Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Short Fuse Chronicles - Pt. 2

There is a current blight on restaurant establishments. I’m not sure what’s so difficult about filling a cup, but I’ve encountered an endemic lack of drink lid etiquette. Or lidiquette. There’s a series of escalating offenses, which I’ll enumerate with all the arraigning heat I can muster.

  • Third Degree LD (Lidiquette Deficiency) – Also known as Negligent Pantslaughter. It entails the offender carelessly filling the drink, letting soda drip all over the sides so that there is no safe way to hold the cup. Studies show that the messier the cup, the less inclined the offender is to offer napkins to clean up their mess. It almost always results in a beverage-to-clothing transfer, which makes yours truly look like he soiled himself. It also assures an afternoon of sticky handshakes.

  • Second Degree LD – The Overfill. Do not mistake a food worker’s inattentiveness for generosity. The only reason you received 44+ ounces is because Maggie Methhead was recounting her weekend exploits at the county jail to her coworkers. Said transgressors should probably be barred from drawing their children a bath. Without fail, cups filled to the brim overflow onto the lid after the drinking straw is employed, creating an unwelcome, carbonated reservoir susceptible to spills. And who doesn’t love the oh-so-graceful lid slurp?

  • First Degree LD – The ISL (Improperly Secured Lid). The ISL is the gravest of all drink trespasses and warrants criminal lidigation. Cue laugh track. In all seriousness, nothing can get me fired up faster than a false gesture of security. In true psych! fashion, the ISL reveals its injurious nature approximately 0.5 seconds after the drink hand-off. The truly priceless moment occurs just after the cup's contents soak your crotch. The worker stares at you with an expression saying Whaa happened? like it was entirely your fault.
There are 3 words that make me cringe like no other. You’ve all been there, sitting and enjoying a nice family dinner while watching Everybody Loves Raymond reruns, completely unaware of your immanent danger. And then you recognize a familiar whistling ditty and you think “No, not again. Not now!” Then those 3 words break into your home and pillage the innocence of your Cleaveresque family unit. Natural male enhancement. Record scratch. Is there anything more awkward? Nothing can kill a family time vibe like an ED prescription commercial. It’s hard enough for parents to explain to their kids where babies come from, let alone why Bob can’t keep from smiling. How many first dates meeting the parents have been ruined by the endless marketing for pecker pills? Fathers attempting to suppress the eagerness of their daughter’s date find their threats supplanted with a call for more libido. Is that really a pressing concern for humans in general? In rebuttal, I submit as Exhibit A the population of Calcutta. Do they have NME (I can’t bring myself to type it again) in India? The numbers speak otherwise. And the longstanding incumbent Viagra apparently just isn’t doing the trick anymore. It doesn’t matter if it’s Levitra, Cialis, Enzyte or Dr. Weinerstein’s Wang Bang Juice. The sheer volume of pills attests to their obvious inefficacy. If they did work, half of America would walk around with carpet rolls stowed away in their pants, because men don’t know when to stop feeding their locker room insecurities. And it’s fitting, I suppose, that priapism is a common side effect (if not the consequence of what I’m sure is frequent overdose). You want libido? You’ve got it… for 24 hours. Have fun and avoid all casual and professional settings, as well as loose fitting clothing.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Blackbird Fly

Yesterday at work began like any other day, that is, until I overheard someone telling our manager that there was a “big, black bird” in the office. Being the nosy concerned person that I am, I had to investigate this development and personally assess the situation. There were two assumptions that I made upon hearing the bird news, (1) that the bird had flown into our lobby through the front door and was therefore a public concern, and (2) despite rumors of bulk, any blackbird would be easily herded back through the front door. After craning my neck through a few windows, birdzilla was nowhere to be found. It appeared that his reputation and nuisance were grossly exaggerated.

A bit deflated, I joined the coworker who voiced the complaint, only to find her staring at a gaping hole in our ceiling. Two ceiling tiles had been moved on account of a leak and there, perched on a cubicle wall two feet from my head, was the biggest ass pigeon (BAP) I’d ever seen in my life. For the record, BAP was not black but a very dark gray. But critiquing someone’s capacity to recount details took a back seat to the task set before us, that of depigeoning the office. You would think it not too difficult to persuade our guest that he had not happened upon a new, suitable habitat. But BAP was oblivious to that which was apparent to the prairie-dogging heads of every coworker tipped off by his arrival. He simply did not belong in cubicle world, a fact proven by everyone’s immediate and decisive revulsion.

