Monday, May 18, 2009

Deviant Office Perverts, The Apple of My Eye

During my early years of office purgatory – when mastering the formula for our auto-drip coffee maker was considered an admirable job function, and the Brother P-Touch labeler was one wrist-strap away from being soldered to my forearm – evenings were spent rehashing the merits of a trounced college degree. That said, my pissant status still ranked higher than that of the chest thumping pimps doubling as mail sorters on the building’s eighth floor. In fact, this comparison kept the alarm clock ringing each morning and the belt nooses (which hung from my clothes rod as a hedge against mental meltdown) off my neck. Although the moustached drunks in management were far from a ringing endorsement of integrity, the atmosphere was kept therapeutic by equally incredulous colleagues. An eclectic troop of cube dwellers, we were simply thankful to stand on the receiving side of the cafeteria grill counter. In other words, if the bathrooms of this painfully outmoded building were infested with roaches, at least we weren’t made to strap on an insecticide pack.

The revolving door of temp workers kept the mood light, even in our darkest hours when the final toner cartridge ran dry. Spanning the gamut from punks, artists, whores (not in the official sense), junkies, perverts, and cocktail waitresses (with the inability to operate a fax machine, much less speak English), this collage of misfits flashed a bag of tricks more suited to a circus sideshow than a buttoned-up private bank led by sherry sipping Protestants. And while I shared a few laughs with the overweight dapper dan – dressed nattily in the same black blazer and t-shirt as if wardrobe variety were a death knell – and exchanged pleasantries with the unkempt skateboarder at the elevator banks, none of these characters made quite the impression as did the balding pervert and his alcoholic sidekick.

This peeping tom was a cross between James Lipton of 'Inside The Actor’s Studio' fame, and Andy Samberg’s 'Dick In A Box' caricature of early ‘90’s new jack swing. More specifically, his style was one part uncombed halo of thatched hair, two parts ever-evolving variety of frumpy suits, purchased from a nameless friend
known only as “the haberdasher.” Should I have been in the market for a pre-owned Hyundai Excel, or effected an in-person audit of a Van Nuys porn distributor, this gentleman’s hand – bedecked in faux gold bullion – would no doubt have extended itself in unctuous amity. However, in the caverns of Wall Street, with storied tales of greed, guts, and glory framed by power outfits and $200 haircuts, the presence of an ornamented carnival barker with an eye for ass was more comic relief than hard-nosed deal making. If this man had candy and you had a child, hopefully you also had a shotgun, or the phone number of your local crime stoppers tip line, or at very least one of a decent barber.

Instead of feigning horror, I happily embraced our cast of fools. And while it sometimes takes one to know one, I wasn’t the guy printing out young female profiles from the company picture directory in order to deface their idealism in some grody apartment, nor was I buying polyester neckties on the street corner, wrapped in cheap plastic. And I most certainly wasn’t lunching with a red-faced drunk who preferred virtual reality sunglasses on most afternoons, presumably to hide the pinched capillaries in his cheeks after a solid six of Killian’s (see “The Elephant Cometh” for even more office oddities).

Take me by the hand, o wise sage of haberdashery, o mightiest of Chess Kings, to the place where crazed bums wearing sandwich boards advertise discount strip club admittance and two-for-one suit sales. Show me the wonders of backside pinching and the talent for quick tongue flicks as mating calls. You rule the flea markets of Nassau Street with the heft of a thousand swinging phalluses, sucking the oxygen out of each room you inhabit with a ball sac of potato-sized immensity. In your presence, my testes are mere peas, my persona a regrettable shell of reservation, brains, and common sense. I am but a meek student of the overused pick-up line; unable to smoke enough unfiltered cigarettes to yellow my teeth, ingest adequate spinach to sprout fur on my chest, or haggle with enough gusto for discounted prices on cubic zirconia. Show me the places were beards grow wild and men roam wilder. I want to feel what you feel when you sexually harass an entire secretarial staff, taste what you taste when you hunker down for a broiled steak dinner at the cafeteria-quality Tad’s. More than a budding hero, you are a masculine colossus of 1950’s over-cologned supremacy, a time traveler from bygone eras of subservient women and workplace spankings. Lead me to the well, bald man, and compromise my financial career and economic stability for a quick drink of unbridled randiness. After all, this is our Eden, and no one lasts long in the garden of forbidden fruit (even if that fruit happens to be the cherry of a bubbly yet naïve ditz tasked with faxing trade confirmations).

Awakening in reality, I suppose the switch to business casual came as a blessing in disguise. Most likely, I wouldn't have commanded much respect with a Borat suit and Flowbee haircut. And as a white guy, well, let’s just say when the axe falls, you don’t have that extra card to play. Even so, I'll bet the first bite of that apple was delicious.

24 comments:

Chris said...

Thanks for the literary trip through the private sector version of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Loved the "Lipton meets Samberg" visual.

Pam said...

Very creative and enjoyable as part of my Monday/Thursday night internet ritural (this time with hot cocoa). I found myself picturing your stout friend as the principal in Billy Madison, what was his wrestling name, The Revolting Blob?

Out-Numbered said...

As good as this post was, it's the mention of the flowbee that had me most impressed. Well played my friend. You have earned my undying respect.

Out-Numbered said...

P.S. You have made the not so coveted Out-Numbered Blogroll... Well deserved. Keep up the good work!

