I concurred.

"Anyways, to cut a long story short, Sisyphus was granted his remission. Not total remission of course, not for such a heinous crime. But the deal is that he gets eight out of every twenty-four hours to rest and catch up with his correspondence, heh heh heh, wash his hair or whatever, as long as the shortfall is made good by the rest of us. That was after much talk and some hard bargaining I can tell you. Ian Paisley can shout awful loud, and that Stringfellow could whinge the hind leg off a donkey. I was roped in to help divvy up the eight hours among humanity - that is those of us that live hereabouts. Even Hades had to accept there are limits to his jurisdiction and that other parts of the earth have different gods to please."

Intrigued now, I encouraged him to continue.

"I have to say we weren't at all keen on the proposal to start with, though once it was plain there would be no actual pushing of rocks involved... I mean, the main objective was that the activity has to be difficult and pointless. Once we had that fact grasped we realised we were already more than halfway there. What with housework and DIY, dieting and the quest for eternal youth, some of us positively embrace the task. So this is how we figured it out. You’ve got to remember, we're talking up unpleasant and pointless as benefits here."

His breathing quickened as he recalled his moment of glory.

"First and foremost we agreed there must be more pubs with cheaper drink and longer opening hours. This helps the police and everybody in the health service fill their quota. Of course the drunks themselves can hardly remember the half of it and have the same conversations night after night. Double points! The next idea was call centres. There are gains for everyone involved here." His wee thin-lipped mouth broke into a wide smile when I acknowledged the truth of this, and he became even more animated.

"Now this one I liked the subtlety of - expanding choice from everything from your washing powder, your energy supplier to your pension plan - they’re building on it all the time in case we go into deficit. There were a few minor diversions, like the paperless office, though Microsoft turned out to be an unexpected bonus. I’ve not noticed any less paperwork anywhere, have you?"

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