Yesterday, during lunch, Matt, Jacob, and I had a conversation about 4th Amendment cases. Even though it was an interesting conversation about unlawful search and seizures,1 it lacked the usual panache of our typical lunchtime discussions. The conversation did have some interesting twists and turns that revolved around the philosophical question of whether you want to be well-paid but not famous, or poor and then famous after death.2 By the end of lunch we had moved on to mixed drink recipes and the preference for bars that use real fruits and juices over pre-made mixers. Like I said, this conversation lacked its usual panache.
A good lunch time conversation needs to revolve around zombies, midgets, monkeys, or the hotness of Ke$ha.3 At a minimum, the mid-day meal discussion needs to address some aspect of the apocalypse. We (especially Matt and I) spend an inordinate amount of time developing different apocalypse survival strategies.4
One exemplary example of this type of conversation was one that followed this question: “If the apocalypse happened while we are at work – what would be your first action?” My response was immediate and with little thought: “I would get the big pair of scissors5 in my desk drawer and I would immediately find Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Ms. Z. Upon finding them, I would immediately stab them in the eye. These individuals need to die, because them living would cause undue hardship on the rest of us.”
Yes, I have consciously contemplated killing my some of my coworkers.6 There are just some people who serve no other purpose during the apocalypse other than being your first targets. In the apocalyptic world, some individuals serve no other purpose other than being worm food. Right now I would like to apologize to Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Ms. Z. Sometimes the truth hurts.7 Killing of coworkers doesn’t just apply to the apocalypse. Killing of coworkers is also necessary for me to get an office with a fuckin’ window.
I work in an extremely communist-looking government building. It’s construction was approved by Congress in 1965 and opened for business in 1980.8 This building is exactly one block long and one block wide. It has eight floors, three of which are underground.9 Offices and work spaces that abuts the outside walls are the only areas that have windows.10
To get a window, one must have seniority or be in management.11 Seniority in my office means you are 70 years-old and your spouse doesn’t want you to retire because they don’t want your ass around all day.12 It also means that an office won’t become available until their spouse agrees to relent on the “your ass ain’t sitting here all day,” or they die.
I do not have an office with a window. I do, however, have a view of a hallway and piles upon piles of books and papers.13 Getting an office with a window is truly like life in the post-apocalyptic world …survival of the fittest ensures a window. If you stay here long enough, you get a window. However, even if I do outlive my coworkers, the assignment of office spaces at my work is the result of a Byzantine selection process.
This process is based on grade (rank), seniority in grade, office availability, the number and types of offices available, senior coworkers’ desire for a new office, eye color, foot size, and deodorant smell.14 This results in personal office selection strategies such as: Is Mr. X intending to participate in the office selection process? Is Mr. Y really going to pack up all his newspapers clippings from the 1960s? Are they going fumigate Ms. Z’s office?15
I do not intend in changing offices. I have grown comfortable in my windowless office, and I like the piles of newspapers and books that I have artistically arranged to give off the air of slightly nutty professor.16 However, I have a list of coworkers who are scheduled to gain possession of an office with a window prior to me. I also have a pair of eight inch, government and security approved, scissors.
***Addendum as of 1300hrs, January 10, 2012: Following Matt’s reading of this post, today’s lunch discussion included a cost-benefit analysis of not only the killing of Mr. X, Mr. Y, and Ms. Z but a more complete roster of inpending killings was planned.
1. I didn’t keep notes, and I usually flush most conversations from my head once they end, however, this one had to do with a police drug sniffing dog that hit on a house while the dog was patrolling on a nearby sidewalk. Another aspect to the conversation had to do with something about two rival drug gangs (one was impersonating police officers) and how the police found cocaine after catching these two gangs fighting it out. In other words, it was not highly memorable.
2. I would prefer to be well-paid and not famous. Being famous after death seems worthless to me.
3. Ke$ha is not only the name of a hot singer but also a euphemism for different women we may be discussing.
4. Generally, we are in agreement in my assuming a leadership role in our future Waterworld scenarios. I am the only one in the lunch group that has any weapons training… also I have management potential.
5. I work in a federal government building and it is guarded the Capitol Police officers. To get in the building, you have to go through a metal detector. Pocketknives and other “weapons” are not allowed in my building. However, in an amazing moment of WTFness, employees are authorized to keep scissors and letter openers in their desks. The pair of government issued scissors I possess are approximately 8 inches long and far more deadly than any knife I would think to bring from home. I won’t even discuss my office’s party supplies that contains a couple of cake cutting knifes.
6. There is no doubt in my mind that you are not surprised by this. Who doesn’t contemplate killing a coworker.
7. Hurts as in the quick pain associated with a violent jab to the eye with a pair of 8 inch scissors.
8. Amazingly, at the beginning of the last decade of the Cold War, the U.S. government went through this phase of designing and building federal facilities that have a grotesque Stalin-like feel and look to them. Grey (or dirty bone) colored, squat, and square. It is almost as if the federal government had ran a secret CIA operation that had U.S. operatives kidnapping Soviet architects to ensure we didn’t lose the ugly building arms race.
9. A “Ground” floor (which is not really on the ground, but slightly below the street level outside), a “basement,” and a “sub-basement.” Thank you little plastic baby Jesus for ensuring my office is on the third floor. Working below ground makes me think of coal mining or Lord of the Rings’ dwarves.
10. In an another example of the horrible architecture my building possesses, these windows are exactly eight feet tall and one foot wide, and run from floor to ceiling. The offices that possess windows are subject to a deviously planned “happenstance” that results in these windows being located in different places in different offices. It isn’t that the windows are randomly placed, instead the offices are randomly placed along the outside wall. Office A may have its window situated in the center of the wall, whereas Office B may have a window that is in the corner. There was no planning of office space, just slipshod placing of office walls.
11. Did I mention I have management potential?
12. When I retire (October 29, 2027… I will be 57 and have 33.4 years of federal service) my ass will not be at home. I will be on the golf course either marshalling slow-assed golfers or swinging a club. Regardless, retirement will not include sitting around the house in my slippers and barking at the television.
13. Imagine college. Now imagine your nuttiest college professor. Now imagine that nutty professor’s office … viola, you now know what my coworkers’ offices look like. If you think Hoarders is great show, you would love my coworkers. I have colleagues here that have every piece of paper they started collecting 40 years ago when they started working. “Throwing away” is not part of their vocabulary. Again, imagine that nutty professor and their attire (tweed jacket with elbow patches), now imagine their unkept hair and long-ass grey eyebrow hair …that is what my coworkers look like, and when I see them …I see my future.
14. Okay, the eye color, foot size, and deodorant smell is not true. As if my nutty professor coworkers wear deodorant.
15. Ms. Z smells like cat litter and it has permeated throughout her office. Additionally, my loud phone conversations, music, and lunch time gatherings cause some coworkers to develop a strategy in which they must weigh the benefits of having an office with a door and having to share a wall with me.
16. Not to be confused with the air of cat litter.