As I was driving home from work today, I about lost my GOT-damned mind. Did you ever start imagining that you have telekinetic powers while you’re behind the wheel? You start flicking your fingers at the car in front of you, imagining that you’re throwing it off the road and crushing the chick driver who’s on her cell phone, putting lipstick on in the rearview mirror while driving so slow that she gets lapped by a fucking bee, under the weight of her own vehicle? Or that you could wrap the stop light you’re stuck at around the tank topped Mexican riding a bike with a banana seat across the street while carrying a lamp that’s longer than a fire engine ladder like some medieval Tijuana jouster? Or that you could simply make your car float up above all of the traffic and just drop derisive laughter and elephant shit out of your window on the mindless drones stuck in an endless Freudian loop of that Police song Synchronicity II? If there is a god, you can be sure that with the thoughts that come spewing out of MY noggin, he won’t be dishing out any super powers to me. You should hear what I’d do with invisibility or being able to tie my dick into a lasso.
As much fun as the downfall of civilized society through the use of my imaginary super powers may be, I know better than to start treating Harlem Avenue like my own personal demolition derby (mostly because I don’t have insurance…shhhh). I get angry in traffic, hell…everyone does, today however I was in rare form. I actually prayed to a god that I don’t believe in to make side mounted machine gun turrets and a silo of surface to Volvo missiles appear on my truck. So, why am I so fussy?
Therein lies my story.
As you all may well know, I work in the corporate retail equivalent of a cotton farm circa 1876. A few weeks ago, I was given praise by my plantation bosses for having a slightly better than mediocre month in sales for June. My reward for this fantastical feat of averageness? A fucking company picnic filled with other managers who have somewhat ok numbers to boast about. Having good sales in my company right now is like being the tallest midget.
I’ve been in the retail world for a long time, and I can tell you that the reward system at my current job is not only flawed…but biased. When I started, I was all gung ho because they would give out these great prizes to the winning managers. A new cell phone, an ACTUAL lunch, hell, sometimes they’d even give out vacations to Vegas or some place.
One of the first things I learned, however, is that the prizes weren’t based on merit…but location. If your store was in Cottage Grove? You were gonna make a shit load of money off the drug dealers buying ‘throw away’ phones for their crew. If your store was in Burbank? You were gonna make SHIT…because your only customers were either 131 year old men coming in to buy a 2 dollar fuse for their pace maker…or people from Cottage Grove coming in to steal phones. So, the same people would win month after month, and then they’d come up with some NEW idea to make it fair…but ‘fair’ wasn’t going to change your location…so the same people would still win.
Then my bosses would call me up with that jag off infomercial salesman pitch asking me if I was ‘onboard’ or ‘pulling for the team’ or some other douche bag corporate jargon. I’d say ‘you betcha!’, or ‘we’re all in’ because corporate dickhead is a second language for me at this point. What they were really doing was Pavlov’s dogging us.
I’ve always had this image in my head of a bunch of guys who peaked in high school sitting in high backed, leather Masterpiece Theatre chairs, in a smoky room filled with books they’ve never read, laughing at the stupidity of their management team before they went off to trip the dick fantastic with some waitress they were banging behind their wives back at Bennigans. Sometimes I really think that if we just rounded up every one in the corporate world two levels above me and threw them in an oven…I could sleep just a little better at night.
So, since the economy has been flushed down the toilet like last nights Whitey’s and the retail bubble has burst…they now have this moronic ‘point system’. The way this piece of upper management brilliance works is that you are awarded points when they pull their heads out of their asses far enough to see that you’ve accomplished some pre ordained goal. Then, you use those points to buy things from a website.
First of all, this is their ONLY means of reward. Second? I don’t think I’ve seen anyone get points for about 2 years now. My district manager doesn’t even KNOW about this program and HE’S the mother fucker that has to dole this shit out.
Not that it matters anyway because your odds of winning a billion dollars at Trump Casino on a slot machine while being blown by Lindsey Lohan are better than you ever earning enough points to buy any of the stupid shit that you’d have to be a nitwit to want any fucking way. I kid you not…I once won 5000 points and when I went on the website to ‘cash in’ as it were? A fucking spatula was 800,000 points, a case of Lou’s ‘Maybe Meat’ Tenderloin steaks? A million and a half points. And the best? A fucking pool table that was a giggidybazilliondy points.