Ron said...

Ok...this post would make the perfect HBO sitcom.

Honestly...you've painted the perfect images of these people - I could actually see them moving.

Title: Apple of my Eye.

And you could use the post photo as the logo.

But you gotta promise me something...

...if you do make this into a sitcom, I want to play one of the office perverts, ok?

MVD said...

Hey Chris – Based on some of the witnessed transgressions, the atmosphere leaned a bit more “When Animals Attack.”

MVD said...

Hi Pam - I like a good pervert as much as the next guy, but he was not my friend. He was my barometer of taste. My icon. My compass.

Actually, no, I was embarrassed to be seen in close quarters with the guy. Truth be told, he was a trainwreck beyond "in progress." One too many lunches in the velvety kitsch of Tad's and you run the risk of being tagged, at best, a flasher.

MVD said...

Actually, Out-Numbered, Flowbee beats the Robocut any day of the week. Thanks for tossing me on the blogroll. Hopefully, I'll suction some of your traffic once they're done reading about vaginal knots.

MVD said...

"I want to play one of the office perverts, ok?"

That's fine, Ron, assuming you've got the needed dexterity. Can you smack an ass with one hand while exposing yourself with the other? Based on your hirsute habits down under, I'm concerned you might be overqualified for the role.

ThaFlapper said...

I can smell the knock-off Drakkar Noir.... delicious :)

Jen said...

I was there but as the perky little institutional equity sales assistant in the early 90's, the one on the other end of the leering stares and condescending sighs. Every morning getting onto the elevator to what felt like the thousandth floor, I contemplated standing on my desk and screaming epithets at those who loved partaking of the forbidden fruit. In retrospect, it is all laughable. At the time, I wanted to steal a few of those toupees and flush them down the toilet all the while giving the wankers a swift kick in the crotch. Oh well, after I left the firm got hit with a nifty little class action suit. What goes around comes around, so to speak.

MVD said...

Hey Flapper - If you smell the Drakkar, then you certainly envision the shirts laden with mesh, velcro, and useless zippers. Any male wearing mesh on his torso beyond, let's say 1990, has a few skeletons in his closet (if not people tied up).

MVD said...

Jen - The visual you paint of angrily flushing a wheelbarrow full of toupees down the toilet is hilarious. Instead of kicking the remaining perverts in the crotch, however, you should've just snipped their comb-over strands.

Shameless plug for more toupee fun (below)...
http://essentialbastard.blogspot.com/2009/02/and-when-you-see-my-toupee-youll-know.html

Theresa said...

Oh EB you'v brought back some memories...It was the mid 90's. I was a naive 20-something working as a customer service rep. It was also the dawn (at least where I worked) of inter-departmental e-mail. We had this management type guy who held a second job as a magician. He started e-mailing all of us youngins the opportunity to "learn" magic tricks in the privacy of his home. There was also something about private piano lessons (tickling the ivory), but I digress. Apparently he was not aware that big brother watches e-mails. He was subsequently fired and last I heard you can catch his magic show at a strip club in Rivrside.

Jen said...

Will check out the toupee post. As a fellow Aquarian, I find my sensitivity gets the best of me at times. Perhaps that was why battling it out with the old school boys became far too tiresome. Sexual harrassment is just not what it used to be.

MVD said...

Unfortunately, Theresa, for every girl disgusted with the prospect of tickling someone's ivories, there's one right behind her eager to showcase snake charming abilities for a promotion. Sad but true.

Matt Shea said...

Ah, the office worker and his P-Touch: inseparable, much like the waiter and his service cloth or the policeman and his whistle (or maybe gun, in these terrifying times). I'm surprised you didn't 'accidentally' take the P-Touch home with you when you were ejected from the shady world of corporate finance and use the opportunity to label every greenback of your newly dwindling income. Perhaps right now a shady Mafioso money laundering operation is struggling to remove the 'Mike's tenner!' labels from a messy bunch of Hamiltons.

MVD said...

Actually, Matt, I'm lucky to have been "dismissed" with my pants. Everything else (P-Touch, corporate card, Blackberry, dignity) was collateral damage.

If anything, I should've printed a few hundred "I Am A Special Person" labels to scatter throughout my abode, lifting the spirits on particularly dark days. But hindsight is often littered with regret.

Suldog said...

You almost make me yearn for my days spent working in an office supplies company in South Boston, where half the sales force matched your descriptions of the bald and red-faced duo (and where the female members of staff cowered in corners whenever they weren't on the road.)

Almost.

MVD said...

Hey Suldog - One of the old school traders at my first company used to pine for the days of "limos, bimbos, and lines," an apparent staple back in the Gordon Gekko stained 1980's. By the time I clenched my first briefcase, seeded veterans would constantly remind me of how I missed the glory days of financial warfare.

If born a mere 10 years earlier, I may have had a decent shot to effect a playful public spanking in my cubicle. Ah, sweet regret.

Chrissy said...

I love whacked teacher memories. My friend's father was a car salesman and our odd bird English teacher came in to look a car and insisted on crawling into the trunk to see how much space there was.

MVD said...

Hi Chrissy - Looks like you were so enveloped in my prose that you commented on the wrong story. Of course, I might simply replace "teacher" with "pervert" in your sentence and call it a day.

Perhaps your English teacher had some undesirables of which to dispose. Or maybe he liked riding caboose.

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