Saturday, October 28, 2006

Martha Stewart, Zombies, and Hostile Workplaces

Did I mention you need to get yourself a copy of "World War Z" ?


It's such a great social commentary that I think it fits right up on the same shelf as "The Gift of Fear" by Gavin deBecker, "Blink" and "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, and "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson - all of which are as non-fiction as non-fiction gets. But World War Z makes you think (or made me think) many many non-fiction thoughts.

By the time it was over I was trying NOT to suggest to people things about "when the zombie war comes..."

Such as:

A conversation at work (not involving me in the slightest except for our time honored "no private conversations rule" - which by the way applies to everyone, not just me):

Person A: Have you seen those Martha Stewart pumpkin carving tool kits? Sheesh, they have everything.

Person B: I know.

Person A: I mean really, I've always used a spoon and it works just fine. I don't really see the point of special tools.

Person B: Well, you know, I don't have the Martha Stewart variety but I have some plastic pumpkin carving tools that I bought a few years ago and they work pretty well.

Person C (proving my point about 'no private conversations): I actually have some pumpking carving tools too.

Person A: I'm not criticizing you guys, I'm just telling you - if it requires more than a spoon, my kids are going without.

It was at this point that, well let's call me Person E - just to continue the theme - typed a message to the terminals of all three conversationalists:

"Y'know - when the Zombie War comes, it will be the folks who can use a spoon to carve pumpkins who will survive. Those who require specialized tools for everything are going to have a difficult time adjusting to a world without them. I'm just sayin'..."

Which got a laugh, which is nice because I didn't have to actually yell across the room and interrupt their conversation to get one (not that I'm above that sort of thing). But it also made us all think: substitute the words "bird flu" or "nuclear war" or - dog forbid* - "The Tribulation**," and it will be the 'spoon folks' who will become our leaders.

Not that it's going to change my life. My knowledge of how a car engine works still can be summed but with: gasoline, um, oil, um, valves are involved (I know this because once I bought an expensive camera and it caused my car to spontaneously bend some valves... long story but you'll have to trust me) and the rest I think is PFM. ***

To recap:

Spoons = Good.

Zombies = Bad.

Internal Combustion Engine Theory = might as well be particle physics. Although my nuclear engineer brother could probably explain more about the latter than the former so I think it really is a bigger mystery that anyone very talks about.

~~

* I am so used to saying "for the love of dog" that I was giving a little presentation to dispatchers about mental illness a couple of weeks ago and said something like "if you or someone you know has these symptoms for more than a couple of days, for the love of dog get help, it's out there!" At that point I was onto the next topic but someone in the class sort of stage-whispered "did he say 'for the love of dog?'" (like she never works with me... well perhaps she's never been required to pay attention before - which makes a lot of sense). Without missing a beat (which I will rephase to "without any thought to the consequences, your Honor" at any future hearing) I said, without looking directly at anyone in the group and in a total throw-away line fashion: "oh and I apologize to anyone in this class who doesn't believe in dog," and went about my merry way. The tricky part is that there is such a thing as creating a hostile workplace and, though it's not my intention to do so, I do have to be careful about what I say. That "Dispatch Tourette's Syndrome" excuse will only fly so far. The only thing good which could possibly come out of that stupid, stupid comment of mine is that I can, and do, tell the story as often as possible so I can get the most mileage out of it before it leads to my undoing.

** I say "the Tribulation" instead of "The Rapture" because, quite frankly, the Rapture could happen and no one at work would know anything about it - possibly for days. We might get a hint of something being wrong when the janitors stop coming to pick up the trash. And since we are not "spoon people" we'll let the trash just sit in the individual cans. Well, except for Person A.

*** Pure Fucking Magic

2 comments:

John Cowart said...

Send More Police!

Secret Rapture said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!
Read My Inaugural Address
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