Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

It’s Been a Pleasure, If Pleasure Means Utter Nightmare

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Thank you, everyone. I’ve never been very good at speeches, but for this goodbye party I think I can manage.

What can I say? It’s been eight years – and it seems like only yesterday I first rode up here in that elevator. Remember when it used to work? Well, I suppose it does technically still work, but all those failed safety inspections have made it illegal to operate. Kudos to Maintenance for consistently dropping the ball on that one, with a nod to Mr. Daly, whose budgetary sensitivities have always made Maintenance’s job so much more interesting.

But I’m getting ahead of myself; there are so many more people to acknowledge before Mr. Daly, who deserves a speech all his own. First of all, thanks to Dominic and Phoebe for organizing this little shindig. I know you have your hands full with keeping Mr. Daly’s plants well maintained and picking up his dry cleaning, so we should all be aware that arranging this event wasn’t easy – Dominic and Phoebe had to cut their solitaire games to the bone in order to fit this into the schedule and keep hounding us about who would contribute what, ever since Mr. Daly eliminated the budget for refreshments. I know your job titles are officially Administrative Assistant and Office Manager, but really you do much more than that. How many office managers do you know who make it their business to make sure no one’s working lunch lasts more than eight minutes?

Jeff, you’ve been here even longer than I have. That makes you the only veteran around here now, I guess. I’m only beginning to understand, after eight years, just how you do it. Most people would have jumped out the window by now, but you just plug away, every day, five days a week, impervious to the capriciousness and invective that rains down from on high. Jeff, you’ve made me envy deaf people in general, now that I’ve seen how crucial deafness can be in surviving this environment. If we still had a working water cooler, the gossip around it would never involve you, even if almost everyone here would have no qualms about bad-mouthing a deaf man.

Speaking of the water cooler, I must note Ernie’s contribution to our accomplishments. Ernie, when you kicked the cooler in fit of rage, did you expect that doing so would reverse the results of the office NCAA tournament betting pool? Although I personally think Mr. Daly’s reaction was excessive – making all of us suffer by refusing to fund the cooler’s replacement – I must take the rare step of agreeing with him: Duke never deserves to win.

Jacquelin, I’ve shared a cubicle with you for almost a year. In that time you’ve learned so much about sharing space that I feel we can almost be friends. I say “almost” because Mr. Daly doesn’t allow socializing among employees during work hours, and we must go our separate ways at day’s end – I to my family and you to your other job at Derrick’s Go-Go Lounge. I do wish you didn’t have to work two jobs, Jacquelin, but apparently the salary budget has been frozen for six years despite the consistent profits this division generates. This evening, would you be so kind as to ask Derrick if there are any more openings on his staff?

I’d like to mention some people who are no longer with us here, notably George, my previous cubicle mate, and Gregg before him. Their tendency to work nights made sharing the space with them almost bearable, at least until Mr. Daly mandated everyone’s presence at 8:00 AM sharp. Everyone excepting himself, of course; he couldn’t get back from the golf course until at least 9:30, and that was only on days when the club wasn’t fêting some other stodgy old white guy at brunch. So a shout out to George and Gregg. Gregg wouldn’t hear me anyway, with those noise-canceling headphones of his and his enthusiasm for Black Sabbath, but it’s the thought that counts.

The thought, indeed: Mr. Daly, I thought you’d want to be here to bid farewell to the only member of your staff who has never falsified expense reports, but apparently I thought wrong. After all, they’re honoring old whatsisname again at the country club this morning, and God forbid you should miss an opportunity to rub shoulders with other ambitious jerks. But now is hardly the time to indulge in petty complaints; those are your specialty, after all. So I am recording this little address, and I leave for you a token of my regard for you, with a note attesting to everything you did to contribute to it. Phoebe, please make sure that Mr. Daly gets this bag of soiled diapers. I’d love to say that I personally gathered each one from the day care center downstairs, but that would imply far more effort than you’re worth, Mr. Daly. No, I had everyone contribute toward it, which they did with unbridled enthusiasm – enthusiasm that I had yet to see in all my years here. I wish you many more decades of striving toward social mediocrity.

Thank you, everyone. I’ll be here until 5:30, giggling in front of my empty inbox.

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Written by Thag

March 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm

One Response

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  1. You killed that one, brilliant!!

    Renee Mason

    March 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm


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