Today, let's be great. Forget our betrayed potential, how we shrink to fit reality. Everything is still possible. We're players. Feel the push-pull of the quantum, the ifs and dangling strings, all that might still be, not yet decided or tied up, the buzz before naming and reduction and collapse.
Lovesport applications are closed. We wait to be chosen. I’m surely not the only player anxiously contemplating how awesome everything will be when I’m a MoreCorp employee growing good and the economy, envy of all the Single System System.
Yet somehow anticipating the abundance is awkward. It makes me remember another time, before, when I wanted both less and more. It reminds me that going to Silicon to control prose while the trees whisper in the forest is a loss, sad. Maybe what I want is to bathe in the shade of redwoods, learn their language, weave a tale together — despite knowing better — a story in this age when a sentence is an epic.
The thing is, the strings are being tugged by many. We can’t make manifest the best with our wishful thinking, even if we did know what we wanted, which I’m not convinced we do. Not me. Not you. There are other forces working, making things happen. Watch this, how the multiverse is benevolent, sparing me the compromises of prize-winning. My destiny is more mysterious and not mine to decide. The first hint of this arrives as I sit in my slot in a pod in the Clubhouse dreaming of being chosen.
Goddess Smith summons me to X-Siberia. No subject, seven minutes notice. This can’t be good. I check the People Ops wiki, quickly scanning. Here she is, a MidCorp at MoreCorp People Operator with a water droplet avatar … unless it's a tear. Her snap shows Goddess is aptly named, with a pleasing face, deep beige, framed by long straight dark hair. A big white smile and gleam in her green eyes show she gets it — everything is awesome. She’s into yoga and meditation and Humble Servant retreats.
I breathe deep, telling myself to be evolved, conscious, a person and not a lizard with an ancient brain. There's nothing to fear. This woman can’t kill me — only Metrix Barnes can do that, and Eclair, maybe Spam if she’s not already dead. Also Candy Cane’s dad, Big Daddy Cane the billionaire drone delivery king. But why would they? I do their asks and ask nothing because, as gurus will tell you, toiling quietly for karma-kash brings cosmic rewards. The nows on getting ahead now is know your quiet strength and don't give it voice.
With this in mind, I open the door to X-Siberia, a room of frosted plasti-glass, icy, perhaps to signal no transparency, secret proceedings. The furnishings are white. A wall screen projects snaps from lands cold and remote, places not even I would go. Goddess, at a glacier-shaped table, stands and smiles. She introduces herself, accepting my handshake reluctantly. “I'm Goddess Smith. Welcome Elli… Ellipi… Ellipis…”
“Ellipsis,” I correct her, assessing — limp fingers, soft skin, lacks discipline.
"Beautiful name," Goddess says, wiping her hand with a bacterial cleanser, revealing what she thinks of my greeting (gross). She asks, “Can I call you something else? Shorter.”
“El,” I reply, sitting, resisting the urge to request that she go by God or just G.
“Great, El. As you know, I’m your MidCorp rep.”
“Well, I didn’t know, truth be told.”
"I see." Goddess is annoyed, glaring, green eyes menacing as she says, “We don’t have to give you anything so you should be psyched about my advocacy.”
“Oh I am, totally! You’re ... awesome?” I reassure my advocate cautiously, observe closely. Leaning in, elbows on the table, I size her up. From here it's clear that Goddess wears a mask. The big eyes are an illusion of shadows and pencils, her smooth beige skin a tawny powder ending at the neck, her full lips lined and painted pink.
What does she see looking at me? Hard to say — I don’t see me. Probably we seem very different but I tell myself that’s an illusion too, like her big eyes. We’ve meditated, so we know we’re one, connected, united citizens of the Single System System. Theoretically, we can communicate.
Goddess gets to it. “Just wanna start by saying your manager, Ampersand, he hearts you.” She looks up, waiting for an interruption, hears none and continues reading from a screen balanced precariously on the glacier table. “He says you’re really good at … umm … stuff. But, hate to say it. Like, you’re great but you sux.”
“What?!” I jump out of my seat. She widens her eyes and I sit back down, saying, “This is weird. We’re competing for jobs. It's the first round of the Lovesport. Why now? I’m sorry. Go on.”
Goddess looks wary. “I know feedback is tough. You mentioned jobs? That's odd.”
“The Lovesport,” I explain. “It’s happening now, so I’m shocked about the timing. What’s this about?”
“MidCorp at MoreCorp can do whatever whenever. It’s in the fine print. You can find it.” She clutches her seat and breathes deep, exhales through flaring nostrils -- it's probably a Humble Servant technique to calm down. Goddess speaks softly now. "Elli, all I know is your doge-food about a sorbet tek-pet put you in the doge-house with a top doge. Umm ...” She scrolls down the screen. “Right here … got it in my notes. The tek-pet preferences were hard to program. The doges barked all day and didn't soothe as intended.” She asks, “Did you write that?”
“Yes," I admit. "But they made me. We had to doge-food!”
“They made you? Who? What’s doge-food?”
I’m shocked that Goddess doesn’t know, is not immersed in the corporate lingo, which I love. I eat it up. Seriously, everyone at MoreCorp should know what a doge-food is — you chew it, we do it!
Greatness is a process. It happens in drafts. MoreCorp products are tested internally, workers give feedback, and creators iterate based on that. I sum it up for my rep. “Doge-food’s a critique. The point is to say what’s not working — we chew it and they do it, fix, improve, whatever. So one day the SKI Team had to doge-food tek-pets but the instructions made no sense and the doges stressed everyone out by barking even though they’re in sorbet shades for super soothing.”
Goddess looks up. “You were told to say if they worked? And they didn’t? So you said so?”
“Yes!” Suxess. I have been understood. That feels good.
“Well you look smartsy so I believe you, but the technique for critique is a compliment sandwich. That's two positives hugging a negative. Also cooing helps. Try it. You seem intense. Tone that down and everything will be awesome. You’re amazing, just not at communication.”
“What now,” I ask, digesting her compliment sandwich. “What does this mean for the Lovesport?”
“Not my business.” Goddess sighs, tired of advocating. “What I do is represent you and I just did that Ellipi umm … Ellipis.“ She dismisses me. “You can go. You’re fine. Nothing to worry about. Just shut up. Otherwise, you’re doing great.”
I exit X-Siberia to a terrible place. More a space really. My eyes fill with tears. I’m cracking, having feels. Shit! How can this be happening now? Still, you can’t let the dirty doges get you down. That’s the primary rule for players. Trudging back up the stairs to my slot, I’m determined but shocked, weary, cold, chilled to the bone, like I’ve traveled long distances today, and I have. From contemplation of greatness to a conceptual land of banishment. Here I am in the Clubhouse doge-house.