Chicago, IL-On Tuesday, a faceless and wholly beige employee with a productive cough was scene proudly riding the elevator down a single floor. The prospect of ten or so stairs proved too daunting for the person who spends the entirety of their day resting like cloth goiter from an outdated desk chair.
The rest of the elevator suffered in silence, a quiet rage settled in as the additional several seconds spent dropping the insect on his floor becomes an excruciating undertaking. Audible sighs were exchanged coupled with a ceremonial passive aggressive jamming of the close button in a futile attempt to humiliate the person enough into reconsidering their decision next time.
The employee remained predictably unaware, apparently having a me week, a me month, a me year. Gazing purposefully into a rousing game of bubble shooter. After the doors opened on their floor, the sick fuck looked almost surprised, as though they expected the elevator to somehow take longer, or drop him off in an unknown land. Uncertainty takes hold and more precious seconds dissolve as they grow inexplicably more confused.
Finally satisfied with the floor choice, the employee exited the elevator, to promptly become someone else’s burden.
Inspiring triumphs like slowly gating down a dozen concrete stairs certainly lie ahead for this person, just not today.
Chicago, IL-The office is by all accounts a minefield of mundanity, the prospect of triggering each godforsaken interaction somehow more dull and uninteresting than sitting at your desk and heaving another piece of digital waste into the collective corporate trash vortex. In fact, the fear of being emotionally maimed by another conversation involving elevator speed or low hanging fruit has caused most employees to spend the majority of their days methodically plotting to avoid any and all human interaction.
Though gazing unresponsively into your computer screen and looking vaguely constipated can be an effective method of maintaining solitude, certain bodily and professional necessities can force employees to wade into the treacherous sea of lukewarm tap water and eager mouths of forthcoming coworkers. Bathroom and water fountain trips are executed with the precision and discretion of Sean Connery escaping from Alcatraz.
Meetings are tentatively accepted, dreaded, rejected and re-scheduled until they are ultimately forgotten and mercifully disappear into an Outlook graveyard of irrelevance. Phone calls are gladly exchanged for a string of 200 frustrated emails which create a lifetime of resentment and bring neither party closer to any resolution. Though the outcome still is somehow more attractive than the thing that is dreaded most by any employee “Jumping on a call for a quick chat.”
No matter how exhausting the avoidance is, the alternative is exponentially worse.
Chicago, IL-An overdetailed work from home request that would have otherwise been promptly ignored, drew attention from several employees after noticing the graphic recounting of what had transpired to make the work from home a necessity.
“I ate a bowl of clam chowder that a homeless man offered me while I was trying to score some biker speed from a mutant ostrich under the overpass, long story short, I was puking out of my butt for twenty four straight hours, it’s all detailed in my work from home request if you reference that,” said Todd Mitchell, bringing up the calendar invite he had sent which details the happening in gruesome detail for the rest of his coworkers.
The calendar invitation was over 300 words long and contained pictures and illustrations of the toilet, which looked like a crime scene. All in an effort to validate a work from home that really needed no validation.
“I ended up describing everything in as much detail as possible, because a lot of people probably don’t really know what I mean when I say “shitting myself like the world was coming to an end”, hopefully they understand now,” continued Mitchell, comfortably watching The Price is Right for the third time.
Chicago, IL-On Monday, an employee who had spent Sunday like his last day on earth, decided to forego taking PTO and just gut it out. Bottomless mimosas at brunch had evolved into a flurry of Old Crow Whiskey shots and finally culminated in a goat shaped nitrous balloon and the butt bonging of a 24oz 120 minute IPA. But instead of taking a suspicious sick day or using a coveted PTO, Bill Naquin did something that will live in tedious corporate infamy until roughly Q4 of 2019.
“I figured that if I dug deep enough, I could find the courage to sit in a stationary position and stare at the blinking cursor of a word document for seven and a half hours,” said Naquin, recognizing that the task at hand wasn’t too much different from his normal daily routine.
Naquin’s ability to endure severe hangovers and remain continually ineffective at his job have landed him firmly in the world of corporate anonymity, as managers have noted his admirable adherence to the mantra: 90% of the job is just showing up.
“People should be really happy I legged this one out today, was touch and go for a while there after I skidded up my boxers while eating Panda Express. That cleanup ate up nearly half of the day! People seemed genuinely happy I was there though,” continued Naquin looking satisfyingly at an inbox full of unanswered emails, his coworkers looking on in horror at the sagging heap of skin crammed into the ergonomically correct desk chair.
Chicago, IL-On Thursday, an already stagnant conversation was mercifully put down like a sickly hound after an area dullard managed to muster arguably the most lukewarm joke in history. The discussion, which had all of the vigor and sophistication of the lips and buttholes comprising hotdog filler, involved an article that one of the parties had read online. Taking this is a que to wipe the drool from his chin and offer something utterly forgettable, Phillip Biggins sprang into action.
“So I says to her I says…”Yeah because if you read it online it HAS to be true!” That coupled with a well-timed eye roll and a self-satisfying grin gets them every time!” said Biggins of the woefully boring incident.
The statement that has functioned as a historical crutch for people with absolutely nothing to say, but still find themselves compelled to contribute.
“When I saw the polite smile and her visibly trying to think of an excuse for how to promptly exit the situation, I knew it was time to extend the joke by saying “Everything on the internet is true!”” continued Biggins, fondly recalling her sheepish smile, ripe with pity.
