Nevada City, CA — Customer Support Specialist Brent Underwood pretended to read Ulysses during his lunch break at a local technology firm on Wednesday. He’s about half way through the book, although he hasn’t read a single page. He has been systematically staring at each page for an average 4 minutes to give others the impression that he’s actually reading the famous James Joyce novel.
“I really don’t like this,” commented a snarky Mr. Underwood, “but I want my co-workers to think I’m smart and know stuff. There’s just too many characters and too many Irish references.”
Ulysses is a modernist novel by Irish writer James Joyce. It is considered to be one of the most important works of modernist literature. It is approximately 265,000 words in length, uses a lexicon of 30,030 words (including proper names, plurals and various verb tenses), and is divided into eighteen episodes. Since publication, the book has attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual “Joyce Wars.”
According to his co-workers, Mr. Underwood makes a habit of reading the classics during his lunch break, however some can tell he’s not really reading the book.
“It’s like those lurkers down at Starbucks,” said co-worker and amateur wedding DJ Sam “DJ Sammy” Jackson in a Cooper telephone interview. “You know how they look over their laptops and books to ‘people watch?’ That’s how Brent is. If I catch him reading in his cubical, I’m gonna report him to his boss.”
As for Mr. Underwood, he’s all about picking up the girls.
“The girls like it when I quote things down at Mekka. There’s a lot of good quotey stuff in here, even though I don’t understand any of that Irish crap,” noted a cocky Mr. Underwood. “After this, I’ve got Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow lined up. The dickhead engineers at work will know I mean business.”