Friday, November 20, 2009

Lookee What I Found Here

Look everybody, a post! I found it underneath my office chair the other day and decided to toss it up. Don’t know how the cleaning lady missed it.

Now don’t worry . . . nothing momentous has occurred in my placid, humdrum, steady-as-she-goes life since the last post. After all, how much can happen in, what is it now? Three years? Four? No ripples in this pond, my friends. No murder convictions or sex change operations yet for your old pal Schprockie. Just living the American dream, even without the standard SUV — er, Prius, I mean— parked in the driveway. Yes sir, just give me a La-Z-Boy, a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a TV remote with fresh batteries and this guy is good to go.

Wellll, maybe a few things have happened.

For a long time, things had been quiet at work, and when I say quiet, I mean really quiet. Graphic design is considered an “insecure business” — meaning, of course, that we are forever only as good as our last job, and accounts can come and go for the most whimsical of reasons. Client loyalty is the only thing we can hold on to or hope for, and sometimes all it takes is for someone to say the wrong thing, or a job to be mishandled, or a vendor to say something not very nice about us, and out the door we go. With the economy being what it is, and freelancers selling themselves for cheap on Craigslist (“You want brochure, Joe? I got lotsa colors, you come here, I make nice-nice long time.”), business has been decidedly slack. And the evidence was all around. In our office, stacks of blank time sheets formed ten foot columns by each desk as these desks’ occupants listlessly browsed the Internet and chuckled at inane YouTube videos. Tumbleweeds blew through the office, cobwebs formed on telephones, and the wind, the incessant wind, whistled its plaintive tune through desk chairs and printers and copiers. Each day was just like the next and we all grew gaunt and hollow-eyed, watching for the phone to ring whenever we weren’t Googling something. It was, as I said, really quiet.

Then one day last June, just after my coworker, Moonshadow, bagged the trash and prepared to haul the load downstairs, one of the bosses made a surprise early morning appearance and cordially asked Moonshadow to step into his sister’s (the other boss’s) office. The request was meant to sound offhand, light, friendly, but its very offhandedness, lightness and friendliness sounded ominous. I liked it not. I sat up in my office chair like a gopher poking its head out of a hole, sniffing the air, sensing that something was in the wind and it portended ill.

80 Hour Man and I exchanged glances. He too picked up on the vibe.

The theory was this: Moonshadow, God bless him, was never one to keep up appearances. If he had nothing to do, everyone knew he had nothing to do. He kept the monitor of his computer positioned in plain view and you could always tell when he was working or when he was watching “Strong Bad” on Homestar Runner. The worst of his failure to keep up appearances was this: when tired, he would stretch out on the rug behind his desk and take a little cat nap . . . which, to be honest, could be portrayed as a “power nap,” a recharging of the batteries if you will, something that would eventually boost productivity. However, lately he had been doing this a lot more, and it looked bad, so maybe that was the reason for this little chat.

Some fifteen minutes later, 80HM and I were summoned into the same office.

It turned out Moonshadow and fellow sometime blogger John H. were given the sack. Both of them, gone, just like that, victims of the economy. The explanation was that Moonshadow and John H, being younger, would stand the best chance of finding work, whereas neanderthals like 80HM and I would quickly find ourselves too young to collect social security and too old for everything else. So there it was, half our workforce decimated by the economy. Scary, scary stuff.

A week and a half later, five computers were stolen from our office. The thieves, having seen the window 80HM thoughtfully left open for them in his office and correctly deducing that no security system was operational, slipped in, snatched up every laptop in sight, and then, with a touch of dignity, used the stairs rather than the window to make their exit from the building. The next morning I was the first to arrive and nearly tripped over the discarded external drive they left in front of the elevator door. I called the police, sat down to calmly eat my breakfast and read my book, and then commenced a day I shall never care to repeat. First a police officer arrives. While answering questions, my boss (the sister) enters the office. Explanations, shock, rage, acceptance, a little more rage, some strategizing, then one last burst of rage from her. Detectives arrive, more questions. Off to the Apple store to acquire new equipment. Phone calls to clients explaining what happened, asking for deadline extensions. Thanking a powerful, merciful, most beneficent God that the server wasn’t stolen. Petitions to Him to save my company and save my job. Promises to proselytize heathen everywhere.

Since then it’s just been 80HM and me. 80HM is a good guy and I like him well enough, but he has a million annoying habits which I become more sensitive to with each passing day. I am thrown together with him Monday through Friday without the interposing personalities of other coworkers, so my exposure to him and all his endearing traits is unremitting and complete and without filter. I am reminded of one of Dante’s circles of Hell, where two old enemies are buried in ice up to their necks and one gnaws at the other’s head for all eternity. Some days it feels like that, though not nearly so much fun.

In other news, my 18-year-old daughter, Daughter Number 2, moved out of the house. She and a friend collected all her stuff during a work day, then DN2 returned home later to tell us she was out. Shock, rage, acceptance, a little more rage, some strategizing, then one last burst of rage from us. Two body piercings and several tattoos later, we still see her and things are cool, but boy, that sure took some adjusting. She’s an adult and all that, and she has every right to go off on her own, but it felt like she ran away. But what can you do? We help her any way we can.

Well, that’s about all I have time for. Thanks for coming by. I promise to be a better blogger right after I proselytize some heathen.

3 Comments:

Blogger LL said...

Wow... you're still alive. I was sure g_s had rubbed you out so that he could get his job back and chum around with 80 Hour Man...

As for DN2... well... erm... send her out here. I'll scare her straight for ya. :P

8:53 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

NOOO, Schprockie! He'll show her his sheep tattoo!

Glad to know you're still among the living. Sorry you don't have more work and less annoyance.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Beveridge D. Spenser said...

Glad to have you on the air again. Sorry about the circumstances, mostly for the other guys.

And daughter 2 will do fine out in the wide world - or we hunt the guy down and hurt him.

3:21 PM  

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