The point is that you’d have to ‘Louis and Clark’ your way to the fountain of youth, OR become a fucking vampire (a cool ‘True Blood’ vampire, NOT one of those lame ass, sparkly, incestual, pedophile ‘Twilight’ vampires) in order to live a long enough lifespan to earn the points needed for that ‘Chumley’ from Tennessee Tuxedo shot glass. Which means that A.) These mother fuckers KNOW you can’t win, and B.) Once again, they regard us as the employee version of a medieval ‘town idiot’ who could never hope to outwit their dastardly plans. Fucking cartoon super villains…every one of them.
Well, I stopped pandering to their idea of a reward system a long time ago and I just do a good job for one simple reason…bonus. That’s all I want. I’ll hit all their numbers; I’ll jump through all their hoops, just to get that bonus. That is my one and only motivation and I bust my ass for that bonus every month.
So when my boss called me up and told me that I won an extra day off? Well, that’s a good incentive too. Then he told me that I had to take a SPECIFIC day off…to go to this company picnic. I told him that I wasn’t going to do that, to which he told me it was ‘mandatory’ (another great fucking corporate word…where outside of slavery and Nazi Germany has anyone used the word ‘mandatory’?).
I really did NOT want to go to this picnic. My reasons were many and obvious but let’s just state them anyway. First of all, I know I work in retail…but I fucking hate people. I ESPECIALLY hate other retail people. Not ALL of them to be sure, there are many of these people that I consider my friends, but believe me, THEY know who the fuck I’m talking about. They’re the ones that actually WANT to go to this fucking picnic. They’re always SO fucking happy to kiss whoever’s ass happens to pass by them wearing a lanyard that says ‘I’m your boss asshole’. Secondly? It’s fucking JULY…and they want me to be out of doors. Look, I don’t like it outside…It’s hot and it frightens me. If I could just hop in a pneumatic tube to get to and from work without leaving my apartment, I would. (Oh…AND if I could blow myself…I occasionally have to go outside to get pussy). THIRDLY, when I go, I’m told I HAVE to participate in sports. Corporate ‘team building’ bullshit. Think of a forced labor camp in Nazi Germany, only this is ‘forced exercise’. I figure there will be about 200 people at this thing. Granted, the odds of me hooking up with any kind of ass are 2% at best. But you put a fucking baseball mit in my hand? Or make me play volleyball? My chances skid down to a negative 12%. If they had a contest that involves me sitting on a couch eating hot dogs and watching porno? I’d fucking DOMINATE that sport. I’d have a fucking Olympic gold medal at that shit. But making me play sports so that my corporate bosses can feel they’ve done some ‘team building’ exercises, isn’t going to fly. I didn’t feel the need to impress the thick necked jocks in high school and I DON’T feel the need to do it now. And lastly, and the biggest reason I didn’t want to go…because it’s a fucking hour and a half away in Indiana.
I’m not racist…but I hold a special place of hatred in my heart for Hoosiers (my friends are excluded of course, plus the ones that live there now weren’t BORN there so they get a pass). I’ve actually petitioned the Ku Klux Klan STOP hating black people, Jewish people, and Catholics and direct that hatred towards a state that we can ALL get behind hating. Indiana is a toothless Wal-Mart subculture that’s so dumb they can’t even come to a general consensus on the fucking ‘time zone’ issue that the rest of America figured out while people still wore powdered wigs. No shit, Indiana has like 17 different time zones in it. My friends that live there said that the reason they moved there is because housing is cheaper…yeah I’ll sell you a piece of dogshit between two pieces of bread and tell you it’s cheaper than a big Mac too, you gonna buy that? This place is a state sized trailer park. These people are so racist, homophobic, and such religious zealots that they make Alabama in the 1950’s look like Woodstock. Indiana is the hidden south, and it’s hiding in plain sight.
