As he often does, Des Moines purchasing manager Jacob Fletcher took a moment for himself this morning, putting aside his ‘active requisitions’ spreadsheet and relaxing with a bit of horror.
‘This job can get pretty monotonous, to say the least,’ explained Fletcher of his proclivity for empathy-numbing laundry lists of terrors. ‘It’s nice to just take a few minutes and find out what’s going on in the world.’
Stretching his legs out and propping his feet up against the walls of his cubicle, Fletcher scanned through dozens of articles detailing the many and varied ways human beings had conspired to hurt each other that day.
Able to browse through dozens of publications from all over the world at the click of a button, the digital age shaved ape could determine the number of victims of Syria’s ongoing civil war; see a picture of a starving, emaciated child; and watch a video of an occupied car explode in an air strike.
‘You need to take time during the day to recharge a little,’ said Fletcher, who routinely gapes open-mouthed at a shining rectangle streaming a detailed record of the worst things going on in the world directly into his eyes and ears.
‘We’re not robots,’ he added.
As a human being coded with an instinctive ‘fight or flight’ response in cases of mortal danger, Fletcher bit his nails absently as he watched a report on the dangerous levels of radioactive material dumped into the sea by the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant on the other side of the globe.
After reading a chilling warning about the imminent danger of environmental collapse from scientists stationed in the Arctic circle, Lee wound down his ‘little breather’ with a few pictures of soldiers at war and a shocking infographic of income inequality in the richest city in the world.
The father of two then clicked back over to a glowing white screen with columns of numbers detailing the purchasing workflow for his mid-size company.
‘I know my job’s not that hard or anything,’ he said later as he prepared to leave. ‘But I always feel so exhausted at the end of the day. Why is that?’