Thanks. I’m really glad to be here, too. I’m always super excited to have a lunch meeting, even though Illinois state law mandates that I get a half hour for lunch, which – and I’m no legal scholar – presumably means a time during which I don’t have to attend meetings, something that most people define as work. If, on the other hand, I were a legal scholar, I might point out that these meetings violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions as well as Article 75 (2 b & e) of Additional Protocol I and Article 4 (2 a & h) of Additional Protocol II, which prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” But again, not a legal scholar.
Oh, but lunch was provided. That’s great. Box lunches, even! I got my own plastic box, inside of which was a plastic-wrapped turkey sandwich, plastic-wrapped plastic flatware, what appears to be the intestinal cross sections of some sort of large rodent, but what the inmate who made it would describe as “pasta salad,” and a cookie, in plastic wrap of course. I’m glad your contempt for my time is matched only by your contempt for the Earth. Note that I’m not eating the cookie first because I like sweets so much as it’s the rough shape of your head and I’m getting some satisfaction from the biting part.
Yes, let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves. Again. It helps remind us of who you’ve restructured out of a job since last quarter. Better to be feared than loved, I say. Actually, Machiavelli said that. You know what he didn’t say? “Excedra” when he meant “etcetera.” Because he’s not you, and not sounding like a nitwit was important to him. Really enjoying these introductions so far, especially how many modifiers HR has come up with to put in front of the word “director.”
Ah, presentation time. I have a bet with Tim as to whether it will include “Screen beans.” C’mon big money! Whoop, not yet. Trouble with the projector again. I can see how that would happen, given that there’s a single cord to plug-in and what with pressing the button you had to press the last dozen times. Don’t worry, just enjoying these bits of disemboweled Norway rat. There it is. I’m glad you value us enough to put that kind of effort into displaying the spreadsheet that you also printed and put right in front of us. Tell me something, when you interviewed for this job and they asked if you were familiar with Excel, were they just asking if you knew it existed? I’m on board with this project, though. I’ll send on some garbage numbers to you that you can then dilute with the garbage from everyone else and pass them up to your boss. She’ll compress them into a meaningless elevator pitch that will have no relation to what we’re actually doing, but that’s ok, because neither you nor she have any relation to what we’re actually doing, either.
I’m clapping to show my complete support for the consultant you’ve just introduced. I think we all agree that it’s important to give money to people who were fired from one of our competitors. Plus, I’ve been here so long that I’m a little behind on the industry jargon. I was hoping to be told to lean forward, but we’re still talking about low hanging fruit? Is now a bad time to make a testicle joke? Yes? Ok, then should I mention that I looked this guy up when I saw his name on the agenda and he’s part of a meet-up group for “Chi-town chihuahuas and their people?” Maybe he can hire me as a consultant so he achieve his goal of not being alone forever. I’m not sure if that’s a S.M.A.R.T goal, but I’ll have him prepare a spreadsheet just in case.
I thought that if I took a long enough bathroom break I could miss this. I’d rather have everyone think I have a prostate problem than sit through another mind-mapping session with Communications. I can see why we need some new messaging in our print pieces, though. When we completely change direction again in 10 months, we want all those boxes in the Dumpster to communicate our youthful energy, sense of fun, and commitment to service. I actually enjoy these free association exercises — I do one where I come up with a list of slang words for reproductive organs and excrement. Then I come up with a list of parts of the face. Then I combine words from each list together and see which would be the best nicknames for the people in communications. Maybe next meeting.
Finally, the “open forum” part of the meeting. I like this, because it reinforces the fact that we’re just mere supplicants begging divine insight from on high. I heard once that in other countries, probably Finland or someplace, meetings are places where people come together to discuss ideas and work together to reach solutions. I much prefer our approach, which is more like synagogue when I was a kid – you do all of the talking and we pipe in on cue with the same responses from last time. Heather doesn’t seem to get it though – she’s brought up the same idea in the last three open forums, as if you can tell the Rabbi to change the prayers. I’ll miss her when we introduce ourselves around the table at the next meeting.
Oh God. Next meeting is our annual retreat. I really appreciate the effort you put into finding the right mix of blowing sunshine and vividly describing the severity of challenges ahead, so we can both feel good about the work we’ve done while accepting our stagnant salaries. And then we go straight into team building and morale-boosting! You know who likes audience participation games? My five-year old and his friends AND NO ONE ELSE. There is one person in the world who can demand that”everybody get up,” and that person is James Brown. He’s dead, and I’m sitting.
I’m clapping again because it was such a great meeting. Now I can go back to my office, and you can go back to what I assume is hours of passionate love-making with the boss.