The main ideas of this short piece of writing are “being forced to do nothing” and “doing things that produce nothing” (We’ll talk about carrots and etc. a tad later)
Imagine a job in which the occupants (employees)are paid for things they don’t do. You arrive early in the morning, prepare your coffee and sit behind your desk, stretching your fingers… getting ready to play finger tap dance on your desk. You turn on your computer and stare at the blank screen. Muscle memory is a weird thing… Perhaps it’s the buzzing sound of the motherboard fan that calms you down. Your coffee gets cold due to inattention. You brew another one nevertheless. You check the huge clock on the wall. You hear the ticking sound but the hands seem paralyzed, moving maybe an inch once in every hour. Then, comes the lunch break, you quickly rush to the hot dog stand in the corner and get your usual frankfurter. You hurry up the steps into your office and check the time once again . There’s still an hour for the lunch break to end, but you find yourself sitting in your chair, munching on your sandwich. Perhaps, it’s the only different thing you do in your office all day and that’s why you want to spend some quality time there. The lunch break ends and you hear a soft knock on the door. It’s the boss’ secretary. She is holding a huge jar of peas. The boss wants you to count the peas in the jar, categorize them according to their size and color… and recount them. You have stopped complaining about the uselessness of these types of errands long ago. You can easily guess the answer you’re going to have: “Peas are different from carrots and that’s why they have to be categorized and counted.” The response you get, will make no sense as you’re not even in the food industry. Correction! It won’t make sense even if you’re in the food business. You count half of them and record your findings on a sheet of paper, add some more numbers to each total as if you have counted them all. A weird smirk of accomplishment settles onto your face. You return the jar back to the secretary, who tells you that a colleague of yours will double check it. You smile as you know he will agree with you in the end. He always does.
Now… about the title. When you are stuck between a paradox of having to do nothing and working like mad on something useless, your mind becomes creative. You start thinking like a philosopher, questioning life in every way you can and when you’ve run out of ideas that are logical, you pick on totally different concepts and think over them, making meaningless connections in search for the meaning of life.
So, carrots, toothbrushes and eternity… I challenge you to find connections and answer an eternal question. “What is life?”
Hint: Toothbrushes are used for cleaning teeth…