I got kicked out of the state of Indiana once for ‘Don Rickling’ the crowd in a camp ground at an Elvis Impersonator concert. I called them a bunch of human double wides and said that the people in Indiana are so fat that anything under 300 pounds doesn’t even trip the automatic door at Wal-Mart’s there. Then I asked the crowd when they thought the police in Indiana would catch the ‘sleeve thief’ that stole the arms off all of their ‘Fog hat’ concert shirts, or the ‘good taste bandit’ that broke into all their homes and put blankets with pictures of wolves on their walls or statues of eagles in every room. Next thing I know, I’m being rushed by a wall of flannel screaming ‘faggot’ and ‘nigger lover’, for some reason, and the cops are rushing me off stage like Jim Morrison after whipping his dick out in Detroit. My I.Q. is a bowling score…their collective I.Q. is a fucking shoe size.
So going to this picnic is NOT so much an invitation…as it is an imposition.
About a week before the big day, I invite my fellow manager Ruthy to do a ride-a-long with me out to Indiana so I have a witness if the cops try to ‘disappear’ me. She agrees and frankly I’m not that surprised. After all…I’m kind of a big deal. We’ve been rapping for a few weeks now, and to be honest with you, I’ve KNOWN Ruthy for about 5 years and I’ve always said that she is the ONLY attractive manager in my company. So it was only a matter of time before I made an awkward pass at her like a teenager fumbling for his first bit of tit in the backseat of his dad’s Ford Focus (now that I’ve been given a book deal, I have to show I can whore myself out to product placement, right?)
I am such a moron too, you’d think at this point in my life I’d be aware of the ‘consequences’ of sleeping with NOT ONLY a younger woman…but one who has the same boss as me AND has the ability to tell my co-workers the various shapes and colors of my pennis. I haven’t had a GOOD relationship with a woman since fucking Clinton was in office and I KNOW that if things don’t work out she’s going to tattle on me because I haven’t shown up for work on time in 4 years and that I take longer lunches than Paul Prudholmme during Mardi gras. I also know that if it doesn’t work out, at my next manager meeting people will be putting their pinkies up in the air and laughing with each other RIGHT in front of me, like I don’t know they’re talking about my dick. Fucking high school all over again. But no, I’m such an idiot all I can think is: ‘heh-heh, uhhhh…hehehehehh…I’m gonna get some pussy’.
So the big day comes, and I’m dreading it the same way an 18 year old chick dreads her first trip to the abortion clinic. I get up at 5am because I have to GET to my store super early. I have to do all the paperwork still, I have to council my employees because frankly when I’m not there? They are as productive as the fuckers who’ve been trying to find an MS cure for Jerry’s Kids since 1910. We have to leave by 830 AM in order to get there by 10 AM.
For some reason that I cannot fathom because some deep recess of my mind made this decision FOR me…I wore ALL red. I mean ALL red. Red t-shirt, red shorts, red tennies. I looked like the fucking Kool-Aid guy had sent in all his Marlboro points. After the sunburn had brightened my skin to a healthy ‘hot coal’ glow…I looked more like a giant hemorrhoid. It was either THAT or go all blue. See, I don’t go outside a lot so I have limited ‘summer wear’. If I went with the BLUE t-shirt, the BLUE shorts, and the BLUE tennis? I would have looked like a big ass blueberry. At the end of the day? A fucking bruise.
So, Ruthy shows up, I grab my map quest printout and off we go. We talk the whole way there. There are no uncomfortable silences. There are no awkward pauses. The whole time we just have this awesome conversation. We’re making fun of people, we’re sharing our sexual secrets, and we’re getting along really well, so MUCH so…that we miss the fucking exit I needed to get to our destination. And because I’m SO engrossed in listening to this interesting woman, I don’t even realize it for 30 miles. When we finally DO break out a GPS, it tells us that we’ve driven 50 miles out of our way and that it will take us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. So now I have to call my boss and tell him we’re going to be very late because it’s ALREADY 9:55. He bitches me out for a good ten minutes until I can’t take it anymore and I tell him my reception isn’t very good ‘click’.
Finally we arrive at this wooded wonderland called the ‘Deeply Imbedded Tick Forest Preserve’ and we have to sign in at a ‘gate’. The woman who comes out of the gate house is so ugly that I actually made an ‘ew’ face when she approached my car. I haven’t made an ‘ew’ face since I was in 4th grade when one of the kids in my class shit himself so much that it ran out of the bottom of his pants and the teacher tripped while chasing after him landing in the dookey trail he was leaving in his wake. I WAS, however, glad to see that we’ve become so politically correct and tolerant in this country that we’ll even hire Orcs from Mordor now that the one ring is gone.
