Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Profiling Is Wrong

Awhile back I swapped out the ordinary fluorescent bulbs in my office for Ottlite “natural sunlight” bulbs. They were awesome and, incidentally, my office plants started growing like they thought they really had a chance to go wild and free. I felt a little guilty at the deception, especially when they shifted and started climbing towards the lights instead of the window. That has to be the ultimate betrayal for a plant. Sorry. I did it. It was me.

My plant caretaker lady even commented on it. My office was quickly turning into The Land That Time Forgot and she had to get aggressive with her pruning shears.

Unfortunately, these bulbs apparently burn out at an alarming rate for what amounts to an incredibly expensive exploding light fixture.  

I finally called the maintenance guy to come in and replace my funky white lights with the ordinary weird yellow-glow fluorescent bulbs that are probably giving everybody underarm cancer or otherwise shortening our lifespans. Whatever. I'm a slave to economy just like everybody else. So what if my eyesight, health and attitude pay the price?

He was immediately unimpressed with my sunlight-light installation and seemed a bit under the weather, or at least I gathered he’d been having a rough day from the steady torrent of invective he kept up under his breath from atop the ladder.

Those lights look funny. They ain’t right.

No. Errrr. Yes. They’re like sunlight.

No. They lightbulbs.  That sunlight (pointing at window).

Well, ah. Yes. That is – no. I mean that IS sunlight. This is like sunlight.

Look like a lightbulb that don’t work to me. Sun working just fine.

Well I mean I bought them to get more sunlight in here.

(walks to window, opens blinds)

Like that?


I retreated into the depths of my desk chair like a startled turtle and frantically pretended to be busy by placing the phone to my ear upside-down and repeatedly pounding the "enter" key on my computer hoping that he'd kind of melt away.  He didn't - and his muttering got somewhat less verbal and more like a series of angry symbols, but I did catch one last phrase as he snapped his ladder shut and trailed out the door carrying an armload of my expensive, nonfunctional lightbulbs.

.....White People.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


I was invited to play golf recently by one of the founders of the investment bank I work for. I was initially flattered until I replayed the tape of the invitation in my head and heard the word "golf" echoing over and over with ominous undertones. Then I realized: he's intentionally putting me in a situation in which I could very easily do something to warrant immediate "Don't come to the office - we'll send you your things" severance. This isn't golf - it's a test of my ability to not get fired under pressure.

I could describe my golf game for you in detail, but I won't. Instead I'll draw the curtain of decency around the whole escapade and leave you with only this: the punchline is - in a full 50 holes of golf over a two-day period I nearly hit The Chairman himself, two cars, a pair of croquet players, one goose, a swan, a man on his back porch, two other houses and actually did hit a golf cart. The highlight was taking a 300mph drive straight off the tee and directly at the side of The Chairman's own home on the 4th tee box to my left. Fortunately a large pine tree intervened, but not before the stress of the shot shaved 24 months off my rapidly dwindling lifespan. 

At one point I bounced a ball off a tree, into a cart path and literally OVER another house, but I didn't count that one as "almost hitting a house" becase it hit a cart path first so it counts as "hitting a cart path" (and makes the list of cart paths I hit), but not the "endangering a house" list. Golf is all about technicalities and since I don't qualify to keep track of the usual ones (like "score" and "strokes" and "putts") I have begun a list of my own.

Balls lost: 18
Trees hit: 12
Tee Shots entirely muffed: 15
Times I was told to "just pick up your ball": 20
Man-made objects hit: 3
Animals hit: 0
People hit: 0


I shot a 68. Par was 72. I was 4 under on round one!

We had a wonderful celebratory dinner that evening, but I realize now the general air of conviviality was due largely to the other three players' shared sense of relief to have successfully eluded the blazing hail of screaming golf balls I sent their way all afternoon.

What can I say? I'm no golfer and I'd rather be good at fishing than rich.