Bob Sloth (not to be confused with Bob the Sloth, who lived in a tree down the street) woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. For Bob, the wrong side of the bed was not a metaphorical place. It was a very real place, and he had been waking up there with increasing frequency, to the point where he now felt his existence cleaving into two halves. Bob felt unsettled, though not quite horrified, by this development in his usually simple life.
To earn a living Bob sold vinyl siding, an act for which he despised himself. He didn’t have much choice in employment, though, given that the vinyl siding company (Cheap Siding, Inc.) was the only business still operating in his native town of Largesse (not to be confused with the town of Largest, located a few miles down the road, which despite its name enjoyed a modest but growing tourist economy based around its stature as the smallest town in the country).
Due to the bleak economic conditions in their town, most Largessians commuted to Largest, where they did shift work as actors in a continuously-running historical reenactment of the region’s settlement in the 1820s. The majority of the Largessians played roles as settlers of Largesse, for as actual citizens of that town they had keen insights into Largessian language and mannerisms. In fact, tourists often commented that the Largessian actors were the most authentic ones in the show. One would think that this might inspire the Largessians to take pride in their work, but it actually caused them to resent the citizens of Largest even more for profiting from Largessian history, for stealing the Largessians’ ancestral stories from them and then paying them low wages to act those stories out in front of gawking strangers.
[Thank you for your patience during this digression. However, the long-running feud between the citizenry of Largesse and Largest, while certainly interesting in its own right, is not the focus of this story, so let’s return with haste to Bob Sloth and his ongoing troubles.]
When Bob wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, he is almost always late to work, and when that happens his supervisor docks five percent of Bob’s sales commission for that day. Given the narrow margin between Bob’s earnings and his cost of living, this loss of wages can translate to the difference between eating three small meals per day and eating one large meal per day, for at least a week.
Today when Bob was driving hastily down the street on his way to work, his coffee sloshing all over the vinyl-covered dashboard of his truck, he was forced to a screeching halt when he encountered Bob the Sloth lying in the middle of the street. Bob immediately jumped out of the cab and rushed to Bob’s side.
Bob, Bob, are you okay, he whispered.
Bob the Sloth slowly raised his head and looked around. Hnnhhh, he said.
What’s that, Bob? I don’t speak sloth. Could you please repeat that in English? Bob asked, glancing at his watch and calculating in his head the chances of still getting to work on time.
With great effort, Bob the Sloth rose to a sitting position and scratched his head.
Sorry, Bob, he muttered, guess I fell asleep there in the middle of the road.
No problem, Bob S. said. I’m just glad you’re okay.
Bob Sloth rushed back to his truck and drove at top speed (42 mph/68 kmh) the rest of the way to work, barely making it to Cheap Siding, Inc. by 9 AM.
Bob’s boss Phil Hesher narrowed his eyes over his coffee mug as Bob lurched through the front door, breathing hard, his white dress shirt speckled with coffee stains.
Wake up on the wrong side of the bed again, Bob?
Bob’s eyes bugged out of his head and dangled in the air by their stalks.
How did you know, he gasped.
Phil just laughed and handed him his sales route for the day.
(This story is now over. Thank you for reading.)