Yesterday, my boss got on my case (translation: sent a rambling email/manifesto which was later followed up with a red-faced verbal tirade) about filing the Mountain of Unfileable Stuff (MOUS) which had built up in the general vicinity of my desk. Much of it dates to before I started working there; most of it is virtually impossible to classify in any rational way; none of it will ever be of any use to anyone ever again. The paperwork in the MOUS is in no way related to actual, valuable paperwork, which I always file promptly and appropriately. I’m not saying I like having a MOUS on my desk, but I had made my peace with it, and we had coexisted for quite a long time, the MOUS and me.

Today, the boss was out of the office all day, and it was made abundantly clear to me that it would be wise of me to use my time to attend to the MOUS. So I spent the morning goofing off and figuring that I’d just dump the MOUS in a drawer somewhere at the end of the day, and he’d never know the difference. After I got back from lunch, I picked up the MOUS to dispose of it, and a strange feeling came over me.

I glanced at the paper on top of the MOUS. I wasn’t familiar with anything about it, but I thought of a place I could put it. It’s not a place anyone would ever look for it if they needed to find it, but in its own way, it made sense to me. I started flipping through the rest of the MOUS, sorting the crap into slightly more specific kinds of crap. Then, I made new files for each kind of crap. It didn’t even take that long. Soon, the MOUS had disappeared.

And another strange feeling came over me. Pride. For the first time in as long as I could remember, I had taken pride in my work. And it felt really good. I stared at the empty wire bin where the MOUS had been and realized that I had accomplished a task, a task that had been unthinkable just a few hours earlier.

I just hope nobody needs that crap anytime soon, because I don’t remember where the hell I put it.

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