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Clean Your Messy Desk, Lest Ye Be Judged

Clean Your Messy Desk, Lest Ye Be Judged
Illustration by Andrew Joyner

Matt Lucas works at a desk that’s covered with origami paper cranes made out of Black Jack gum wrappers. There are probably over 150 of them, collecting under his computer monitor and spilling out all over the place. “I chew gum compulsively at work,” Lucas says, “I don’t know why. I am obviously extremely nervous at work, or I wouldn’t be doing this. I’ve glued some of them into a chain.” Lucas works in a small, windowless room with two other people at Portland State University’s student health center. The cranes compete for desk space among piles of paper, coffee cups, and a Vincent Price doll. He has received complaints.

“If I’m gone for a day, I’ll come back and my desk will be mysteriously cleaner,” he says. One of his co-workers is extremely “finicky” about cleanliness, he says, and although she’s never said anything to Lucas directly, he knows that the origami pile bothers her. One time he came to work and found all of his paper cranes stuffed in a drawer.