Well, it’s Casual Friday again. The day when I can shuffle out of the shackles of my slacks (“Slackles”, if you will) and revel in the freedom of my jeans, tee shirt, and generic sneakers. As much as I love this day, it also causes me to heave a dramatic sigh. Of course, lots of things cause me to heave a dramatic sigh–not winning the 50-50 raffle, someone taking the parking spot I consider “mine”, the soft drink machine being out of Coke Zero and having to settle for Diet Coke–but this is a special kind of sigh. For while on this one day I can cast off my oppressive business casual garb, I know Monday will bring slacks and blouses and trouser socks. I long for more autonomy in my apparel, but alas (insert dramatic sigh) it is not meant to be. However, I do try to be subversive about how I present myself. I normally don’t wear makeup to work, and I don’t wear a lot of jewelry. I do wear lots of black–head to toe, all black– and I usually have my coppery hair pulled into a tight bun. I’m going for the severe schoolmarm look. But on Casual Friday, whoo boy. Even though I’m wearing jeans and a t-shirt, I try to look fly as hell. Cute, butt-hugging jeans, charming shirt, coordinating jewelry, a full face of makeup and a stylin’ coif. My goal is to look as miserable and wretched as possible during the rest of the week so that on Friday, those in authority will notice the striking difference in my appearance and be dazzled by the change. So much dazzled that they abolish the business casual dress code and let us wear jeans every day again.
“Wow, look at Finch today! She’s so vibrant! Whatever could be the cause of this dramatic change? Oh, it must be the joy emanating from her as she basks in the freedom to wear comfortable clothes! Now we see the errors of our ways!” (Yes, they will exclaim everything.)
I think my plan would work too, if it weren’t for Dave. He sits in the same cubicle as I do. Frickin’ Dave. He wears a suit on Fridays. He wears a suit every day. And a tie. The jerk. I saw him wearing cufflinks today. We work in a call center. None of our management wears suits. The district manger does not wear a suit. One time, the CEO of our company came for a visit. He was not wearing a suit. But guess who was? That’s right– Frickin’ Dave. Frickin’ Dave’s hair always looks perfect. Frickin’ Dave always has a flawless tan. Frickin’ Dave smells like expensive cologne. One day, I think I’ll have to frickin’ cut Frickin’ Dave and then we’ll see how he feels about being a suck up, smug, well-dressed weasel. Your suits don’t look so fancy now, do they Dave, encrusted as they are with your own blood. Yes. Weep, Dave, for I have struck you and brought you low. You will wear jeans on Fridays. You will wear polo shirts and khakis and loafers the rest of the week. I swear, if I see you wear another tie to work Dave, I will yank said tie from your throat and flog you with it. Tie floggings are not so much about inflicting pain as they are about causing humiliation. And you don’t even want to know what I’ma do if I see you wearing cufflinks again. Muck up my Casual Friday, will you? I think not. Shoo…
So there was a crayfish/crawdad/effed up lobstrosity (whatever you want to call it) trundling its way across my parking lot like it aint no thang. I saw it, and my mind couldn’t even make sense of what I was seeing at first. It was just a blur of slimy grayness, movement and unspeakable horror. Felt like I’d stumbled into some sort of Lovecraftian nightmare. Then I slowly realized that what I was seeing was most likely a crawdad and not the spawn of a hideous shambler from the stars. Still, it doesn’t matter–crawdads are messed up looking.
And then, just when I thought I was safe, it turned toward me, its chitinous legs tapping over the pavement like the macabre fingernails of a disembodied yet somehow sentient hand!
I made sound of disgusted terror. “Eeurrgh!” is what it sounded like. I leaped backwards out of its insidious path and contemplated my options. Should I run? Is its vision based on movement? Does it smell fear? Can I step on it? I quickly nixed that last option–I was wearing thin canvas shoes and its pincers may be powerful enough to shear through the material should I fail to crush it the first time. Plus, if I crushed it, it would crunch, and crunch loudly. And just that sound would be enough to drive me to madness, let alone the fact that as it crunched and squished and crackled, that mess would be all up on my shoe. And then it would probably soak through to my foot. And then I would have to cut that foot off and soak the stump in bleach and purify it with fire and salt. That seemed like a bit too much to endure, and plus it seemed kind of mean to kill something just because it is ugly and terrifying and a blight upon the laws of Nature.
Finally, I realized the crawdad was not headed for me, but for the yard. I let it go on its merry way, but I kept a wary eye on it as I headed for my car, just in case its behavior was just a ruse to fool an unwitting human. I got in the car and locked the door. Yes, I locked the door to keep out a crawdad. How was I supposed to know what it would do if, say it was startled by the sound of my car starting? Mightn’t it fly, enraged, over to my car door, wrench it open and drag me out of my seat, intent upon devouring my still screaming face? I have no frame of reference for what an enraged crawdad might or mightn’t do.
“But crawdads don’t have wings,” you might say, pedantically pushing your glasses up on your nose. “So how could it ‘fly’ over to your car?” It could have had wings. It could have been mutated. You don’t know what it did or didn’t have–you weren’t there. So shut your face hole, Smuggy McGee.
