DeWayne's World - I'm a serial mess, but I'll change, soon

DeWayne Bartels

I like being in the office of Jean Meyer, the curator of the Metamora Courthouse.

His office is a mess. I’m comfortable in there. My boss, Jeanette Kendall, would go crazy in there.

I’m going to take her in there one day just to watch her eyes bug out. I’ll then quickly have to take her to the office of Metamora Police Chief Mike Todd, which is immaculate, to get her heart back into a normal rhythm.

I mention this because after a recent vacation I arrived back at the office to find my desk had been cleaned up. My overflowing wastebasket had been emptied. My computer desktop was organized.

Jeanette had reached her breaking point. I knew a lecture was coming my way. It did. The woman in her chair before her tried to get me to clean up my act, too. She failed.

You’ve heard of serial murderers. I’m a serial mess.

I knew something like this was coming because awhile back along with the rest of the TimesNewspapers editorial staff I sat through almost four hours of training on different subjects.

One was time management. Under that topic the subject of organized desks came up.  

“Whoop-de-do,” I thought to myself. “Here it comes.”

They showed a picture of an extremely messy desk.

“How did you get a picture of DeWayne’s desk?” one of my organization-at-all-costs obsessed co-workers asked.

I’m sure when whoever said it said that they did not have a hair out of place and their shoes were spit-shined to a glossy finish so fine my eyes would have hurt had I looked their direction.

It’s a form of bigotry I have become accustomed to. My co-workers — who go through work lives of perfect organization with phones that are not crusted with dry mustard and never run across a six-month-old cookie on their desk — constantly harass me about my work area.

This abuse is something I usually bear in silence. The snide remarks, however, do hurt. I usually go in the bathroom — racked in emotional pain at the cruelty being inflicted on my psyche — to cry.

But, I persevere. I have not let the constant looks of disgust, the remarks or the threats to have the fire marshal execute me for creating a fire hazard deter my ways. I have always said I would not bow to the pressure. I would overcome.

Tom Batters, our sports editor, has a desk right next to mine.

He’s the worst offender. He makes comments about the 63 cans on my desk.

And, when I begin to cry under the strain of his cruelty he doesn’t offer me a tissue. He doesn’t even look up to acknowledge my pain as he shines his belt buckle for the fifth time.

And, Holly Richrath — the roving reporter who covers Germantown Hills Village Board for me — is not much better.

She keeps her desk immaculate and when I turn around to talk to her about some issue she pushes herself away from her desk so that my eyes are burned by the shine coming off the freshly polished drawer handles on her immaculate desk.

All this was on my mind as the trainer explained that new habits can be attained within 21 days if a person sticks with it. Really, only 21 days?

I’ve been convinced to change my ways.

I’m on my way to a new more organized work station.

I always thought being messy was just part of my makeup, something that makes me unique.  But, no, I can change.

I have a couple of other habits I need to change.

I’m going to change to being right-handed. So, I will spend 21 days writing right-handed. Then, I’m going to tackle all that eye-blinking I do all day.

In 42 short days my life will be so much more organized that I bet I can be in three places at once. I’m going to get on that as soon as a I find my calendar. I know it’s in here somewhere.