Saturday, January 07, 2006

Just a little story

It kind of sucks coming into work on the weekend, but I’m seeing myself take more of a shine to this oft cited, miserable quality of IT work. Sort of. Kind of. I’m not sure. Sitting here trying to un-jumble some thoughts, it seems like I do. But that’s not right, because I hate work, even when it’s work that I enjoy.

It’s the solitude of the off-hours. I fucking love it.

Work gets done faster and more efficiently, leaving me time to think without the din of sub-40 IQ’s ringing in my ear. I wonder how long it’s going to take before I cloister myself up in the hills or down in the desert and start churning out manifestos full-time. Actually, scratch that idea. I think I may be more suited to being a city hermit due to the fact that I need a good internet connection. How the hell else am I gonna get that poker fix during a manifesto break?

By the way, this rambling, incoherent tripe is brought to you by System of a Down. I particularly enjoy their music because it lines up nicely with how I think, never staying too long on one thought or tone. Kind of like trippin’ balls in a candy store; all you want to do is flit this way and that, grabbing a taste of everything. Too much of any one thing in such a condition leaves a person grossed out.

That’s what I hear, anyway. It also brings to mind a story of something odd but also pretty great. Just remember that even though it may be written in the first person, it wasn’t me, okay? Just make like I’m pulling some kind of insane writing shenanigans.


I was 18 and working at the box factory. Yes, you heard right. Box. Factory. Terrible place, but not too much different from other places in that the sub-40 IQ’s are still the same, they just come with beards, bad smells, and a lot less political correctness (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering the inherent nature of the evil beast that is being politically correct). Boot camp for learning what you DON’T want to be doing with the rest of your life. I simply consider it one of the many necessary steps in preparing for world mindshare domination.

It’s December 22, and everything in my little shitty space in the world is covered in freezing, blowing snow. My friends and I considered what to do. In a couple of days all of us would be shackled to spending time with our families, which at the time was an awful thing. What in the hell were we all going to do if we couldn’t hang out for three or four days? New Years Eve? Oh hell, you can’t bring that up, it’s a lifetime away. Let’s trip.

The last of the Alice in Wonderland on Humpty Dumpty. Merry Christmas to us.

After a few hours at my apartment, we decided to head over to Doug’s, because he had the high end surround sound that would provide an optimal Pink Floyd listening experience. Doug’s parents were rich, and oh yeah, he was good at selling drugs. A perfect picture of the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well in the heartland. I was working third shift at the time, and for the life of me I can’t recall exactly why I had off. I think it was comp time, or something along those lines. Who cares, really, it’s inconsequential. But for anyone that’s been there, you know what I’m talking about when I say that one can get confused on certain issues when under the influence.

It was the annual tradition of the company to give each and every employee a Christmas turkey or ham. They even let you choose. How’s that for magnanimous? They always handed out the free food to the coal faces on the 23rd. For some reason, I got it into my head that I had missed my free turkey that I would never actually cook, and began obsessing about it as though it were a crucial cog in the cosmic gears of my life. What the hell was I going to do? I certainly couldn’t spend the next 9 hours worrying about this. (Yes, 9 hours was about what we still had left on the ride, since we had previous confirmation by experience attesting to the potency)

Doug and I jumped into the car and headed out to get my fucking turkey (that I would never cook).

In our brave little metal bubble of a Camry, we braved the storm and finally arrived at the factory. Calling the 15 minute drive wild would be the understatement of the century. It would be kind of like calling Liberace “sort of gay.” WILD. Doug tried to learn to play on the giant rolling conveyer belts while I sought out my boss. The turkey I would never cook was going to be mine, come hell or high water.

“What the hell are you doing here,” he asked. “You don’t work till after Christmas.”

I stated matter-of-factly, “I came for my turkey.”

“We don’t give those out till the 23rd.”

“Yeah, I know, but c’mon man, I came all the way here.”

The look on his face confirmed that he indeed thought this was pretty odd. I think he may have been waiting for some sort of confirmation on facts that he must have intrinsically known, even if he didn’t want to admit it. Then, through breaking brain clouds, there was a moment of clarity.

“Well, it’s 3:30 AM, so technically it’s the 23rd, so you can go ahead and give me my turkey now. You won’t have to bother later this way.”

My cold and unerring logic had fucked him up enough that he just mumbled “OK” and went to get my free shit. Doug was really trying hard to learn how to balance on conveyers, so I decided not to bother him and head down to the break room and try to find one of the two or three cool folks there to talk to for a bit.

What I found was much cooler than any people I may have been looking for.

3rd shift holiday pot luck. All laid out nice and pretty for everyone to consume in, ummmm, welllll, geez, I figured about 30 minutes. It dawned on me that I was starving, having eaten nothing since about 9 PM. The mental stress of the journey there had really taken it out of me. There was sure to be more stress on the way back. Seeing no sense in stressing on an empty stomach, I had my excuse.

I went on a tasting frenzy.

When the smoke cleared and I was sated, it occurred on me that I had just done something I’d always wanted to do but never really thought I would. However in the process, I made a huge mess and fucked up a lot of food. I was a bit frantic and tried to remain calm as I headed back out to the main floor to see if my boss rounded up my stuff yet. If he didn’t, I was afraid I might have to bail. Being around when they discovered the war zone buffet would not be a good idea.

And there he was, holding my frozen bird, looking for me and looking stupefied. I muttered a giant thanks and no further explanation as I grabbed the swag and my fat friend and got the hell out of there. On the way back to the apartment, I related my tale of wonder, and while he agreed that it was kickass, Doug just shook his head.

“I can’t believe we just did all this for a frozen turkey that you won’t even cook.” Then he just laughed. “Never mind, yes I can.”

The album is over and so is my tale. Time to go home. Nice talkin’ to ya.