I had to go back to the old office in the middle of the day today for a mandatory meeting, where everyone on my contract (there’s about 15 or so of us who work for my employer) gathered to hear the results of the annual employee satisfaction survey and what the megacorporation is doing to address the dissatisfactions. This was probably the third time I’ve been to that meeting, so it was predictably boring, but hey: free lunch.
I arrived at the old building, coincidentally, at almost the exact same time as several of my co-workers, although we had come by different routes. They had made a sidetrip to pick up some dessert for everyone, which consisted of two tubs of bakery cookies, one labeled as chocolate chip and the other as malted milk ball (i.e. basically chocolate chip cookies but with crushed up Whoppers instead of Tollhouse morsels).
Now, here’s the thing: I freaking love Whoppers. I know I am in a dwindling majority in that, and a lot of people find chocolate-covered malted milk balls gross, but there you have it. I love Whoppers so much that the last time I went to the movie theater, I attempted to buy some, only to find that while the concession stand was stocked with Raisinets and Junior Mints and Buncha Crunch, they apparently don’t even carry Whoppers anymore. Which was a drag.
I’m usually pretty reticent around my co-workers because I just generally don’t want to draw attention to myself (latent fear of someone noticing I’m never given very much work to do, I guess). But when I noticed the malted milk ball cookies during the elevator ride up, I did relate that I had recently been to the movies, tried to get some, and come up empty. To which one of my co-workers really stridently responded, “Oh, man, that sucks!” and suddenly it was no longer me making a passing comment, it was a conversation that would be really awkward if I clammed up again. So without thinking much about it I answered, “I know, right? I was like … M&M’s? They’ll do … I guess.” And I said it in this really cranked-up aggrieved tone of voice that my wife and I resort to when we’re really making fun of ourselves for being overly entitled and privileged and having first-world problems and so forth. (Unsurprisingly we use this tone a lot. I should worry more that sometimes parodying a douchebag can come across as the douchebaggery being parodied itself. But anyway.)
But my M&M’s line cracked the rest of the elevator up. Which on the one hand at least killed the pressure to keep the conversation going. But really all I could think as everyone else was laughing was “Seriously? Gales of laughter? Over that? You people need to get out more.” The fact is the bar for humor is really, really low in the workaday world of The Big Gray. It is a very fortunate thing, I believe, that I got over my natural attention-seeking-via-class-clown-behavior tendencies some time during the college years, because it would be way to easy to turn into David Brent/Michael Scott or something if I hadn’t.