Head down. You’re at work!

(But there are sooo many entertaining distractions ...)

Businessmen peering over businesswoman’s cubicle

Work! Let us sing its praises. Civilizations are built on it. Innovation depends on it.

Why, no less an authority than Henry Ford said, “Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind.”

Even in this festive season, when everything seems to slow down and the distractions are many and sparkly and eggnog-flavored, work must be done.

(Dear my editor,

See? I’m working! Tra la la, working like a fiend, writing like I get paid to do.



The holidays are no excuse. Work! Work is what we need! America wasn’t made great by YouTube videos!

(Here’s Maru the Japanese cat climbing a ladder: youtube.com/watch?v=3YK4apSy4no. I recently watched it twice when I should have been compiling the police blotter. Here’s another good one: youtube.com/watch?v=_BA0U8c7sbI. Finger break-dancing! A co-worker showed it to me, so that’s OK, right?)

To those with desk jobs, to those in front of computers, eyes forward! Heads down! Hands and minds busy! Computers are tools, not toys!

(And thanks to the tool of sporcle.com, I now know all the world capitals. Go ahead, ask me one. Swaziland? Mbabane. Dominica? Roseau. Sporcle.com is an entire website of quizzes.)

Yes, the temptation is great. There are many interesting things on the Internet.

(And funny ones, too! Fark.com is always amusing and badlipreading.tumblr.com is hilarious. Then there’s theoatmeal.com, engrish.com, lileks.tumblr.com and cakewrecks.com, as well as dogshaming.com.)

But do you want to get yanked into the wormhole, the veritable vortex, that is the productivity-sucking internet?

(Kind of.)

(Not really, my editor.)

(But yeah, kind of. You want to talk internet wormholes: buzzfeed.com, dearblankpleaseblank.com, wherecoolthingshappen.com. And that’s not even mentioning the ones with actual good, worthwhile information: metafilter.com, reddit.com/r/truereddit, longform.org.)

Be vigilant, America’s computer-using workforce! Is it any wonder that some employers have banned texting, Twitter and other social media in the workplace?

(No worries. That’s all distraction from the real business of playing Fruit Ninja, which is a free app, as are the weirdly addictive Flow Free, good ol’ Tetris, Open Sudoku, Abduction! and Wordfeud.)

No, we must all be more like those who don’t spend their days in front of the computer, who are out there doing Worthwhile Work. Real Work.

(Don’t worry. I don’t spend all my time in front of a computer. When I’m not technology-bound, there’s always:

Paper clip tiddlywinks: Played like regular tiddlywinks, except with paper clips, obviously. Holding one paper clip, push it against the edge of another paperclip lying flat on the desk. The point is to get that paper clip to jump as high as possible — possibly over the cubicle wall!

Draw a picture: This is the one where you, you know, draw a picture. I’d like to show you the picture of a hippo in a tub that I just drew, but if my editor is reading this, no such picture exists. For added challenge, ask one co-worker for a noun and another for an adjective, then put them together and draw it: carnivorous desk chair, perhaps, or angry computer.

Guess what I’m thinking: This one requires a willing co-worker to guess what you’re thinking.

The quarter-on-elbow game: For this game, touch your shoulder with your palm so that the underside of your forearm makes a sort of shelf. Put a quarter near your elbow, then drop your arm really fast and try to catch the quarter. Once you’ve mastered that, try it with two or three quarters.)

Woe betide the workers who don’t work! Christmas time is no excuse. Would Mr. Claus tolerate elves who sat around playing I Spy?

(I’d like to think he would.)

Would Santa tolerate a workforce distracted by Name That Tune?

(Ooh! That’s another good one, requiring a willing co-worker. Hum three notes of a Christmas carol. If they can’t name the song, hum four notes and now they owe you doughnuts. Keep increasing the number of notes hummed, and number of treats the co-worker has to bring the rest of the office as punishment for being such a Christmas carol amateur.)

No! America was built on hard work. Employers, crack the whip!

(Dear my editor,

Please don’t crack the whip. I bruise easily.



The holidays notwithstanding, the possibility of easy office entertainment/distraction notwithstanding, preach the reward, the absolute joy of hard work.

(And baby animals: zooborns.com.)


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