Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Kinda smokey in here, ain't it?"...

My first job the summer after graduating high school was a phone operator for Lowe’s Hardware.  So you know how you’re shopping around and hear that voice paging for misc. departments over the loud speaker?  My personal favorite was “Home D├ęcor!  Line 4!”…Yeah, I was that.

Regardless it was a pretty decent job and paid pretty well too. I worked there for two summers.  Even got a promotion to bookkeeper.  Anyway, fast forward a year and my family moved from Virginia to Lexington, KY.  My manager at my job in Virginia was nice enough to put me in touch with the manager at Lowe’s of Lexington.  I was excited at the prospect of continuing to work with a familiar company.

I landed the job of bookkeeper in the new locale and arrived for my first day of work.  Greeting me on my first day on the job was a woman who was to be my boss.  I never interviewed with her, but if I had, I likely would have had doubts about my longevity.

She was a squatty 4’2”…maybe in her 60’s.  Her polyester pants straining under the girth of her stomach…her cheap belt looking as though it was a lasso reining in as much fat as it could muster. Her grey wirey hair was yanked into a ponytail. Did I mention she was a Marlboro red chain smoker?  Yeah that added to her charisma too.  As I entered the office she snuffed out her cigarette by grinding it to a pulp in her University of Kentucky Wildcat ashtray, then proceeded to waddle over to me. 

“You the new gal?” she asked with a thick Kentucky accent, ignoring my extended right hand I prepped for a handshake.  “I’m Angie.  I’ll be yer boss.  Have yearself a seat over thay-er” she indicated my desk by waving her crooked nicotine stained finger in the direction of a table set up in the corner.  Dazed, I found myself following her direction and sat down. 

In a vain attempt to break the glacier of ice between me and my new Appalachian friend, I turned to her as she lit a new cigarette.  In my most upbeat voice I could muster, I smiled and asked, “So Angie, are you from Lexington?” as though her accent wouldn’t have tipped me off.  “Yeah, bean heere all mi life.” she said as she waved the smoke away, “Ain’t no famlee of mine that ain’t fruum heere.”, then turned back to her work.  All I could say was, “That’s nice.”  As though I was really happy to get to know her in such an intimately special way. 

By 10 a.m., the entire office was a cloud of second hand smoke.  I’m not a smoker so the experience was awful.  I felt as though I’d have emphysema by lunch.  Gagging, thick smoke.  Still I thought, “Maybe things will get better.  It’s only my first day.”  I was wrong.

Later in the day, as I sat gasping for oxygen at my desk, I heard her say through the wall of smoke that separated us, “You need to feeks the way you dray-ess.”  Surprised, I waved away enough smoke to make out the outline of her body so I knew where to turn to reply.  Confused, I said, “I don’t understand what you mean.  What about my outfit is violating Lowe’s dress code?”…She swiveled in her chair, rolled over to my desk and proceeded to show me her bloated foot jammed into an orthopedic open toe sandal….her toes with nails not unlike ruffled potato chips stretching and writhing beneath a net of reinforced nude hose.  She grabbed a pencil and used it as a pointer.  “Thayse here”, she said as she tapped her foot with her pencil.  As though I didn’t understand what footwear was,  “Hose, nee-ude, wit thees tap of shooo.  Yerra wearin’ them black sock and flats.  It ain’t professional.”  I half-heartedly agreed, as though I’d immediately go to Wal-Mart’s orthopedic sandal section so I could further my career with Angie. 

I think that day was the longest workday of my life.  5 o’clock couldn’t arrive fast enough, and when it finally did, I grabbed my purse and proceeded to clock out.  She looked up from her desk smiling.  I thought she was going to tell me to have a good night, that I did well for my first day.  “Year clocked out?” she asked.  “Yep!  It was so nice meeting you today!” I said, lying through my teeth. She held up her finger and said, “Now now, hold yerself fer jist meenit.  I got suppin’ fer yas.” 

A wave of relief came over me as I thought, “She was extra tough on me today and I passed the muster with flying colors.”  Other thoughts that ran through my head?  “Fruit basket”, “Cookie bouquet” “Job well done plaque”….Probably not realistic, but still optimistic.

No.  She returned with a dirty grey mop, a rolling bucket of filthy brownish grey water and a yellow “Piso Mojado” sign…you know, with the stick guy falling?  “Wet floor” I think it translates to. Confused, I stood there as she handed me the mop.  “What is this for?” I asked.  “Yer gotta clean dem bathrooms before you leave ya know.”  “But I just clocked out.” “I know, yer gunna do it off the clock”. 