I’m sorry about that. It was just a traumatizing experience, that’s all.
Then, when I got home, I scoured the parking lot and yard for any sign of the crawdad. I didn’t see it, but that don’t mean nothin’. It could be hiding. It could be creepin’ in the stairwell, waiting to lunge out and sever my Achilles’ tendons with its claws as I pass so it can feast at its leisure. It could be lurking at the threshold of my apartment. Or worse yet, I could make it into my apartment just fine and then think “Whew, everything’s fine I guess.” And then I’ll be chillin’ on the couch, updating my blog and then the phone will ring, and then a tentacle of trepidation will wrap around my heart. I’ll answer the phone: “Hello?” No answer. “Hello?” I say again, my voice shaking. And then, just as I’m about to hang up, I’ll hear heavy breathing. Then whatever sound a crawdad makes. “Cthulhu fthagn,” I assume. And then I’ll hang up and call the police and have them trace the call that I just got and the police phone operator will be like “Gurl, yu best be gettin outta there cuz da call be comin’ frum INSIDDA DA HOWSE! (police phone operator will be played by a LOLcat.) And I’ll hear that chitinous scrabbling sound from down at the end of the hallway and I’ll slowly turn, eyes widening in terror as I see the crawdad waiting for me underneath the hall light, holding a cell phone and chuckling evilly to itself. It’ll start skittering down the hallway, impossibly fast and I’ll scream as it reaches the end of the hallway and launches itself at my face, diabolical claws flailing about, and then the screen will jump to black and roll credits. You have just finished watching “The Crawdad Chaos: Cray-Crayfish”, starring me.
I work at a call center. In a tiny cube with three other sad sacks who can’t afford to quit. We are not high tech at this call center. We are exceedingly low tech, inasmuch as one of our operating systems, if it were a human, would be well past the legal drinking age in America. I mention this fact to let the reader know that we are not equipped with video phones or web conferencing or Skype or anything of the like that would allow us to visually communicate with the clients who call in to our call center. They cannot see us. I am heartily glad for this fact because it allows me to roll my eyes sarcastically, pantomime shooting myself in the head, and to enthusiastically flip off the client with any and all middle fingers available to me. As long as my voice is blandly pleasant, and as long as the client feels that I’m actually listening to what they say, I’m good. Not to belabor the point, but being a call center, our only contact with the clients is through the phone, which as aforementioned, are not video phones. No clients come in to the office. (Oh Hallelujah! Can I get an Amen?) They, at no point in time, see the people they are calling. The only people who ever see us are the other miserable wretches who inhabit this sinkhole and occasionally, the guy who fills up the soft drink machine.
So why in the name of bloody, spider infested, weasel phlegm coated Hell do I have to wear “business casual” attire?!?
I’m stuck wearing dress pants and a dress shirt and dress shoes nigh on every single day, for no apparent reason other than the fact that someone in HR decided that it makes us more productive. I’m surprised we aren’t required to wear dress underwear. I’d better not say that too loud–I’ll come in Monday morning to an email saying “In order to increase productivity, inspire morale and maximize the actualization of our corporate image, all employees are now required to wear business casual undergarments. No granny panties, no Sunday underwear (you know what we mean!) Anyone caught wearing undergarments in violation of the dress code will be sent home. And we sincerely hope they don’t get in an accident on the way home and have to go to the hospital. Not in those undergarments. What will the doctor think?”
I understand that we have to have some sort of rules on what we can wear to work. Unfortunately, some people must have been raised by wolves–blind, tasteless, uncouth wolves–and would come to work dressed in things that are all shabby, but no chic; or in things that are so ho-ish that a two dollar prostitute would scorn them. So yes, by all means–set some limits on what’s acceptable. But having to dress up like I’m off to broker some business meeting when in reality all I’m doing is staring forlornly out the window at the mocking view of the outside world until that dreaded “Beep” sounds in my headphones, is just too much.
As mentioned in a previous post, I keep my mind from running away into the void of oblivion, gibbering with tedium-induced insanity by imagining what I would do if I were a super villain. I would like to clarify that this is just speculation, and is in no way indicative of future plans or career arcs. In no way whatsoever. Whatsoever. Because that would be crazy, right? Right. Ha ha. Keeping that in mind, in part two of this post, I shall describe my ideas for wardrobing my super villain self. Topics covered will include the importance of establishing a brand, capes or no capes, and if black leather is stylish or so last season. Try not to expire from anticipation, dear readers. It’ll be hard, but I know you can make it. You are so strong.
Why does it seem like all of a sudden, the best way to name your child is to just to randomly dump consonants or vowels into a perfectly good name? I sat at work one day and came up with over one hundred different permutations of the name “Madison”. And I have probably seen at least half of those various spellings over the course of my career. It’s like people just reach into a Scrabble tile bag. “Ok child, your name is ‘Zqxugfb’.” Or they toss a handful of corn on a keyboard and let a chicken peck out a moniker. People are naming their kids like some kind of Lovecraftian deity. “Oh, those are my kids Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep. It’s ok– their name are supposed to be unpronounceable to human vocal capabilities.” I know that people want to be creative when naming their child, but if you go naming them something ridangdiculous, they’re never going to be able to find pens or pencils or coffee mugs or key chains with their name on it. They’re gonna have to go with the ones that say “They didn’t have your name”. And I’m not saying that your children will hate you for that, but I am saying that it will definitely be a deciding factor if it comes to choosing you a nursing home.
