Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Climb the Corporate Ladder, You Filthy Intern"

Dear Mom and Dad,

I have learned so much during the first two weeks of my big city summer internship. People up here are so much more complicated than people like Mr. Crowley back home, with his simple mustache and his simpler racism. On my first day Monica, from Human Resources, showed me a very well-produced video, full of cool graphics and special effects, called “Working with Iwerks Financial Corp.” Then she realized I wasn't supposed to see that movie and swapped out the Blu-ray disc for a VHS tape called “Your Office is the Closet, You Filthy, Bottom-Sucking Intern.” That one wasn't as good as the first, and mostly featured this guy Hugh Iwerks yelling at me for lacking any skills.

My supervisor is Jeff Venkman and he calls me Dingleberry Devin and spends a lot of the day shooting paper wasps at me. Occasionally he asks me to fetch something from the printer and inevitably the pages are high-resolution photographs of his testicles. Sometimes I get to enter real data into spreadsheets but it can be difficult when Jeff returns from lunch, throws a handful of cheese on my head and announces to the office, “Who ordered the Devin Parmesan?”

My department, Junior Accounts Processing, is very small. There is an executive, Roger Stojanovic, who is out of the office five days a week to repair decks. I believe he is a full-time deck repairman who is exploiting some sort of technicality to also bank an executive’s paycheck. So it’s just me, Jeff, and a woman named Ashley Semper who insists she tries to make her lunch hour productive by coming up with a new way to kill herself every day, but she always says, right at 1:30, “I tried, but it looks like it’s still going to be the sixth street bridge.” I ask Ashley if there’s any work she wants me to do but the only thing she suggests is that I shoot off an email to her entire address book alerting them of her impending plunge. I believe following her orders would breach my duties, so instead I have been emailing her friends and family dessert recipes, which seem to go over well. She gets responses like, "Turning a new leaf, Ash!" and "It's great to see your recipes no longer include arsenic."

That’s how the first week went, but things got strange in the second. I met a woman who works in Senior Accounts Processing one day in the break room. Her name was Roberta and she seemed different from Jeff and Ashley. She was eating an apple in silence. She didn't say a single sentence about her suicide or throw any processed meats at me. I introduced myself and she was very pleasant and gave me a few projects to work on. Simple things like organizing files and merging customer information, but at that point anything beat staring at my cubicle wall while Jeff stuck hot dogs up his nose and made me call him a walrus.

I tried to keep to myself and work on Roberta’s assignments, but as soon as Jeff and Ashley found out I was working for another department, they began fuming. “This is ridiculous,” Jeff said while Photoshopping his head onto an owl’s body, “he’s our intern and he works for us.” Ashley said, “I can’t believe this. I’ll kill them. I’ll tie them to myself and throw us both over the sixth street bridge.”

Jeff and Ashley tried to steal my time by assigning me tasks like “Run to Europe” and “Go to a baseball game and sort the crowd from tallest to smallest.” “It’s a good learning experience,” said Jeff. “We pros always have to sort baseball crowds.” I ignored them and kept working for Roberta until Ashley sent me an email asking me to retrieve from the printer an actual invoice. A real invoice, for a customer’s loan.

On the way to the printer Roberta saw me. “How are those reports coming?” she said. “Great,” I said. “I’ll finish them up as soon as I get this invoice back to Ashley.” She raised an eyebrow. “To Ashley? You’re working for Ashley now?” “Technically I am in her department.” “Listen,” she said while eyeing Ashley browse, “I have a special project for you. I'm putting you in charge of three accounts.”

I didn't really know what that meant or what exactly I was supposed to do, but Ashley and Jeff got wind of my promotion and assigned me ten accounts. Roberta countered with ten more, so Ashley and Jeff promoted me to manager. Roberta made me a director of the whole state. Ashley and Jeff made me regional manager. Roberta gave me a company car. Ashley and Jeff gave me unlimited use of the helicopter. Roberta met with the board of directors and convinced them that I shouldn't be working for Jeff and Ashley. Two days ago they made me an offer. So, mom and dad, I'm now Chief Executive Officer of Iwerks Financial Corporation and I still haven't learned how to make an outgoing phone call.

So now I have a big corner office with a comfortable chair and my own snack bar. I haven't done any executive officing yet but tomorrow I'm getting a check for $68,000. The only thing I've done so far made for a real tense moment. Because I'm so new to this and I haven't really been trained, I had to ask Jeff and Ashley for help.