She proceeded to take me to the store’s public bathrooms.  “See this?” she asked pointing to the disgustingly dirty floor.  “Jist take that there mawp and geeve eet a good washin’”  I looked at her blankly and replied, “Sorry Ang, ain’t happenin’” as though my putting on a Kentucky dialect would bring some type of commonality between us.  “Whatcha meen?” “I mean I quit!”  I announced as I handed her the mop….And walked out. 

Never did hear from her or the store.  Probably made up some story about why I didn’t work out.  Took me a month to get the smoke smell out of my car after driving home that night.

I’m sure a few of you have similar stories...

See ya…

Monday, March 21, 2011

I was a Master Baker...

Did you know I was the master cinnamon roll maker in my house?  It’s true.  I’m sure you’ll be amazed to know I made them every single Sunday before church. 

My foray into cinnamon roll making started in Home Economics.  Do they even teach that course anymore?  I don’t know.  They did when I was in 8th grade.  Learned to sew crappy potholders and maybe even an apron, but cooking was my favorite.

One day we walked into class to find a can of Pillsbury biscuit dough at each of our cooking stations.  The recipe was pretty straightforward:

Preheat oven, melt stick of butter in pan.  Dip biscuit in cinnamon/sugar mixture, dip in butter, re-dip in sugar mixture.  Place in pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

The cool part to me that was not included in the recipe above was the presentation. Very carefully with a paring knife, a ½ inch slit was cut in the middle of the biscuit disk.  You’d then fold two sides of the circle underneath pull them through the center.  You did this before baking the dough.  The end result looked not unlike what many of us know as a clitoris. 

Sure, my dad smirked when I initially made them at home.  “Why are you laughing Dad?” I’d ask innocently pulling out a tray of bubbling baked cinnamon sugar clitori. “Nothing, they just look like belly buttons.”  he’d reply.  It was only later I realized the source of his laughter.  We were all eating vajajay rolls.  Coated in sugar.  Baked with love to a delightfully sweet and light goodness. 

They did taste good.  Probably would still make them if I could keep a straight face.  If any of you host me I’ll bring them over and we’ll share a good laugh.

Jesus Christ I need help.

See ya.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

If it looks like an Irishman...

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone!  Are you Irish?  Not that it matters because we all celebrate the day, right?  I didn't know I was Irish until I was in sixth grade.  I mean sure, St. Patty's Day always meant a trip to Hallmark to pick out a cool shamrock pin, but I just wanted to be like my friends...I didn't know I was indeed Irish.

You'd think my parents would clue me in.  I mean my grandmother was a red head who enjoyed corned beef and soda bread.  Two of my sisters with their red hair and fair freckled complexion look so Irish they could pose at Ellis Island.

My dad loved Irish setters.  Bought me one for my birthday when I turned five.  Mom made him take it back, but still...Maybe he was trying to clue me in to my heritage without mom knowing about it.  I didn't get the hint.  Bye puppy.  Nice knowing you Irish Setter.  I just call him "Irish Setter" because I only spent about an hour with him.  Didn't get the chance to name him.  Regardless because I didn't know I was Irish, I would probably would have come up with some dumb name like "Fluffy" or "Red" instead of  "O'Mahoney" or "Shamrock".  Cool Irish names.

I liked Irish novelties like green leprechaun and shamrock stickers.  I drew lots of rainbows.  I also found Lucky Charms to be my favorite cereal.  I liked to hoard the marshmallows.  Irish breakfast if you will...

I couldn't dance too well.  Don't the Irish do a little jig with their feet going cloppity clop in a cool rhythmic fashion?  Yeah, couldn't do that.  Maybe that threw me off my Irish ancestral scent trail....

I don't know why, but on a sunny Saint Patricks Day in sixth grade I approached my mom as though I was going to have the big 'talk'.  I just asked her.  Flat out.  "Am I Irish?"  I needed answers.  There had to be a reason for my attraction to all things Irish.  The answer? "Trina, of course you're Irish.  You didn't know that?  Your grandmother, her mother, her mother's mother were all of Irish descent."  As though it was common knowledge.

I shared the news with my siblings.  We were pretty jazzed to learn we were indeed Irish.  Real Irish people.  Not the ones who make the claim on March 17th.  I was a little miffed that I had celebrated my Saint Patrick's Days of yesteryear under what I thought was the guise of being Irish....

