I'm sure they had the best of intentions. I'm sure there was a committee, and the committee deliberated and discussed and compared and contrasted. I'm sure that every color, pattern, shape, size, and form in this cubicle farm I work in has been approved by three levels of management, every single one of them making more than I ever will. These are well-meaning people. Clear-thinking, level-headed types.

But they screwed up big time. And now we must all go mad.

Just in case you didn't know this before, if you try and judge what a carpet will look like by the one-foot-by-one-foot square that the salesman holds up, well, mistakes will be made, and, in the end, it's nobody's fault, is it? Everyone did the best they could.

This carpet is black, with beige, wiggly lines running down it, set off by a bright yellow streak along each edge. True, the yellow streak cuts through the optic nerve like a saw, but in the end it's the beige lines you must fear. The lines are set so close together that they transform an otherwise innocuous (if ugly) carpet into what amounts to a gigantic op art installation.

This carpet is alive. It crawls. It creeps. It shimmys. It shimmers. It twitches with an obscene, electric life of its own. It does a thousand fantastic dances in the corner of your eye. As you walk down the hall, the floor vibrates unbearably. People keep their watering eyes fixed on the walls or the ceiling, anywhere except on the horrible pattern which leaps from the carpet at every step.

Perhaps this is part of the plan. Malingerers will no longer loiter in the passageways. If you stay in your cube and keep your eyes on your screen, nobody gets hurt.

Squint, thou employees. Your carpet loves you.

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