Her face was COVERED in welts like she dove, head first, into a bee hive. Her hair was in some kind of a ridiculous swirl on top of her head like she just stood underneath a cotton candy machine, and the left side of her body was covered in a birth mark so big that at first I thought she was being attacked by a giant leach. I’m pretty sure that she was her own aunt. WELCOME TO INDIANA!
We drive on past this cave troll and approach the parking area. I’m already dreading this day because from where we park I can see miles in every direction and I STILL can’t see 200 of my fellow employee’s. We head off in the direction that they are supposed to be with two Sherpa’s and a fucking pack mule. 45 minutes later I can make them out like a wavy mirage in a fucking desert. It’s 108 degrees outside and I’m schlepping across the surface of the sun as a REWARD for doing a good job.
Look man, I’m fucking fat ok? There’s ONE truth in life that I know…fat people and heat don’t mix. This is how strange smells and rashes appear on a human body. I’m fucking MISERABLE in that kind of heat. I’ve already developed a line of ass sweat that can be seen on my shorts, and my head is pounding from the 4 gallons of moisture my body has poured out of itself on this fucking trek through the open plains of Douchiana. We finally arrive at 4 baseball diamonds where my fellow managers are engaged in playing softball. My boss approaches me with a puss on his face like he just smelled a wet fart and engages me in a bitch out session for being late.
He tells me to get in the outfield to which I reply ‘I don’t play softball because I’m not a Lesbian’. He tells me that I have to participate or there will be ‘consequences’ and I tell him that I hope he doesn’t accidentally stab himself in the eye with his pen as he’s writing me up, and I go sit under the tent they’ve erected for the boobs from corporate so they can feel like Roman emperors even though, from everything I’ve read in the business papers, the empire is about to crumble.
As I’m watching this game unfold, someone from the Tennessee Water Valley Authority comes up to me and hooks my body to an irrigation system because sweat is pouring off of me like I’m a human waterfall. Someone hits a pop fly ball in the game and because the sun is only 40 feet away from the baseball field it burns away in mid air. While I’m sitting there, I can see through the sweat on my eyeballs that my Regional manager is on the field telling everyone they suck and that only the winners get to eat lunch. His team was losing their game and I swear to god he made the game go 17 innings until they won.
I fucking HATE guys like that. He was like that asshole in high school that made people like me NOT want to play sports. You know the one, the captain that would pick YOU last. Not even pick you, but just make that ‘harrumph’ sound when it was his turn and you were the only one left. Oh my god, I swear that if I’m ever doing a book signing and this dickhead shows up with his ‘I know that guy’ and ‘I used to be his boss’ line like we didn’t have a domination/fear work relationship, I’m gonna pay 4 of the granola eating hippy kids from Borders to take him out back and beat the shit out of him with their Birkenstock sandals and acoustic guitars.
After we’re done waiting for his team to win like a bunch of cookies on a baking sheet waiting for the oven timer to go off, we schlep back to the foodery which is next to where I parked my car. During the hike 4 people melted like Nazis staring at the fucking Ark of the Covenant. When we arrive he graciously lets HIS team get in line first and because they won? They get steaks.
I was pissed at first…until I got my hamburger. This thing was barely edible. It was like a charcoal briquette between two pieces of bread. Not to mention that because of the heat there were more fly’s swarming us than an Ethiopian village in one of those Sally Struthers commercials. At one point I was so exhausted I just sat there with a sad look on my face and my hands on my distended belly while flies crawled on my eyeballs.
After fifteen minutes of watching people shove food in their faces like Sloth from the Goonies eating Rocky Road Ice Cream, the Regional manager pops up and starts spewing corporate rhetoric like Hitler addressing the troops. He was so excited that at one point he actually DID break into German and was pounding his fist on his open hand. If he had a balcony I think he would have started a 4th Reich. The kiss ass throng of empty headed sales lemmings cheered and clapped with that plastic ‘Bob’s Big Boy’ smile plastered on their faces like they’d been injected with Thorazine during lunch. It was like watching Nicolson get all the nuts to chant ‘Baseball’ in Cookoo’s Nest. Then it was one of our wireless sponsors turn to speak. We sat there listening to this moron prattle on about how great his company is and as much as companies don’t like for their employee’s to read? I was unimpressed because I had just read about how his wireless company was tanking and would probably be bought out by one of the GOOD ones during this fiscal year.