"Hey guys," I said.

"Hey, Chief Dingleberry," said Jeff.

"I have a quick question about something."

Ashley said, "Is it the printer again? That thing makes me want to shoot myself."

"No, it's not the printer. I was wondering if you guys could tell me how to lay someone off."

"Like Roberta?" said Jeff. "Just tell her to pack her intern-stealing butt up and leave. Or just stare at her until she gets it."

I just stared back at them. I stared for nine minutes until they got it. Jeff and Ashley packed up their desks and left. Just before he walked out the door, Jeff stopped, turned to look at me, and threw one last Slim Jim at me. It hit my cheek really hard. Half of me felt it was a nice bookend to our relationship and the other half felt like it was just some random asshole throwing a Slim Jim at me.

So I guess I'm CEO so I won't be home when school starts up again, unless someone can explain to me how to resign.

CEO (?) Iwerks Financial Corp.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"Gym Tour"

-Hey, I’m new to the area and I’m wondering if I can get a guest pass or a trial membership before I commit to joining.
-Sure thing! Just fill this out and I’ll be happy to give you a tour of the gym.
-Oh, that’s okay. I’ll figure it out. Looks pretty standard.
-Excuse me?
-I've been to gyms before. The equipment is all basically the same. Thanks, but I don't need a tour.
-No, no. Let me to show you around. As you can see, we have cardio equipment over there.
-Right, and free weights on the other side. I got it.
-And what?
-What else do we have?
-That's it. Cardio and weights.
-And we have birds over there.
-Past the weight room we have a large area full of birds. Some are hungry and some are full. We have pelicans and robins and next week we're getting in a shipment of vultures. You may use them to exercise however you like. Would you like me to explain the cardio equipment, Mr. I Don’t Need a Tour?
-I mean…you have treadmills and ellipticals and stair machines. I can figure it out, thanks.
-Right, you got it. That’s all we have. Just some puny machines, the same junk as everywhere else. Oh wait, did I mention we also have a wide variety of endangered bats, each one in its own briefcase?
-I don’t understand. Bats?
-Do you speak sonar?
-Then of course you don’t understand bats. Now I take it you also don’t need a tour of the weight room because you are the world’s leading expert in weight room design? The Frank Lloyd Wright of pumping iron?
-I never said that.
-Your name is Frank Lloyd Ferrigno, is it now?
-Well, Mr. Ferrigno, we have a wide selection of dumbbells, benches, squat racks, and isolation machines.
-And what else? Let me guess, there’s a bear behind that wall?
-Sir, this is not the set of Let’s Make a Deal, so please refrain from guessing what is located behind walls.
-There’s nothing weird about the weight room?
-Oh. Well I’d like to work out now.
-Nothing weird unless you consider a dozen hemophiliac panda bears kept in a pen lined with Gillette Mach 6 razors weird.
-You know what? Thank you for your time, but this just isn't the right fit and I think I’m going to find a place to work out that’s run more like a gym and less like a zoo.
-Oh are you now? Let me tell you right now, man to man, that that is a mistake. Good luck getting your biceps to grow with chin-ups on something that isn't a giraffe's neck.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"A Good Man Is Hard to Serve"

Oh hot dog am I in some hot water. Six fat men just took my sofa and I couldn’t do a thing about it. I tried to stop the burly meatball men but one of them crumpled up my ad and threw it at my face while another took an anchovy out of his pocket and slapped me with it. My house is hollow now, devoid of furniture and life and I am left to stare at it through my telescope from my pizza parlor, or as I now call it, home. Earlier this morning I said goodbye to my wife and two daughters as I loaded them into trunks and shipped them up north. I am left here in my restaurant, engulfed by posters for my biggest blunder of a promotion yet. $9.99 for a large pie with any two toppings, it says. Was it naive of me to trust the public to choose two food items? Was I wrong to assume Mr. Scott Frampton would desire, say, pepperoni or mushrooms, instead of the makings of this humble restaurateur’s life? I am writing fine print on all of the existing posters to prevent this from happening again. “Toppings exclude homes and families.” Oh look, there’s Susan Montag! One of my most loyal and finest customers. Perhaps cooking a pizza and serving it to a happy customer and friend is just what I need to reverse my spirits. I will continue writing in a minute.

Jesus fucking Christ. People are animals. I don’t have a car or a pair of pants anymore.