Sunday, March 29, 2009

Siziphus Retires

On Tuesday Siziphus all of a sudden felt tired. Nothing out of the ordinary had happened. In fact, everything was the same as any other day. He got up as usual, ate his cereal, drank his coffee, and went to work. Nothing unusual happened on his way to work either, and he did not suspect anything.
Siziphus did not particularly like his work, but he did not hate it either. Sometimes when his friends told him about the troubles they had at work he felt lucky he had that job. It certainly was better than sitting at home all day long, doing nothing.
"What do you have to show for all your work?" his friends used to tease him.
"Not much," he admitted "but at least it keeps me busy."
Nobody could argue with that.
On Tuesday, however, he felt unusually tired. As far as he could remember it had never happened to him before, and it worried him. He decided to go to the doctor.
"What seems to be the problem?" the doctor asked.
"The problem seems to be," Siziphus said "that I feel tired."
The doctor checked him, looked at his chart and said
"I don't see anything wrong with you. Your blood pressure is okay, your pulse is fine. I don't think you have any reason to worry. We all get tired sometimes. All you need is a good sleep."
So Siziphus decided to return to work. As usual he carried the rock up the mountain, and everything was okay until he was a few feet from the top. He tried to push the rock a bit more, but the rock would not move. Even after he rested a while and tried to push it again the rock refused to move. Siziphus looked around him and when he saw that the supervisor was looking the other way he pushed the rock down the mountain. He returned home from work with a lousy mood.
"What happened to you?" asked his wife.
"Nothing, I'm just tired" he said.
"Are you trying to fool me?" she said "I know you better than you think. Tell me what happened."
"It's nothing" he said "I'm just a bit tired. Even the doctor said so."
"What doctor?" she asked angrily.
"The doctor I went to see this morning" he said.
"You went to see a doctor this morning?" she raised her voice "Why?"
"I told you already" he raised his voice too "I felt tired."
"And what did the doctor say?" she inquired.
"He told me to get more rest," he said. "that's all."
"Ok," she said "we'll have dinner early tonight and then you can go to bed."
The next day he felt tired again and his wife did not let him go to work.
"You need to rest for a few more days before you go back to work," she told him.
"Thank you, doctor," he said sarcastically.
"You're welcome," she answered "I know you better than any doctor."
He was too tired to argue with her, and he fell asleep. For the next two days he slept on and off.
"How are you feeling today?" his wife asked him in the morning of the third day "and you'd better not lie to me." she added.
"I'm feeling great" he lied.
"I still want you to stay in bed at least one more day" she said "God knows you have accumulated enough sick leave during
all those years. It's time that you use some of it."
"Ok," he did not want to argue with her "but tomorrow I'm going back to work."
"There is something wrong with you, you know?" she said "Everyone else I know loves to stay at home and rest, and you just
dream about going back to work."
The next day he went to work. A few moments after he arrived he felt tired again. He went to his supervisor and told him that he was too tired to work.
"Ok, Siziphus" the supervisor said "but remember this will be four days in a row that you did not work. You know that if
you miss five days in a row we'll have to let you go. This is the rule. Think about it and tomorrow let me know if you
want to be fired or just retire."
Siziphus went home and told his wife the news. She was alarmed.
"Can't they find you another job there?" she asked.
"What other job?" he asked "The only thing I did all those years was carry that rock up the mountain."
This made her angry.
"It's all because you never listened to me," she said. "All those years I tried to push you to learn a trade so that you
could get another job, but you wouldn't listen."
"Learn a trade?" he tried to defend himself "When?"
"In the evenings, after work, instead of sitting here in front of the stupid TV."
"Sorry," he said. "I was too tired after work. I couldn't possibly learn anything."
"Well," she said "so now you, or rather me, are paying the price."
"You?" he said "What price are you paying?"
"You think it's a big pleasure to have you stay at home all day long?" she said.
"No," he said "as a matter of fact I am pretty sure it will be anything but pleasure, for the both of us."
"That's right" she agreed.
The next day Siziphus told his supervisor he decided to retire.
"Good decision" the supervisor congratulated him, and shook his hand.
"Let me just go and tell the news to my buddies before I leave," asked Siziphus.
"Sure," the supervisor agreed."go ahead."
His friends did not like the news.
"Who shall we play cards with now?" Armenius complained.
Orpheus was not very enthusiastic either.
"So what are you going to do now?" he asked "Sit at home and do nothing?"
"I can clean the garage" Siziphus said "I've been planning to do this for years."
"And what will you do in the afternoon? Rest?" Orpheus laughed.
His laughter irritated Siziphus and before leaving he said
"Why? What are you planning to do when you retire?"
Orpheus' question caught Siziphus by surprise. He did not think of it before, and now it bothered him. He thought about it on his way home and finally made a decision.
"I've retired" he told his wife cheerfully as he came home.
"Oh, no!" she sighed "So now you're going to hang around the house all day long?"
"Don't worry," he said "I won't bother you. I know exactly what I'll do."
"Yeh," she said "and what might that be?"
"I'm going to write my memoirs" he said.
"Memoirs of what exactly?" she laughed. "How to work for forty years and achieve nothing? I am sure this will be a
"What do you care?" he ignored her mockery "The main thing is that I'll be busy writing and won't bother you, isn't it?"
"I'll drink to that" she answered.
Before going to bed he told her
"The retirement ceremony is tomorrow. D'you want to come?"
"No," she replied "I'd rather stay in bed instead of meeting your buddies."
"As you wish," he said.
The next morning Siziphus woke up as usual, ate his cereal, drank his coffee, and went to work. All his friends were there,
waiting to greet him.
"They've already found a replacement for you" Orpheus told him.
"Really?" said Siziphus.
It was exactly then that a heavy rock rolled down the mountain and killed him.

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