Space Opera With a Twist

Thoughts Upon a Fine Sunday

I was asked, the other day, if I had a biography ready to go, seeing as how I’m going to be retiring soon.  My employer is in the habit of sending out emails informing all and sundry of retirements (and the obligatory parties that go with them), and said emails contain the broad strokes of the individual’s career and accomplishments.  The same bio is often also read out at the retirement party to remind everyone what a splendid human being their soon to be ex-colleague is.  Turns out that I had a bio sitting idle on the home server, but it was the one drafted up for my departure from the Army a few years ago and didn’t really apply to my civilian job.  So, yesterday, I took some time out from gathering my motivation to write fiction and wrote a page devoted to a decidedly non-fictional character, i.e. me.  Since I’m known as someone who has a hard time taking the demented bureaucracy seriously, I found myself injecting some questionable humour into my life’s story, so as not to disappoint anyone, be it the folks who see me as disrespectful of a serious profession or those who find my irreverence a welcome change from the usual platitudes.  What struck me however, was how short I could make a 35 year working life seem – not even quite a full page.  I use more words to describe Gregor Pushkin making himself a coffee in Dunmoore’s ready room or Zack Decker falling in bed with his newest love interest.  It’s rather sad, if not a bit scary to realize that I’ve spent well more than half of my life without many notable accomplishments, living merely as a cog in a large machine, occasionally picking up a bit of grit to jam the gears momentarily.  If it weren’t for my unexpected success as a science-fiction writer, I’m not sure I’d have much to leave for posterity.  The day I walk out of my job next spring, my employer will already have replaced me and I’ll quickly be forgotten, all my efforts for the organization disappearing like the ripples left by a stone tossed into a still pond.  I’ve known people who define themselves almost entirely by their jobs or careers, something that I’ve never done, and I cannot imagine how they’d cope with retirement, let alone early retirement like I’m taking.  At least I’ve got my writing to keep me gainfully occupied once I toss aside the jacket and tie for good, a fourth career of sorts, if you like.  Though I won’t miss spending eight hours a day, five days a week in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy, I will miss the people I’ve worked with all these years.  Perhaps not all of them, but most of them.  The ones I won’t miss will no doubt return the favour, though they might find that whoever takes my place could be an even bigger pain in the butt than I was and without the sense of humour I’ve been able to keep through most of the idiocy that’s been thrown at me.  I’m not sure I’ll keep all of the irreverent quips in my bio, but I think I’ll leave in the one concerning my future goal of becoming a golf player rather than continue with my present hobby of making divots in perfectly good fairways.  It seems to be a reasonable metaphor for my working life: a constant attempt to get the ball downrange, but succeeding mostly in chasing it from side to side without making much headway.


  1. A. Lee Ripley

    Here’s hoping you keep at least a few good quips in there 😉

    • Eric Thomson

      I’ll try, especially since a little Mrs B told me you might be showing up at my retirement do.

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