My anger melted away once I put on that green construction paper hat...with the buckle.  Truly Irish indeed...

Outta here...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wait, this looks familiar...

I used to love french braids.  I toiled and practiced hundreds of times to learn how to do them and eventually mastered the craft.  My favorite look was a single braid down the back of my head.  With pouffy bangs.  Not unlike what I now know as a polygamist.  Please see Exhibit A below:

Exhibit A:  Polygamist Hair

I also loved Gunne Sax dresses.  A very special day was when I wore my red one with a french braid.  Not unlike the styles worn by what I now know as a polygamist.  Well, ok, maybe a sexy polygamist.  But still...See Exhibit B below:

Exhibit B:  Polygamist Dress, sexy style

Somewhere there's a picture of me in a red Gunne Sax dress with a french braid, holding my flute while sitting in a winged back wicker chair.  Good grief.

I mean, really..Anything else to add here?  Aside from telling you I was an idiot?

Outta here....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Things I thought were cool, but probably weren't...

Here are a few things I thought added to my coolness factor when I was a kid:

I used to like roller skating.  No, put the visual of white leather skates with a stopper to rest.  I liked it more dangerous than that.  Metal skates.  Ones that were adjustable by loosening a wingnut.  You'd wear them over your sneakers.  Mine just didn't seem fast enough so I snuck into my dad's WD-40 to grease the skids so to speak.  My neighbor used to say, "Wow, Trina!  You're a daredevil! SO FAST!" as I raced downhill.  You know how those ski jumpers pose just before they take off from the platform?  All bent at the knee? I'd do that...

I liked riding my pink bike with a denim banana seat over plywood ramps.  Did I mention the chain guard read, "Sweet and Sassy"?  It did.  Anyway, I was always trying to catch some air...is that how you say it?  Glide across like a professional BMX-er.  Pretty dumb.  I didn't even have a dirt bike.  Lame.

I orchestrated neighborhood parades.  Yep, sure did.  I'd make all the neighbor hood kids pull out their wagons, big wheels (green machines were preferred), bikes...We'd tell our parents a big parade was coming down Sherwin Circle...Get out your lawnchairs cause it's gonna be great.  I remember one year dressing my sister and brother as clowns.  I used upside down Ohio State pom poms for their clown hair.  Yep, I did that.

I liked rolling up aluminum foil and placing it across my teeth.  Like braces.  I thought my friends looked cute with braces.  I wanted them...I actually needed them.  My parents kept taking me to dentists until they found one who said I didn't need them.  But I digress.  I loved braces.  Girls who had braces in Junior High climbed to the top of the "Most Beautiful and Popular" list.  The best foil to use for faux braces was Wrigley's gum wrappers by the way.  By today's standard's I was actually creating a grill, but no one knew about those back then, did they?

I was good at making fart noises with my armpit.  You know, how you place your palm in your pit and then pumped your other arm as its bent at a 90 degree angle?  Really, it was a hoot.  My siblings will tell you I was the best.  I thought that was cool too.

I went through a rhythmic gymnastics phase too.  I wasn't good enough for the real flippy, bendy stuff.  I felt rhythmic gymnastics looked pretty easy by comparison.  I especially loved the ribbon on a stick deal.  You've seen that right?  The girl does all kinds of pretty poses and dance moves as she twirls the ribbon?  I fancied myself like that...Only I used toilet paper.  Would it have been to much to ask for some standard ribbon?  Probably not...But if I was lucky and the toilet paper came in a pastel color, I felt it made a nice substitute for the real deal.  Floated through the air quite nicely.  Only downside was it tore pretty easily if my leg caught it during a spin on my mother's linoleum floor.

I'm sure you have a few of your own things you thought were cool.  Right?  Come on, out with it!  Make me feel a little less weird.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Everyone take cover, I'm prepping dinner...

My dad enjoyed cooking once in awhile.  I think mostly because he enjoyed buying and experimenting with different culinary tools...He had an ice cream maker, a deep fryer...His favorite though was a pressure cooker.

Maybe you've seen one.  I couldn't tell you what a modern pressure cooker looks like, but the one we had was a stainless steel pan with a latching and locking lid.  There was a little gizmo (no idea what to call that thing on top) that like a spinning top balanced atop the entire contraption.  

