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Thursday, March 11, 2004

As some of you know, a lightbulb company employs me and a random number of monkeys to type up Hamlet. We punch in every morning at 8:30 AM sharp, sip on some tea while exchanging pleasantries with the engineering baboons, log in to our computers and open the special Shakespeare database that records our daily progress.

Attached to each computer is the lightbulb we test. They don't provide manuscripts of Hamlet. Whenever we type a word in the correct direction (even a or I will do), the lightbulb lights up.

Unless it is a dud, in which case it is sent back to the factory to be stomped on by elephants.

I have a slight advantage over the monkeys because:

a. I read Hamlet in high school.

b. I watched the Mel Gibson Hamlet.

c. I attended a five-hour French performance of Hamlet at the Comédie Française.

d. I watched Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

e. I own a copy of Hamlet Coles Notes.

All this might seem unethical, but remember that "thought does not become a young woman." I assure you that I do not think at all while I am at work and therefore pose no risk whatsoever to the future efficiency of lightbulbs.

The monkeys, depending on which continent they call home, like to use fancy words such as morxiousness, happuity, viffinotion, and waquinapping. South American monkeys particularly like pobbingtonutional.

As I try to avoid thought - after all not a qualification for the position - I steer towards words like ligangulatoratory and frapazmastic.

Our plot devices generally emphasise the highlights of the Wittenburg Hamlet. Other lightbulb factories use the Krakow version or even the disputed Genovese Hamlet. Most Shakespearean scholars agree that Polonius only thrust the spoon into the pudding before the big sword fight, not after. Our factory therefore firmly upholds the Wittenburg Hamlet.

This week 27 of the lightbulbs I tested went to the elephant room while 2985 lightbulbs went on to a long shelf life in far-flung lightbulb specialty shops of the empire. I am not the most prolific lightbulb tester in the factory. Yet my retelling of Hamlet passes enough lightbulbs that the factory allows me to return day after day. And my meagre earnings do go a long way toward realizing my dream of purchasing a pencil.

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