Biggins retreated to his studio apartment later that night and fell asleep by himself watching reruns of Two and a Half Men.
The thirty seconds spent in an elevator with the coworker that you’ve spent the last 3 years painstakingly growing to tolerate is the first ingredient toward any successful office panic attack. Because most days are spent in a ruthless game of calendar cat and mouse, as meetings are made and cancelled, double booked, or mysteriously vanish, all in an effort to drink in another moment of solitude, being held hostage in the confines of a steel gondola is less than ideal.
As you stand there hopelessly staring at your phone or the screen on the elevator wall displaying a TMZ story that broke a decade ago, you realize that the excruciating silence that accompanies trying to find a vague platitude to discuss is making your eyes bleed. However, in a moment of mundane clarity, you realize that a conversation about what day of the week it is may just be dull enough to satisfy the insatiable need for irrelevant noise.
….Tuesday huh? Heh
Oh yeah it is DEFINITELY Tuesday!
Yep…crazy that it’s Tuesday!
I know! Better than Monday though!
For sure…but I wish it was Friday!
Oh…Friday would be nice!
Working for the weekend!
The elevator doors mercifully open and both parties recede back into glorious silence.
Rockford, IL-On Tuesday, a man staring longingly into the microwave during his allotted 25 minute lunchbreak, which was taken dutifully at his desk, began wondering whether or not he could fit his head into the microwave and if it would take more or less time to cook than his low-fat glazed turkey tenderloin Lean Cuisine.
Two minutes and thirty seconds was sufficient to reanimate the glacier like fragments of abused turkey meat, flanked by a first harvest vegetable medley, which was comparable in virility to the sagging face and balding head of the employee, but the presence of bones could provide difficulty for the decade old office microwave.
Just as the prospect began to seem feasible and, alarmingly enough, more pleasant than a return to his desk, the microwave rang…signifying that, the cardboard nutrition that would fuel him through another day of baseless meetings and vague incompetencies, was ready for consumption.
South Bend, IN-A tech company in Northern Indiana, already ripe with global brand influencers and other industry game changers with no discernible skills, hired what they believed to be the front runner of a new digital world order. Little did they know, a skill that he had been endorsed for over 12,000 times on LinkedIn, was not another ambiguous marketing proficiency to add to the team but rather indicated an aptitude for lengthy and colossal vape plumes.
“When you see a word like cloud capacity, you automatically think VP of something, hell you’d be smart to create a whole new division around something like that,” said the department head, furiously hacking away at another level of bubble shooter.
“Now knowing that cloud capacity indicates the overall size of a vape cloud he can make in one continuous blow, I’m putting ten people underneath him and giving him a corner office. Being a regional Northern Indiana Vape Champion and being a global brand ambassador/industry thought leadership influencer are essentially the same thing,” continued the head, completely unaware that the newly hired employee’s technological competence is limited to logging into his premium PornHub account.
Though the department remains in shambles, the enormous, passion fruit scented clouds remain a sight to behold.
Chicago, IL-On Monday, a generally incompetent coworker who had blown several deadlines prior and grossly mismanaged an entire project, smoothed things over by asking the candidate of their eventual wrath how their weekend was. Before the first sip of coffee of the morning was taken, the awkward interaction that would undoubtedly ruin the entire month was set into motion with an empty cordiality.
The sense of dread was already palpable as the contour of the coworker sidled into sight, casually adjacent to the end of the cubicle wall, its presence always suggested an unreasonable need or demand.
Neither had ever hinted at an even remote interest in the happenings of each other’s respective weekends which rendered the question even more unsettling. Like most office relationships, they tolerated each other at best and loathed each other at worst. Nonetheless the inquiry was made in a feeble attempt to camouflage incompetence with politeness and pacify the situation.
“Hiya,” said the coworker sheepishly, arms crossed over the top of the cube wall. “How was the weekend?” The shrillness of the question infuriating anyone within earshot.
Before a response could be mustered, a barrage of unclear, irresolvable and time sensitive demands rained down with reckless abandon. Like a swarm body blows in a prized fight chopping down the reigning champ and reducing him to a mound of bloody, whimpering flesh.
Fortunately because the soul crushing tasks were delivered after a vacant nicety, the coworker can retreat to her desk void of any remorse. In fact, encouraged by the start of a blossoming relationship.
Chicago, IL-The intricate history of humanity’s evolution in cultureless office environments just became even more nuanced. With desirable physical manifestations like stained teeth, poor posture, aggressive beigeness, smooth lifeless hands and deteriorating vision already mainstays in the transformation to crippled desk troll, this new evolutionary attribute is a game changer that could complete the transition to docile office lackey.
In a double blind placebo study conducted across indistinguishable digital entities in Chicago, it was found that most employees could completely evacuate themselves in less than 25 seconds. Comparatively time on spent on the crapper at home breached 10 minutes with regularity.
The difference of 9 minutes and 35 seconds is attributed to the paranoia that the other indifferent employees in the office would become aware of the prolonged absence and thus privy to the ruthless war being waged atop a nest of cheap toilet paper in stall three of an office bathroom. Assuming that all coworkers are constantly seeking an opportunity to envision someone they work with struggling on the can.
The fear of judgement for a bodily function, from a group of people that are forced to tolerate each other on a daily basis, has caused productivity to skyrocket across the city as the era of a leisurely pooping while doing 200 pages of Moby Dick is facing certain extinction.