After THAT boob was done being impressed with the sound of his own voice we were told that despite the heat, we would retire to the volleyball field, and although the sand in said field had been converted to a bee hive by Mother Nature, we would endure because we have team spirit and company pride. Fuck you.
I get out to this volleyball field which is basically 2 nets in a giant sand trap and I notice that the sand is black and yellow from a distance. As I get closer, I realize that my boss wasn’t kidding. There is LITERALLY about 4 inches of bee’s covering the entire playing field. He says ‘Don’t worry, once you get in the sand they’ll fly away’. Yeah…chasing us to our deaths. Fuck that. I stand a good hundred feet away from the field because I am allergic to bees. Not only was I a fat loser when I was growing up, but I had to carry around one of those anaphylactic shock kits in case I was stung. This thing was the reason that I would usually get my ass kicked by TWO bullies…one to stomp my face, and the other to grab my kit and run away with it screaming ‘you can have it back if you can catch me’.
I watch in amazement as these people dive head first into the Stinger Dunes. It was like I was in fucking Jonestown, this guy could have told them to dive into a volcano because our company is HOT, and they would have been taking off their shoes, and cannonballing to their dooms. You can see a black cloud of bee’s lift into the air and then form an arrow like in a cartoon pointed right at me. And it wasn’t ONLY bee’s, there were bugs so big that James Cameron was a few hundred feet away with a net from a fucking whaling barge catching them for Avatar 2: Electric Boogaloo. I saw two of these bugs fucking and they were so big I could actually see the guy bugs hairy bug balls slapping into the thorax of the lady bug. One flew up to me and ‘asked’ threateningly if he could ‘borrow’ a cigarette and I gave him the pack. Over at the playground I could see that a swarm had broken off from the main group, formed itself into a human body and was on the swing set. There was a manager standing behind them pushing and crying at the same time. People were running around like they were in some horrible Benny Hill sketch. Not only that but because of the heat some of these bugs caught on fire and were dive bombing us like Kamikaze pilots during the battle of Midway. It felt like I was in one of the concentric circles of Dante’s Inferno.
That’s not even the fucked up part! These dumb asses were so intent on kissing ass they actually played volleyball in a swarm of bees. People were dropping from heat exhaustion and bee stings like someone had just cut their Achilles tendon. I FINALLY understood why the chick who greeted us at the gate looked the way she did. She wasn’t ugly from genetics…years of fear and panic from being chased by these super bugs had done that to her.
When my bosses got tired of having to send people to the hospital, they just rented out a portable M.A.S.H. unit and started jeeping people over to Trapper John.
You would think that Human Recourses would step in at some point and put a stop to this. After all, aren’t THEY supposed to be the voice of reason? People were miserable, tired, and panting with their tongues hanging out like a dog; because that was the only way they had left to sweat. Some even asked the human recourse director to put an end to this nightmare and tell the higher ups to let us go home as they were being carried around in golden chairs under tents by the losers of the volleyball games like Pharaohs watching Jews build pyramids. Our human recourse directors course of action?
She had fun corporate GAMES for us to play next! We had to get in lines and run 200 feet with a beach ball between our legs, throw the beach ball back to the next person, get in a hula hoop and hula, then run another 50 feet across hot coals, and chew the bark off of a fucking tree. The team who got the most bark off the tree won! SO FUCKING STUPID!
This chick is one of those broads with the crazy church eyes, who every fucking time you see her she’s pregnant because she HAS to have a kid every time she has sex. She has that glazed over ‘It’s a Small World’ theme attraction animatronics doll look on her fucking face and you just KNOW that she got the idea’s for these games from watching ‘The Office’ because she didn’t get that the writers were being sarcastic about how fucking stupid these corporate games are.
