A Lunch Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

By Robert Goldman

September 19, 2019 5 min read

I congratulate you!

You've become an expert at how to avoid work at work. No matter how many assignments you have or how tight the deadlines are, you still manage to fritter away most of the workday.

Yes, you're a good little fritterer, but you're not perfect. Why? You fight the system between nine and five, goofing off when you should be getting on, but when it comes to lunch hour, you fold. Like all corporate pawns, you waste this restful hour, looking at clouds or waiting in line at a Michelin-starred taco truck. You spoil a perfectly good lunch hour by actually having lunch.

Should you be ashamed? Definitely. According to The Washington Post, "60 percent of all working Americans will drop crumbs into their keyboards at midday."

What does the 60% know that you don't? They know that the time to have fun and play games is not during the lunch hour. It's during all the other hours of the day — hours for which you are getting paid. Letting your managers see you sitting at your desk chomping through the lunch hour will convince them that you are definitely working hard during the other seven hours.

Not everyone agrees. Consider Fritz Hahn, whose latest article in the Post is titled, "Don't spend lunch at your desk. Get out and explore great art, center your soul or learn to cook."

I don't think so.

There are ways to explore, center and learn without ever leaving the office. Let's extrapolate from his suggestions ways you can have the same wonderful and soulful experiences, right at your desk.

Ready to extrapolate? Read on.

No. 1: "Hear a concert in a sacred space."

"The pipe organ is a wonderful but often misunderstood instrument," Hahn writes, suggesting a soul-lifting visit to a lunchtime organ concert at a local church.

It is inspiring to listen to great music, but there's no reason to leave the office to achieve a sublime experience. Simply lay your head on your desktop, right between two JBL Everest DD67000 Tower Speakers (a tad pricey at $90K a pair, but shipping is free). Connect the speakers to your cellphone. Find a sensitive tune by your favorite Norwegian death metal band, and crank up the volume to the max. At first, your office mates might object, but you won't hear them — or anything else — for the remaining hours of the workday.

Now, that's the power of great music.

No. 2: "Be inspired by great art."

"The operating hours for most museums neatly overlap with office hours," Hahn writes, "but many major museums offer lunch-adjacent tours or talks, making it easier to grab some culture."

The problem with this idea is that everyone has a different definition of art. For some, it is Picasso. For others, it's the Snap-on tool catalog. Given your artistic sensitivity, it's unlikely that any museum will satisfy you unless it's the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, and that's in New Delhi — probably a little too far away for a lunchtime jaunt.

Fortunately, it's not necessary to leave your cubical to get inspired by great art.

A quick after-work visit to a nearby comic book store will send you back to the office with old masters, such as "Conan the Barbarian," and cutting-edge modern art, like "Dan the Unharmable."

Best of all, to appreciate this great art and still look like you're working, all you have to do is position your comic behind the largest HR manual you can find — just like you did with your geometry book in ninth grade.

No. 3: "Find inner peace."

Apparently there are short, lunchtime meditation and yoga classes one can take to achieve "centering and healing." Besides taking you out of the office during a critical hour of pretending to work, in what is probably the greatest understatement of all time, author Hahn writes that to slough off all the work craziness, "15 minutes aren't enough."

Fortunately, you can expand your consciousness without ever leaving your cube. Simply strip off your clothes and sit in a cross-legged lotus position for 60 minutes, or until the first co-worker screams.

Since not everyone is accustomed to seeing a body as perfect as yours, you may want to close your door. If you don't have a door, just visualize one. This will help with your meditation and streamline your way to nirvana or unemployment, whichever comes first.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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