An office chain email by Charles Yu and a very short piece about monks by Clemens Setz you ought to read

Poetry’s nice, and these poets, they know a thing or two about language. But does it make them happy? I mean, does it make them really happy? Has any line of poetry, any turn of lyric phrase, has any rhyme or iambic pentameter or well-deployed synecdoche ever made a poet really smile? Not, I’m betting, as much as the guy from your office smiles the first time he gets to say ‘blue-sky thinking’ in a weekly meeting. Because corporate English, though horrible, is also fun. I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me. You get to use nouns as verbs. You get to stick hyphens everywhere. You get to say things that have no meaning. THAT HAVE NO MEANING, DAVE! It does not get much more fun than that.

Charles Yu’s Re:re: Microwave in the break room doing weird things to fabric of spacetime understands this. Published here, in Vice, from the recent Gigantic Things anthology, it’s a wild beast of a story written as an office chain email. Jasper, from Facilities, sends a group email to everyone in the NYC office asking them not to use the lower microwave in the breakroom until it’s had the nuked burrito cleaned away. I like Jasper. Jasper’s a guy who says ‘just to give you a heads up’ without thinking twice! But somebody, believe it or not, ignores Jasper and heats up some noodles in the lower microwave in the breakroom. The nerve! And then, as you might have gathered from the story’s title, strange things happen to the fabric of spacetime.

It’s a fun piece. A joy to read, and I bet it was a joy to write. If people still know what microwaves are fifty years from now, I hope they’re still reading and enjoying this story as much as I am now.

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Very different, but equally fun, is Clemen Setz’s On the Conductivity of Monks, published here. He electrocutes 700 Carthusian monks, and it’s wonderful. And maybe the credible ridiculousness of this experiment and its repetition and its success is the ancestor of whatever office Jasper works in several hundred years later!

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