I also couldn't tell you of any delicious meals he made in there.  Never do I remember getting wide-eyed in anticipation of the meal that was to come from that thing.  I think he made cow tongue in there once.  Liver and onions...In fact, I'm kind of getting that gaggy reflex just recounting his pressure cooker meals.

What I can tell you is that my dad, when he did use our pressure cooker was a 6 foot 3 inch, 198 pound tower of chicken shit.  Really.  He'd pull the pan out from the least used cabinet in the kitchen and ask that everyone remain out of the kitchen for the duration of its use.  I actually remember getting nervous when he used it.  I envisioned the pan blowing up, liver and onions all over mom's white ceiling.  Pressure cooker shrapnel in the cabinets that absorbed the impact of the explosion.

After evacuating his family, he'd proceed to assemble his recipe inside the pan, then lock and load.  Meaning he'd check and recheck to ensure all parts of the pan were assembled safely.  Then he'd crank the heat.  I remember that dumb thing making this god awful hissing noise.  A constant reminder to us that some disgusting cut of meat was in there, simmering, and I'd be forced to choke it down.

Dad's usual routine also involved relieving the pressure valve once he thought the food was ready.  He look for the longest BBQ tongs he could find, stand at arm's length away, and squint his eyes as he cautiously opened the pressure valve.  Steam would come hissing out.  He'd look relieved to have escaped injury.

One day after Dad went through the entire pressure cooker routine, I happened to walk into the kitchen as he was relieving the pressure with his BBQ tongs.  I have no idea what came over me, but I screamed in the loudest, deepest voice I could muster, 'BOOOOOMMMM!!!!'.  I scared him so badly he threw the tongs as though he had expected the explosion...knew his safety plan to escape the aftermath.   He went to hit the deck.  The only glitch in his evacuation route was he forgot he left the dishwasher door open.   He tripped over it during his escape and landed face first in the middle of the kitchen floor.

I knew it wasn't wise, but I couldn't help laughing my ass off.  Yes, he was mad.  No, I didn't get dinner that night...

Thank god...It was probably liver and onions.

See ya!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We've got nothing for you Trina...

I don't need to tell you my name is Trina.  You already know that...But did you know I used to have a deep seeded resentment toward companies who made personalized name stuff?

You know the drill...Placemats, mugs, keychains...with your name.  As though there was a person who held up the trinket and said, "Now THIS looks like something a "Jeff" would like!" then proceeds to print Jeff's name on the item.

I remember my first dose of non-Trina reality when I was in kindergarten.  My mom went shopping at Kmart.  There in the middle of housewares was a rotating display with placemats.  A buttload of them....with names.  For some reason, the thought of having something with my name on it really got me jazzed.  And so I rotated the display, carefully studying the names, "Tina, Tricia, Trish, Tracey, Tamara..."  No 'Trina'.  Oh, but there was "Katrina"...May as well call me "Kathy"...Close?  Yes, but no cigar.

I became somewhat fixated on finding something, anything, with my name emblazoned on it.  You could have handed me an oil drip pan with "Trina" engraved on the bottom and I would have been flipped my lid with joy.  An oil pan, ridiculous, but I also know if they did make monogrammed ones,  you'd never, ever find one with my name.

Every time I was out with my mom I found myself checking keychain displays, mugs, magnets, mini license plates.  I'd get excited with anticipation as I'd slowly turn to the 'T' section and go through the same agonizing search...Jack diddly squat.

I used to ponder why my parents gave me the name "Trina" in the first place.  I was the first born...I guess they thought it was special.  "No, no...Not 'Katrina'...let's be more progressive than that..." I envisioned my mom saying.  Maybe they had high expectations for me that I would break the non-Trina monogramming glass ceiling.

No, maybe my name was just fucked up.  Like the companies who made the custom stuff at one time got my name as a potential candidate for a "(enter any name in the world except 'Trina')'s room.  KEEP OUT!" type of sign.  The CEO scoffing as he reads it...then says, "Who the hell has the name 'Trina'?  Add a 'Ka' to the beginning please...get it right for god's sake."  Someone has their ass handed to them for even suggesting it.

When I was finally old enough to drive, I convinced my dad to allow me to put 'TRINA' on my license plates.  I was so psyched as I went to the DMV to order them.  Finally.  Something with my name...I will have arrived.  I went to the custom license plate computer and entered, "TRINA".  The response?  "Plate already taken.  Please try another."  Every combination of "TRINA" I could think of was taken.  Awesome.  I understood why though.  Those girls named Trina wanted something with their name on it too.  I felt their pain.

