have some guy from the renaissance.  He spends a lot of time painting and talking about art and enlightenment, so it is pretty easy, and the hours are good.  We have really good insurance, including dental, and 6 weeks of vacation.  All in all it is pretty nice, and there is always a chance for advancement, they moved Attila into sales and marketing. He cleaned up real nice."

He seemed pretty content, and I was glad we met.

A ghostly whistle sounded and he said he had to get back to work.  I see him around once in a while and he is doing well.  He met a girl, and they are getting married in the spring, he said I could come to the wedding. It would be a little awkward, so my wife and I decided to pass.

Turns out ghosts have have the same problems, and opportunities as all of us.  They are just trying to get by, they struggle and they scrape, and they take coffee breaks.  So, next time you are in a dark room, and you hear an otherworldly noise, try to stay out the way it is probably just a guy doing his job.  And if someone picks up your plates and puts them in the dishwasher it might not be your wife, no matter what she says.