Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Day 3: Otherwise known as Day 1, squared

Wednesday began, as do so many others, at 12 midnight. I had just put down "A Complaint Free World," by Will Bowen. And then I went to sleep. So far, I had made it into the third day of our participatory challenge, knowing that scores, soon to be hundreds, were following my progress in trying to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping.

I had failed my readers and myself the day before with a hysterical rant that put an end to more than 24 hours without a complaint. I knew that many were cheering me on and that others were deriving obscene pleasure from my trials.

Our publishing operations were running at full tilt, holiday orders were waiting for attention, and we lost a valued employee and were training a replacement. I planned to pretty much lock myself into the office and churn out some work, thus avoiding any stimuli that might tempt me to complain.

So how tough could it be? The city council was preparing to vote on an insanely flawed plan to draw legislative districts, but it was easy enough to avoid complaining about that. With litigation underway, no unilateral action by the council could have any bearing on the outcome of the lawsuit.

The new hire had proved to be an amazingly quick learner and wouldn't be working this day, anyway. After more than a year, the publishing operations were providing fewer and fewer annoying glitches. What could go wrong?

Ah, grasshopper. I made it to 3 o'clock before complaining. Interestingly, our major supplier made a visit, taking me to lunch at New Albany's finest gustatorium. That same supplier had failed to deliver our shipment today, subjecting all of us to the embarrassment of being unable to deliver promised product. And still, I did not complain. It was an altogether pleasant day with few provocations. I didn't even almost get killed walking to work.

Then my rep gave me some news. It's none of your business, but it involved an old wound, and I complained. Needlessly, but apparently instinctively. The wound has obviously not healed. Later in the evening, while lamenting the demise of another eatery and sharing the quite possibly tremendous news about who might step into the breach at the corner of Bank and Market, I complained again, without intent, but clearly.

For the record, I'm counting each day, not each complaint. So the running tab is two (2) complaint days. Now it gets interesting. Each time I complain, the discount on the book will double. Two more complaints and we reach the over-under number. One patron has locked in the 4.5 complaints discount, demonstrating support for my challenge. At least one other is holding out for the highest discount of 32 percent.

So, we begin again. Day 4 becomes Day 1 to the third power. See you tomorrow night.

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