I’ll admit that pushing paper doesn’t have the same gritty-sounding edge as breaking bad, but that doesn’t make it any less of an exercise in futility. On this particular Monday, I had the good fortune to review and/or revise an After Action Report, a “fragmentary order”, an “operations order”, two separate requests for information, and several requests for echelons higher than me to pass information upwards through the chain of command. The only thing that really unifies all those efforts is that it’s helpful to be good with words and to know just where in the bowels of the organization something might need to go in order to have a prayer of being answered.
It’s an unfortunate skill that I seem to possess, at least in some limited quantity. If that’s the superpower I got, well, let’s just say I got the short end of whatever stick they were handing out that day. Oh, it pays the bills and keeps a roof over your head, sure enough. Still, it’s not exactly what anyone might call a passion project unless they’re into a deeply warped kind of S&M.
So we trudge on at this petty pace from day to day, fueled almost exclusively by over strong coffee and too little sleep. Until we grind down all the world’s forests to cover the globe with reams of paper carefully checked at the margins and printed in 12 point Arial. Even then, on that long coming day when the last report has been printed, the last order cut, and the last briefing printed… somehow there will still be paper left to push. Worse than a nightmare, this is real life.