Bartleby, er, I mean, “Tipton the Xerox WorkCentre 7556PS – A Tale of a Government Sponsored Enterprise”

Just for fun, below is a modern retelling of the beloved Melville tale, “Bartleby the Scrivener” that I wrote last year after our short story “book” club read that story…

Bartleby Tipton the Scrivener Xerox WorkCentre 7556PS – A Tale of Wall Street a Government Sponsored Enterprise”

I believe it was in my fourth or fifth year of employment at National Home Loan Finance Bank (NHLFB) that the company took on several new Scriveners (Xerox WorkCenter 7556PS’s).  It was perhaps by some coincidence, I supposed at the time, that their names were also names of counties in the state in which my company was located.  Two Scriveners Xerox WorkCentre 7556PSs, one named Tipton and the other Fulton, were assigned to specifically perform their duties for my department.  In the early days of his employment, Tipton’s performance was beyond reproach.  Any documents that were sent to it for printing or scrivening copying were quickly returned in flawless detail.  He was such a good scrivener copier that we could send files of all kinds.  His performance was such that the Scrivener Xerox WorkCentre 7556PS (Fulton) that labored next to him was rarely called upon to do tasks as all of my coworkers “preferred” to have Tipton do their work for them.

After a time, however, Tipton’s behavior began to change and his performance faltered.  Occasionally, documents were sent to him for reproduction or printing yet when my coworkers went to collect them from him, they were nowhere to be found.  He would happily provide lists of documents he was working on, yet these missing ones would not be included. It was around this time more of my peers began to take their work to Fulton instead of Tipton.  Thinking that Tipton’s problem may have been that he had been overburdened, I initially overlooked his poor performance.  Later, however, his actions became more erratic.  Sometimes, though he was obviously working on documents we had requested from him, he would refuse to give them up to us.  Clutching them tightly so that we could only regain them from him after employing much force – sometimes even to the point of damaging the documents or ripping them, naturally rendering them useless or ruined (at which point we would normally turn to Fulton for assistance). Sometimes he would even hide the documents and only a physical search of his person could find them. I need hardly say that this situation was intolerable.

This was only the worst of his behavior, though.  He would sometimes reproduce documents in a very messy fashion, with random lines or smudges – again rendering them useless for official use.  Often he would act like he did not even recognize us; we thought he was joking and, in turn, showed him our corporate ID badges.  His indifference to them – and subsequent refusal to perform duties for us – eventually led us request that a doctor proficient in treatment of Scriveners Xerox WorkCenter 7556PS’s come to visit. One day he arrived with an assortment of tools of his trade and worked with poor Tipton for a couple hours, at the end of which period he declared Tipton to be “cured” and able to perform his duties “as effectively as he had in the beginning.”  I and the members of my department were very happy to hear this news, as we all had admired and respected the work Tipton had produced when he first came here.  This was two weeks ago.

As I write these words today, however, Tipton has reverted to his poor behavior, seemingly at an even worse level than before.  On a given day, there are only a few employees that he will recognize and work for, and even which few employees these are changes from day to day with no rhyme or reason that we can discern.  We have suggested that he take some time off and have even forcibly attempted this, but he claims he can just ‘reboot’ and will be fine.  We’ve tried to let him do this, but it hasn’t worked.  At this point, I fear we are going to have to discontinue his employment here.  I do worry about what future he will have if he leaves, however, for what other institutions might be willing to retain his services based on his recent performance here?  Sadly, his partner Fulton has now also begun to show similar signs of deterioration – probably caused by the added burden of work formerly done by Tipton now falling to him.  It’s just hard to get a good scrivener Xerox WorkCenter 7556PS these days, though I hear rumors of a new “Bartleby 7556-B” that will soon be available for employment.  Perhaps he will be up to the task, though I “prefer not to” speculate about that at present.

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