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Thursday, 01 July
Movin' On Up

Tomorrow I officially start my new position as Emperor Of The Unlucky People at work, so today I sat down with S., who previously held the position and is herself moving up the job ladder to High Empress Of The Benighted Who Aren't Like Those Poor Fucks Who Have To Deal With Skot. It's hell to fit that on a business card.

I was a little nervous as the meeting was coming up, as I was getting some dire signals via email that I was in way over my head. One such signal was receiving no less than five baffling, incomprehensible Excel documents from yet another ancillary boss-thing, all of them with breezy notes saying, in effect, that the docs all spoke for themselves. Maybe they did, perhaps in Mandarin, but I wouldn't fucking know, because they were all impenetrable, dull, horrible things that I didn't begin to comprehend. My gut started to wheeze with misgiving, and it mumbled to me, You're fucked. Let's get out of here before they find out what a terrible fraud you are. My brain instantly responded: Gut's right. We're dead. Run like the dumb gerbil you are! Run, stupid!

But I did not run, because, Jesus, I need this job. So I did the only smart thing, and washed down some Xanax with a couple belts of whiskey from the bottle in my file cabinet. I immediately felt better, and thought, "I can do this. I will conquer my fears and be a leader. And then I will battle those flying space rabbits and bring peace to Planet Chondarr, which is my destiny as foretold from my youth by Madame Twice-Cutlet, who died too soon in that dune buggy accident."

I probably should have eaten something first, but you don't think of these things when you're so nervous. I went to S.'s office, and she warmly welcome me in. She assured me that it was perfectly normal to feel swamped and over my head.

"It took me months to get used to it," she explained, "even without the prodigious amounts of drugs and booze you apparently consume. You look a little pale. Do you want a cocktail?"

I lowed like a beaten cow. "God, yes, please. It feels like angry dwarves are clawing around in my skull looking for a way out. Either give me scotch or fucking trepan me. The little bastards!" I screamed piteously, and fitfully rapped my skull on her desktop for a while, demonstrating my agony, while S. flapped her hands like nervous birds.

"Coming up! Coming up!" Presently I was calmer, drink in hand, and S. began to tell me about my new and varied duties.

S. said, "Well, I don't have to tell you about the emails! You're going to get a ton of them now. You'll get used to it."

I doubted that. Where other employees, I had noticed, had impossibly subdivided their Outlook folders down to the most exacting criteria, mine still consisted of two main areas of interest: "Inbox," where I kept only those emails where it would be positively dangerous to ignore, and "Deleted Mail," where everything else went, particularly those which I found to be baffling, strange, or simply frightening. When it comes to email, I am of the school of thought that If I Can't See It, It Isn't There. Apparently, this happy state is about to be ruined. I was beginning to see this promotion as my own personal version of the Fall of Man.

S. continued. "Oh, and I have some Excel documents that I'll send you. Stuff like timesheets and all of that, which you'll need to track."

More great news. I understand that many people regard Excel documents as pretty ripping stuff, but I hate and fear that program. This was like hearing that she was going to be sending me exotic spiders from South America. I need Excel documents about as badly as I need the works of Ibsen methodically tattooed onto my asshole. I finished my drink. In my profound terror, S.'s words were beginning to lose cohesion.

"You want to remember to anoint yourself with corn oil," she seemed to say, while I slumped erratically in various non-Euclidean angles. "And when someone has a job issue, you stab them without thinking. Right in the guts."

"Twist that knife!" I screamed. "I'll hang their cocks on my wall!" S. seemed to understand, despite the fact that most of our employees are women. She was gentle.

"You're overwhelmed, which is understandable," she said soothingly. "You should go back to your office and hang out. We can pick this up tomorrow."

"Thanks," I gasped, totally unnerved. "Tomorrow. Then we'll pickaxe the lot of them."

I wobbled out of her office, and finally found my way to my chair. I sat heavily, and regarded Rick, my office piano player.

"You played it for her, you can play it for me," I said. "Play it."

Rick said, "What the fuck are you talking about? Who? Christ, you freak me out."

I wearily put a dollar into Rick's tip jar. "Just play 'Tarzan Boy' for me. Baltimora, he was the man. I want to hear 'Tarzan Boy.'"

Rick said, "That's the worst song ever written." He glumly began pecking out the melody. "I hate this job," he murmured ruefully.

"So do I," I whispered, reaching again for the whiskey. "So do I."


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Comments

His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;
For he himself is subject to his birth:
He may not, as unvalued persons do,
Carve for himself; for on his choice depends
The safety and health of this whole state;
And therefore must his choice be circumscribed
Unto the voice and yielding of that body
Whereof he is the head.
Hamlet 1:iii

And anyway, Excel is not so hard. The base level is, columns and rows, like a rehearsal schedule. The next level is, columns which can add themselvs up. Anything beyond that is too hard.

Comment number: 004911   Posted by: rachel on July 1, 2004 01:42 PM from IP: 198.81.26.45

Any post that references trepanation is a friend of mine. Although my husband thinks that is weird. But he married me anyway!

Oh, and timesheets are the work of the devil. I'm sorry that you have to deal with those. Ow.

Comment number: 004912   Posted by: Ombra on July 2, 2004 06:00 AM from IP: 68.35.234.161

Dammit. Now I have "Tarzan Boy" stuck in my head. That wasn't very nice.

Comment number: 004913   Posted by: Michelle on July 2, 2004 01:25 PM from IP: 4.158.189.214

You're scaring me. Can you please say what it is you do so that I can reassure myself I'll never have to face this torture?

I may have to get a job someday.

Comment number: 004914   Posted by: Miel on July 3, 2004 01:03 AM from IP: 151.203.67.119

(trying again... I somehow aborted my last comment mid-typing... or accidentally posted it, who the hell knows. Anyway, here it is again, complete.)

Anyway -- sorry, Skot. That'll teach me to try to search all of Shakespeare for JUST the right quote, with only three minutes before I run out the door. Your blog, which I thought could not possibly get more interesting, INSTANTLY got more interesting with the promotion. "Ah," I thought, "Somewhere in Hamlet, there's GOTTA be the perfect quote for this." So there I am, searching for "Power" and "Greatness" and "Thrust upon them" and "Take this cup away from me, I don't want to drink its poison" except now we're off into Jesus Christ Superstar and I'm WAY late, and up goes my post with some lame righteous view of Claudius.

Ah. I've got it. Calpurnia's dream, from Caesar.

A lioness hath whelped in the streets;
And graves have yawn'd, and yielded up their dead;
Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,
In ranks and squadrons and right form of war,
Which drizzled blood upon the Capitol;
The noise of battle hurtled in the air,
Horses did neigh, and dying men did groan,
And ghosts did shriek and squeal about the streets.
O Caesar! these things are beyond all use,
And I do fear them.

Comment number: 004915   Posted by: rachel on July 3, 2004 04:23 AM from IP: 172.197.68.4

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