Poetry: MY CO-WORKER SLAMS THE MICROWAVE – Mike Young

~~ choose: “HE” | “SHE” | “THEY” ~~

MY CO-WORKER SLAMS THE MICROWAVE

as described to Matt Nelson

he is a human prune bag with no prunes in it

he cuts his bagels in quarters

he acts confused by diagonals in scrabble

he picks up parking tickets right after people drop them and says “excuse me” loudly

he chats you when you’re invisible and says “i know you’re not invisible”

he points at the numbers you’ve deliberately obscured and says “what do these numbers mean?”

at night he turns into an advanced VCR made right after VCRs became obsolete

instead of sleeping he polishes his jackhammer collection

his jackhammer collection includes all jackhammers currently in operation and none of the jackhammers that are quiet

he calls the dream factory and insists that all wet dreams be converted to dry dreams

he’s been holding the post office hostage for 26 years through a complicated blackmail scheme that ultimately reduces the post office’s efficiency

he sends a reply-all email saying “isn’t she not here anymore” regarding a co-worker who committed suicide two years ago after you accidentally include that co-worker’s email address in an email you send to everyone in the company on a Friday of a funny skiing accident video

his profile picture is an annoying sound that plays automatically

his favorite band is a fluorescent light

his favorite food is a weak cough

he sues the tinsel company because he counted each individual strand in a box of tinsel and it didn’t match up to the promises

on the packaging

he wins all his court cases

he throws away food based on the date you wrote on the piece of tape covering the tupperware, and not based on what the food actually smells like

he loudly scorns sports announcers and tells embarrassing personal anecdotes about them

he never mutes commercials

he says “oh please” right at the good part of the movie

all the characters in his children’s book have ugly hats

he sees nothing funny

he scrapes your non-stick pan with a fork, rendering it cancerous

he is the deciding “no” vote on a bill to fund a space exploration program for cute dolphins

he starts a pedantic Wikipedia edit war about your favorite tree

his xylophone keys all make the same note

he forces the book club to spend the whole time talking about a small typo on page 46

he calls his brother at the end of your joke and says he’s going to ask him to explain your joke because “he always knows about that”

when faced with three packaging design options for an olive oil bottle, he always picks the ugliest option, and the olive oil always ends up being a reliable success

he says “who’s that” at funerals

he says “for all indents and purposes”

he orders sandwiches at Subway with overly specific coupons

he puts your favorite old chair into a blender and it comes out an ugly orange chair

his heart is full of pistachios that seem like they have difficult shells but actually they’re impossible

if he were an app on your phone he would ask for an unseemly amount of permissions

you loan him your umbrella so he can run down the street to the post office and he wanders into the middle of a desert and dies

he invented fanny packs

his best friend is a stop sign in the middle of a highway

his mom is a confusing assembly guide for a piece of furniture that only has three parts

his dad is a gas station that won’t take credit cards and doesn’t have an ATM

his brother is the pimple that emerges from the pimple you destroyed

his sister is the hiccups

the sound he makes when he chews is currently the highest polling republican candidate for president in 2016

he wears an enormous digital watch that has an alarm that goes off at obvious times of the day, like 5PM, and he always acts surprised by it

all your friends can do is shrug and say “he’s not that bad” and then right as they’re saying “wait but actually” they are hit and killed by a 1993 ford taurus

everything in his bathroom is covered by a thin, hallucinatory layer of plastic

he emails you after you fix something and says “it still doesn’t work” and somehow he is right

he smells like a flight cancellation email

in kindergarten he gave everyone a saltine cracker instead of a valentine

in heaven he gave everyone a sore throat

any sporting event he goes to is guaranteed to end in a scoreless tie

when he makes toast it tastes like an old calculator

his house is one leg of a giant pair of khakis

when he cries, he cries funky towel smell

when he loves someone, it immediately triggers an IRS audit for them

Mike Young is the author of Sprezzatura, Look! Look! Feathers, and We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough. He publishes NOÖ Journal, runs Magic Helicopter Press, and lives in Portland, OR. Find him online at mikeayoung.tumblr.com.

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