To this day? Nothing...Yes, I still look.  I'll let you know if I ever find anything*.


*No suggestions of ordering custom stuff.  I'm talking about merchandise on demand...in stores.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our family van...

I was always so embarrassed by my family's car.  I'm sure many of you can relate.  I've determined that most people either grew up mortified by their station wagon or van.  My parents were fans of the latter.

Having six kids leaves you little choice than to go van shopping.  I mean, we couldn't all fit into a sleek sedan or sports car unless we were layered atop each other.  Older kids on the bottom.  Younger, lighter weight kids on our laps.  Now that's just ridiculous.  So...vans.  The only worse thing would be driving a short yellow school bus.

I remember my dad had a 1964 Ford Mustang.  Sweet.  That was when we only had 2 kids in our clan.  Seems like every week a new sibling would show up.  Things got cramped.  Next thing I knew, Dad was home late from work.  When he finally came home he was driving a huge 1976 Ford Econoline Van.  Mustang gone.  Blue van here.

Dad opened the sliding side door and allowed us to take a gander of our new mode of transportation.  Being naive dumb kids, we were actually excited.  Two captains chairs in the front, one three seater in the rear.  At the time we only had 3 kids in our family so the only thing we fought over was who got to sit next to the window.  I was the oldest and always won that battle.

Over time, as more kids arrived, my dad customized our van.  By customize I mean, he drove to a hardware store and purchased nails, plywood and carpeting.  He then spent the better part of a weekend building a "U" shaped carpeted bench in the rear section.  That's where the older kids got to ride.  I guess he figured we were less frail then the younger three should we ever get into a wreck.  Able to hang on for our lives...maybe just suffer a little carpet burn.

Not to leave out details, Dad also ensured there was room in the rear for a portable toilet.  No, really.  It was white.  Had a tank beneath it.  "Make sure you fill it with the blue water before you go.  This is mostly for pee.  Try to keep from going #2." was our only tutorial.  I remember on long trips we'd torture each other by threatening to 'look' while the other used it.  Dad taking vicarious swerves also added to the laughs as the toilet patron tried to hold on.

After a few years, dad decided he had enough of the carpeted benches and took them out. "We think it's time you guys had better seats." he said before leaving the house one Saturday morning.  I thought he was taking our van to Ford to get another nice blue vinyl seat installed.  Instead, he opted to go to a junkyard and purchased an olive green seat that used to reside in a Dodge van.  I guess Dad wasn't into details.  Regardless, I had my window seat back.  That was nice.

We sustained lots of injuries from that van too.  In order to get that sliding side door closed you needed to sprint while holding the door handle or it wouldn't close.  Unfortunate timing sometimes led to crushed fingers and toes.

The windows were a pain in the ass too.  Had this annoying latch that would pinch.  My brother and I, when we rode on the carpeted benches, used to like giving our van a 'tail'.  We'd sneak a huge ball of toilet paper, open the rear windows, and unfurl it. We'd laugh as Dad drove around with toilet paper streaming from the rear....the van equivalent of toilet paper on your shoe.  Got in trouble for that.

That van never died.  Dad finally sold it for a new car...A red and brown Ford Econoline van.  I was in high school and didn't spend much time in that one.  You'll have to talk to my younger sibs for the low down on that one...

See ya...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

They just need a little trim...do you mind?

My mother was always experimenting with different hairstyles.  Most often she enjoyed getting perms.  Even after they went out of vogue, she somehow felt it necessary to don curls.

One day while I was studying at our kitchen table, my mother walked with wet hair carrying a pair of scissors.  "Trina, can you give me a hand?" she asked handing me the scissors.  Initially I thought she needed a tag cut off or maybe a random thread trimmed from her top.

"What are these for?" I asked, somewhat confused.  She stood there, hands on her hips looking peturbed as she said "I don't have time to make it to the beauty parlor (that's what she called the 'salon') and my bangs are getting too long.  Can you give them a trim?"  Immediately I was hesitant.  "I don't know, mom.  Probably not a good idea for me to cut your hair.  I don't want to mess it up."  She wouldn't accept my gracious refusal.  She was insistent, "Really Trina!  I trust you.  Just take a little off...please?"

"Fine." I said as I took the scissors and stood up.  "Sit down." I ordered her as though I was taking charge of her hair dilemma.  She did as I asked.  I proceeded to parcel out as best I could what I thought was her 'bang region'.  Remember, this was not an easy task.  She had short, permed, layered hair.