It wasn’t until it was all over though, that I realized I had been in the corporate Thunder dome all day. 200 men enter…one man leaves. The winner of the company picnic was simply the guy who hadn’t died at the end of the day. And THAT pre-determined winner was my Regional manager…that’s right, the rest of us are dead. I’m writing this on Micro Hell Word. At least it’s cooler down here.
The drive home was thankfully easier than the drive there. Ruthy and I didn’t talk much, but I think I asked her on a date. Truthfully I THINK she said no, but I don’t remember. To be honest, I’m not good at picking up ‘hints’ anyway. She made fun of guys at work who hit on her, asked questions about ‘guys and girls’ being friends, and told me she doesn’t like meat, but prefers poultry. I don’t know what the fuck any of that means but I usually don’t know if a girl likes me until they have my dork in their hand.
I do remember us bitching about customers together. This is one thing in my life that I rarely do other than here. I try to leave work AT work, but I have to say that having someone in my field to bitch WITH instead of TO or AT gave me a supreme Woodrow Wilson. Unfortunately, I couldn’t masturbate when I got home because the palms of my hands were sunburned.
So, the day after the picnic, I wake up sore, sunburned, and crabby. Every moron with a technical problem more complicated than installing a new telescope lens on the Hubble while it’s in space comes in to my store to unburden themselves of their intelligence at me, and to top it all off? My boss calls me up to inform me of a great new contest to get into the AUGUST picnic. I write every word he says down, because in my mind he’s telling me what to do NOT to get that pass. I wanted to ask him ‘Were you AT that fucking picnic? Do you think ANYONE wants to go to one in the HOTTEST fucking month of the year? What is WRONG with you people? Why don’t you have a picnic in a dimly lit, air conditioned bar somewhere?’
We have to sell 3 phones and 30 dollars in batteries. I look down at our progress sheet for the day and we have 40 dollars in batteries, and 2 phones out. I look over at one of my employee’s and she’s talking to a customer about cell phones. This is how badly I DON’T want to go to this fucking picnic. I walk over and interrupt my employee saying to the customer ‘I’m sorry ma’am, but it seems that our computer systems will be down for the rest of the day, so if you’d like to come back tomorrow, we’ll be happy to help you with your cellular needs’. I just lost a fucking 800 dollar sale because the way I see it? I’m now being PUNISHED for doing a good fucking job. FUCK YOU!
And THAT is why I was so fucking crabasstic on my drive home. Believe me, I know that I SOUND like a whiney bitch, but if I entertained you with that little bit of my daily nightmare? I can feel that much better about my job in the morning. I know that there is a finite amount of ‘work’ shit we ALL have to put up with and I’m thankful everyday that I’m not a coal miner in fucking China. But, one thing I got out of this was that you need to find someone with whom you have a common ground to bitch about your job too. You can’t keep that shit bottled up inside you like a shaken 2 liter of Dr. Pepper waiting to explode on the next fat asshole looking to guzzle it down as if it were only the size of a Nyquil cup. Let it out from time to time, customers piss everyone off. If you work in some kind of customer service industry and DON’T occasionally get frustrated by customers? YOU are about to go Dahmer on someone and need to seek psychiatric help my friend.
And to the corporate buffoonery that permeates our service industry I say pay attention to your fucking staff from time to time. Quit being more self involved than Mariah Carrey at a Mirror Warehouse. Open your sphere of influence to the possibility of giving your employee’s an incentive that will actually motivate them. It’s 2010 for fuck’s sake and there are no 16 year old manager’s out there. Take your people to a titty bar, the fucking Japanese do it all the time and they seem to have a pretty good strangle hold on things. Get your heads out of your asses and start treating your employee’s like adults with ideas and individual thoughts. If you give us just THAT much respect and stop gallivanting around like we‘re having an audience with the pope instead of just some jag off with a tie, we’d be motivated enough to give this great country the service industry it fucking deserves. YOU aren’t the only person ON this corporate boat Magellan, you may be steering the ship, but last time I checked, you can’t navigate a squall AND hoist the main sail by yourself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go peel the dead skin off of my palms so I can masturbate furiously and release some of this pent up frustration I have left over from the punishment you inflicted on me for simply doing the job you asked of me. Fuck you.