Observe: A 20′ x 20′ square office space. Inside are crammed four, count ’em, four (4) human beings. (Yes, that count includes yours truly even though, technically, I don’t number myself among your kind. For the purposes of this post I’ll strive to be flexible.)
Our cast of characters (in order of office occupancy):
- Squealer (aka Boss) – Needs no introduction!
- Cow Orker – We were hired the same day but she has two weeks seniority on me because she was unemployed at the time and I lamely had to give two weeks notice to yet another shit for brains.
- Moi – Yours truly. The Guru of Negativity. The demotivational specialist.
- Coworker – The most recent addition to our team. A good egg and the only one (in our little Island of Misfit Toys) that I can trust and stand to be in the same room with.
So the other day I was hard at work doing my business when I was overcome by a feeling. I needed to go do my business. Although I should have known better, I perched myself on the throne without first checking to see that the room was stocked with all of the necessary accoutrement usually provided for said activity.
That was a mistake.
When finished, that’s when I finally reached for ye olde papier hygiénique.
Zilch! Nada! Bupkis!
So you think you can dance? I did the Ankle Pants Shuffle to the storage closet where, luckily, I found more. Viola!
I was angry. When I use the last of the roll, I do the decent thing and replace it. Doesn’t everyone? Apparently not. We live in a society, don’t we? Well, not at work we don’t.
I angrily decided, in my anger, to conduct an angry poll. Fittingly, in the name of research, I decided to start at the bottom. (Heh.)
First I approached the Cow Orker. “Did you use the last of the toilet paper and not replace it?”
“Non,” she replied. (Don’t ask me why there is so much Français in this post. I just feels like the right way to go.)
Next I asked the coworker the same thing. He also replied, “Non!”
Logically I was able to exclude myself. (If you’ll pardon my French.)
I studied the results of my poll. 75% of respondents indicated they did not do the deed. Of course, they could have been lying, but for the purposes of my study let us deem them trustworthy. Just this once.
What did it all mean? Naturally I wasn’t going to ask the boss. Since he doesn’t wash his hands after using the restroom I always give him a wide berth. And I don’t speak with him, either.
I finally decided the answer lay with a paraphrased Sherlock Holmes. “Once you have eliminated the imposible, the probable, no matter how disgusting, must be the truth.”
It was the boss who committed the foul deed. Like I needed more reasons to despise him. I’ve so many issues with the fellow that my baggage looks like the lost and found counter at United Airlines!
And this is the fucker who invited me to the yearly anal probing known as the work-related “Christmas Party?” An event where I’d rather eat my own eyeballs with chopsticks than attend? An invitation that is so awkward and socially unpalatable yet some remaining residue of social niceties denies me the gumption to deny outright?
If you work in an office with only four people and you decline the office Christmas party you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Under normal circumstances I’d happily make up a lie but in this case they’d simply pick new dates until it was beyond painfully obvious.
And, based on bitter experience, I know that you can’t simply decline. What do you think would happen? Would the boss say, “I’m sorry you can’t make it,” then let it go? Hells-to-the-motherfucking-no!!! Such a gambit would merely be the opening salvo in a full blown escalation of war that began with twenty questions and would only end when I finally agreed to go after all. Nothing would be accomplished. I’d still be going, things would be awkward, and we’d have traversed a painful exercise for no earthly reason.
One of the four can’t make it? Holy shit. What a message that would send. It would be interpreted as shot across the bow, which, of course, is exactly true.
So I’ll keep my mouth shut. I’ll give up an evening of my life to do something I hate. I’ll gag down some shitty food in the name of work relations. (It’s like having a gun to your head.) The boss has been talking all week about how he’s worried about the cost of the restaurant. He wants something that’s a good value and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money. And this is supposed to be some sort of appreciation for our work performance? Well, I think that jolly well explains how he feels about what we do.
Maybe there will be a Christmas miracle and I’ll be thrown from the car and run over repeatedly. I know that some people feel that dreams can come true. Maybe just this once?
You can’t say no because it’s socially unacceptable. We’re supposed to be a team. Albiet a team that quite literally does not cover each other’s asses. At least when the toilet paper is concerned.