When I was finally able to determine what hair was her bangs, I proceeded to stretch the hair down the front of her face as I had seen stylists always do.  Carefully, I trimmed what I thought was excess length...

What I forgot to take into account was that the hair would curl back up.  And maybe I trimmed a bit much having forgotten that tiny detail.  I watched as the remaining 1 inch of bang furled itself against her hairline.  Ooops.  She looked like a middle aged Cupie Doll.  Only her bangs were shorter.

I tried to keep from laughing as I said in the most proud, convincing way I could, "There you go!  I hope you like it!"...She got up from the chair and walked into the powder room next to our kitchen.

I watched as she intially tried to make sense of what I did.  Then observed as her smile faded and her face turned red.  "What did you do?" she asked with some tension in her tone.  "What do you mean?" I replied, now looking at the floor to keep from busting out laughing.  "I mean, you completely chopped off my bangs.  What the hell is this?" she asked as she pulled the remaining hair down and released it...watching as it made the straightway for her scalp.

"Well, I don't recall telling you I was a stylist.  You asked me to trim them, so I did the best I could. Besides, who cares?  They'll grow out!" I said in my lame attempt to put a positive spin on a bad situation.  "How about I lop off your bangs, Trina?  Would you be ok with just 'letting them grow'?"  Then I said something that I probably shouldn't have, "Well, mom, I would know better than to ask a family member to cut my hair."

Whoops.  Hearing that made her furious...I got an earful.  So much for my good deed.

She never did ask me to cut her hair again.  To this day thinks I chopped them short intentionally.

I'll never tell....


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"What's that up there you think?"

I'm sure most of you can relate to working with a person who always felt management was out for them...Paranoid.  I used to work with a guy named Mark who was just that.  Drove me insane actually.

Mark was a chubby, balding middle aged guy.  Every morning he'd plop himself in my visitor chair and start a discussion on the latest corporate rumor mill.  Generally, I'd listen, sip on my coffee and half heartedly agree just so he'd leave.

One week, our manager announced the cubicle arrangement on our floor was going to rearranged so people could work closer with their teammates...Great.  A big "Whatever." right?  Not to Mark.  As soon as he heard the news he ran over to my cube.

"Trina, what is up with the news of rearranging our cubes?"...As I stared into my computer screen, my back to him, I rolled my eyes as I said, "Where are you going with that Mark?  Do you think something is up?"  Mark scooted my visitor chair closer and started to speak in a hushed tone.  "I think they're starting to assess us."  "Mark that's hardly new, it's called a 'Review'." I replied between sips of coffee.  His tone sounded increasingly anxious as he said in a loud whisper "No! NO!  You're missing the point!   I think who you're grouped with will determine your future with the company.  You know, based on corporate management's needs."

"What a putz." went through my head as I told Mark that maybe he had a point and we'd just have to see how things played out.

Fast forward a couple of weeks.  Our cubes were now rearranged.  That morning, as I arrived and got myself settled into my new locale, I happened to glance up to the ceiling and noticed holes where the old cubicle support poles had been from the previous floor plan.

As I heard Mark arrive, I got up, walked to his desk and sat myself in his visitor chair...Just as Mark always did, I pulled the chair close so I could speak confidentially.  "Sorry to bother you first thing Mark," I said while looking around to ensure the coast was clear, "but I think you may have nailed it when you said management was assessing us with this new floor plan."  He froze, turned around, and took off his glasses to give them a cleaning.."What do you mean?" he replied.  "I have to confess I wasn't buying into your theory on this cubicle arrangement deal until I walked in this morning and noticed something really strange."  He looked around, confused....

I discreetly pointed to the holes in the ceiling.  "Have you noticed the new holes in the ceiling?" I stopped him as he started to look up.."Don't look now, too obvious.  But, when you have a chance, check it out.  I think corporate installed cameras over the weekend. I believe they may be keeping tabs.  Watching what we're doing on our PC's...Who surfs the Internet, who's productive..."

My "theory" was so outrageous that I thought even Mark would laugh and say, "Oh come on! That's ridiculous."  But he didn't...Bought it.  Hook...line...and sinker.  What an idiot.  Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have thought about the support poles...Not Mark.

My coworkers thanked me for all the extra visits he paid them that day to share the latest conspiratorial news...and that I should be the first one taken out should he decide to climb a clock tower or go postal...They did think it was funny though.

Good times...