Thursday, September 21, 2006

Larry Tate - My Hero

I have never worked in a large office before. The most people in any office where I parked my butt was somewhere between 6 and 40. I never bothered to keep track. Most of my career, until we moved to Buffalo, was spent in construction trailers. They’re a bit like offices in that people do work there. But that’s where the similarities end.

A construction trailer is a temporary dwelling, and it is treated as such. There are no cleaning crews that come in at night and clean up the leftover lunches and papers that were thrown on the floor rather than placed in a recycling bin. As a matter of fact, the only time that anything is ever cleaned is when the neat-freak engineer of the group loses his mind and spends an afternoon dusting everything he can reach. This effort is, of course, pointless, as the very next day someone will undoubtedly throw a bottle of chalk powder across the room, tinting everything you touch a nice shade of blue for the next three weeks.

Most of the activity that goes on in the trailer consists of men standing around drinking coffee and profanity laced conversations with subcontractors who would sooner see you bleeding than admit they are wrong. But I digress.

The office I am working in currently is most likely over 1,000,000 square feet. Yes, it is a large building. There are cubicles everywhere, with offices and conference rooms ringing the outside walls. I am stuck in a conference room with three other people, who, like me, would rather be scraping chewing gum off other people’s shoes than doing the mindless paperwork that is piled in front of us.

There are at least 1,000 males in the building, and every single one of them wears a tie. Except me.

I didn’t pack a single one. I’ve never worn a tie to work. I never will. Someone asked me the other day how I managed to get into the building without one. How I managed . . . . what? I wanted so much to say, “Screw everyone here and their outdated modes of business dress. Why can’t this dinosaur of a company realize that things aren’t done this way in the rest of the world anymore?”

Instead, I turned around, looked him in the eye, and said, “I packed a bunch. When I opened my suitcase, they had disappeared. My kids rummaged though it the night before I was supposed to leave and stole them all. I talked to my wife last night. She found a half dozen of them in their room.” Everyone laughed. I’m such a pussy.

So I’m working in Dilbertville. The only thought that enters my head when I walk out of my temporary office is that I want a commotion to stir things up. I think about Larry Tate – Office Linebacker, and how appropriate he would be for this situation. Nothing would please me more than to turn the corner and watch some poor fool get leveled because he didn’t replace the copier paper. Oh, the wondrous fantasy. . .

I went with some coworkers to get dinner in the city tonight. We ate at the Elephant & Castle. Very tasty. Leah told me that she got completely loopy there back when she worked for The Man.

We then proceeded to The Dubliner. Sitting down and ordering a Jameson on the rocks and listening to the music, I was completely happy. Then Coworker #1 decided to order something.

C#1: Do you have dessert?
Waiter: No.
C#1: Do you have anything like dessert?
Waiter: Not really.
C#1: I saw chocolate cake on the menu. Do you still have that?
Waiter: Yes.

Heads turn.

C#1: Do you maybe have some ice cream too?
Waiter: Yes, we do.

Mouths drop.

C#1: Well, if you don’t have any dessert, I guess I’ll have that.

An entertaining evening.