Oftentimes, I amuse myself at work by planning elaborate ways of becoming a super villain and taking over the world. Many components go into making a good super villain; outfits, witty banter, an arch nemesis with which to engage in the aforementioned witty banter, an appropriately evil laugh, etc. But one very important factor is your army. It can be minions, henchmen, a hoard of mercenary barbarians, or any number of things. The most important thing is that there be droves of them. Scads, even. Perchance a plethora if you’re feeling spunky. And they must be outfitted well. A common error in super villainy is under equipping your staff. If your underlings are getting mowed down by your foes like so many blades of grass before the whirring blades of a lawn tractor, it does not bode well for you. Not only is it expensive to replace human resources, but it’s bad for morale as well. And the last thing you want is a bunch of demotivated lackeys between you and your enemy.
That’s why I have figured out the one item that must be standard issue to all my troops: An attack unicorn. Hear me out. Picture that you’re one of my foes (if you’re already one of my foes–and you know who you are–this should be easy) and that you’re making a futile attempt to storm my lair. You’ve crossed the moat, defeated the Sphinx and her riddles, and solved the Rubik’s Cube of Eternal Frustration. Nothing left to do but defeat my hoard. Should be pretty simple–but hang on–what’s this now? What’s that crunching rumble that your hear fast approaching? Why it’s my henchmen, astride their titanium-clad attack unicorns. And that crunching sound is not the hooves of their steeds–it’s the tank treads of their steeds. Crushing beneath them the bones of other fools who dared oppose me. And does that majestic, rainbow-hued horn also double as a rocket launcher? You bet your sweet bippy it does. Oh, and how observant of you to notice that my attack unicorns have laser eyes. Most people would just assume that it was magic and wonder twinkling in those crimson orbs. Well, that’s partly correct–magic and wonder and lasers. And just a smidgin of pixie dust. Can’t forget that.
As you cower there–whimpering, soiling yourself profusely and ruing the day you ever thought to cross me– you notice the crowning achievement of my army. It’s my valiant and noble steed. You weep at its beauty. It’s not merely an attack unicorn–it’s an attack Pegasus unicorn. Its glittering wings blind you. It has the standard rocket launcher horn and laser eyes and tank treads in case of land maneuvers, but it also has an additional feature. That’s right, it breathes fire as well. Give up now, puny mortal. Your pathetic endeavor has failed and I have emerged victorious. I am triumphant. All shall love me and despair. Bwah ha ha ha!
… And then I realize that I have been cackling aloud at my cubicle, eliciting concerned and wary stares from my coworkers. I must return to my drudgery for now, at least until I can create a Kickstarter account to fund my attack-a-corns project. Sigh.
There is just nothing good to eat at my desk. Oh sure, I have popcorn, pretzels, a jar of chunky peanut butter (for dipping the aforementioned pretzels in), and like 3 different kinds of oatmeal, but I don’t have what I really want: MEAT.
Desk food is limited to sweets and salty snacks. I guess it’s because these kind of things have a relatively long shelf life. But I want more. I want it to be socially acceptable to have meat at your desk. And I’m not talking about jerky. That’s some of the nastiest, foul smelling, sorry excuse for a food product that I ever did see. It’s like someone de-joyed the meat instead of dehydrating it. So that’s right out. Same thing with tuna fish. I don’t know who ever convinced humans that eating tuna right out of the can is something that should occur, but let me tell you Brethren, you have been lied to. Tuna belongs in cassaroles, where it can be properly cooked and its funk concealed by noodles and a creamy sauce. And don’t get me started on Spam. Can you eat Spam raw? Does it require preparation? I don’t know. It’s in a can like tuna, and it’s ham. Is it like a canned lunch meat? If so, is there canned bologna? And if so, is it called Spaloney? (If not, I totally claim that product name.)
No, we need a desk meat revolution. I want to be able to open up my desk drawer and have a rotisserie chicken in there. On an actual rotisserie. A Rotiss-adex. Powered by little jars of canned heat. I’ll be singing Jamiroqai at work: “Got canned heat in my desk tonight baby! You know this chicken is for real!” Then I’d open another drawer and oh what is this folks? It’s a grill. It’s a grill with steaks. Everyone gather round, I’m servin’ up ribeyes offa my Steakler. Pull out the keyboard tray and bam, it’s a griddle. We are go for bacon. Yes, desk bacon: the best kind of bacon. Ok, yes I can toss some sausage on my Griddleboard; you only had to ask.
I’m sad now because when I return to work on Monday, I will have none of these wonderful things. My meat tooth will go unsatisified. But this is a wonderful country where any sort of harebrained food preparation product can hit the market. One day, one day, the Rotiss-adex, the Griddleboard and even the Steakler shall be mine. Sigh…