As an aside, Wal-Mart could take a page out of our book. I’ve noticed that their cathedral-like ceilings have enabled avian squatters. I can coexist with nature like anyone else, but I highly doubt that your hourly mistings can effectively cleanse the produce of bird shit. Be it a sonic frequency emitter or a pre-recorded loop of birds of prey, a little action on your part can prevent citrus from becoming shitrus.

Thus, what ensued was a good half hour of chasing the big ass pigeon from one end of the office to the other, in the hopes that he would see the light of an opened door. The constant flutter of wings and the characteristic pigeon cooing preceded heads dropping and several Oh Jesus!! and Oh my gawd!!s. What began as mildly entertaining quickly devolved into an annoying and unproductive marathon of animal control. Here is a sampling of a few ineffective techniques:

  1. Hands up in the air in mock surrender (given that there’s a 2-3 feet between fingertips and ceiling that he can fly over)

  2. Hands up in the air holding a jacket / sweater / tarp to give the appearance of a larger, more threatening predator

  3. Making the Tch tch tch (or however you transcribe the inhaling, pet-beckoning noise people make) You’re okay… Pretty bird… tch tch tch

After several rounds of this nonsense and an oddly sympathetic smack into window glass, it was evident that none of us were bird whisperers. All the hours I’ve logged watching Animal Planet yielded nothing of benefit for Operation Office Oust. Our best bet was to try and frighten this thing into freedom. So the delegation began, and coworkers took to their posts. I can’t say that there was a method to the madness, but for some reason jumping and frantic waving of the arms sent BAP in an opposite direction. Somewhere along the way I had time to snap a few low-res cell phone pics of the feathery fiasco, which I say is a testament to the duration of the humans/animal kingdom standoff and in no way indicts me of a lack of team spirit. Eventually, BAP saw the light through the glassy alcove on the west end of the building. His freedom immanent, he endured another unceremonious faceplant into the glass, a premature celebration perhaps, before yours truly shepherded him through the door, his flight path following a rather wobbly trajectory.

Returning to an industrious state of mind proved to be problematic. A hilarious sequence of events, yes, but germ paranoia quickly erupted. Is there poop on my desk? Is there poop on me? Several hand washings commenced, followed by full body baths in hand-sanitizer. Those weathering the stressors of their normal workday found themselves now preoccupied with CDC’s report on the immanence of Avian flu.

In retrospect, the morning’s antics had all the makings of a great video montage. Despite the misnomer, I found myself humming The Beatles’ Blackbird and trying to invent a witty revision to the lyrics. Striking out, I figured that the original song was funnier. McCartney’s rising-above-adversity subtext was all it took to transform the office hullabaloo into pigeon empowerment. Take these broken wings and learn to fly… All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Hero Falls

Designer of the Pringles packaging system, Fredric J. Baur, died May 4th at a hospital in his home town of Cincinnati. In commemoration of his life’s work, Baur’s wishes were that a portion of his remains be buried in one of his iconic tubular canisters. Memorial services were restricted to family and coworkers and experienced a temporary delay due to the need to empty the cardboard urn of crumbs. Excess ashes were raffled off as mementos in commemorative Snack Stacks.

Proctor & Gamble catered the family meal, which according to some sources lacked a lot to be desired. In addition to the potato crisps, attendees partook of various P&G products, including Head & Shoulders, Noxzema, Eukanuba, Tampax, Vicks and Swiffer. Said one distant uncle, “I think I’ll pass on the Folgers and try the Febreze.” Reflecting on her father’s long-standing heart condition, Linda Baur stated, “Once it stops, you just drop.” She then wiped her tearful face with a Puffs Plus tissue.

In efforts to lighten the mood, Mr. Julius Pringles, the company mascot, appeared in big head fashion, spreading good morale and Grab and Go! packs. A mechanical bull was also present graveside, which appeared to be in celebration of the potato crisp’s unique hyperbolic paraboloid saddle shape, though it was hardly used. Chairman and CEO A.G. Lafley commented, “This is no laughing matter. This is a funeral, not a company picnic. What idiot planned this thing?”

In memoriam, Pringles has announced 2 additional flavors to hit the 2008 summer market:

Sour Cremains ‘N Urnion
Kickin’ the Bucket BBQ