I’ve done many things in my rich and storied life, and had many different jobs and many different hats. I’ve hung out with Buck 65. I’ve carried condemned medical equipment out of an abandoned pathology laboratory. I’ve pulled the poop-tubes out of giant prawns. I’ve seen a grown woman release a torrent of urine with wild abandon in a mighty stream onto a dance floor. I’ve enjoyed the simple pleasure of throwing computer monitors at other computer monitors, and smashed many things with axe and sledgehammer. I’ve ridden hospital gurneys down ramps in a spooky hospital basement.
All of these things I’ve experienced because of the various jobs I’ve had throughout my short time on this earth—and more adventures are to come. But, through it all, there is one thing that I’ve never experienced. One thing that, when I tell you, will sound so ridiculous that you’ll probably say “You’re a filthy liar” out loud, to your computer screen or phone or crystal ball or whatever you’re reading this on. I have never worked in an office. Like, in a cubicle with a desk, where you sit there and do things on a computer and staple papers together and talk about last night’s Seinfeld while you drink water.
Because of my total lack of experience in that arena, and my only knowledge of it being gleaned from the stories of others and movies and television, because it’s something I’ve only gazed at from outside in the rain, my idea of what working in an office must be like is terribly, unabashedly, and completely romantic.
Oh, how it must feel to stride confidently into that office every morning, greeted, perhaps, by a cheerful and beautiful receptionist, and stand tall with the knowledge that I have made ingress to my domain. My desk and cubicle splashed with decorations that reflect my interests and set me apart from my peers. A calendar that has a picture of a different cat every day.
Perhaps a torrid love affair would erupt between me and the lovely, yet bookish head of the HR department. She would tell her husband she had to stay late because she’s swamped at work, and we would make unfathomably deviant love on her desk, on top of a pile of sexual harassment claim forms, and we would laugh into each other at the irony of it.
I imagine grand meetings held in an impressive board room around a giant, polished oak table. Where heated, Council of Elrond-style debates would rage, and we’d all smoke menthol cigarettes and drink glasses of brown liquor. A lot of shouting would occur and there would be glass vases all over the table for us to smash against the wall when one of us reached the crescendo of our argument, to really drive home the point. And speaking of driving, do office jobs come with a cool, sexy company car? They do, right? I hope I’d get to pick mine out. I’d take whatever they gave me, of course, but if I could, I’d take the 1928 Stutz Blackhawk over the Benz.
I can only guess and hope that this is what it is like to work in an office. Though, I imagine it’s probably actually much, much more magical and pulse-racingly exciting. Perhaps I will get an office job soon, and live that fervent dream. But am I up to the task? Do I have the mettle required to jump into that searing frying pan? I guess it’s a test that only the bravest among us can conquer. Probably I will be chewed up and shat out, a cracked shell of a man with nothing to cling to in the world. But maybe I will pull myself, naked and bloody, to the top of the heaping pile of rank corpses, a crimson sword clutched in one hand, a tattered copy of “How To Win Friends and Influence People” in the other, and scream to the firmament that I saw the golden idol of office work, and, like a cosmic warrior, snatched it from the very jaws of peril.
Or, maybe I’ll work in the mail room.
* Photo by mediageek via Flickr