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By Christopher Robin was Murdered (Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 10:50:38 AM EST) (all tags)
The French are a funny people. Secret Kelly. He looks Seth Bullock to me. Baudrillard's marshmallow.


    "You know Kelly French?"
    "Um. Kelly."
    "Chunky girl."
    "Always on the phone?"
    "That's her."

    Kelly French is a young woman who works in my office. White, blonde hair, on the heavy side. She has a nasal Long Island accent. I'm not sure what she does. Well, that's somewhat inaccurate. I'm not sure exactly what she's been hired to do. What she does is spend all day on the phone talking with her extensive Long Island-centric family. She's a loud talker, so her cube neighbors get to hear half of all sorts of fascinating conversations about alternate side parking issues, sibling career inaction, domestic labor efficiency schemes, and dinner plans. Occasionally her family will get riled up about baseball – this family must form the Long Island Cubs Fan Club in its entirety – and we get half a argument about the significance of Opening Day double-play combo the Cubs used from '85 to '92 or the privatization of the Tribune and its impact on Zambrano's contract negotiations.
    As far as I can tell, these eight-hour, round-robin family phone conversations constitute her work day. I've never seen her at a meeting. I've never seen her talk to a manager. I have this vague notion that she was the assistant of some muckety-muck who was canned in some now-forgotten shake up. Given her low profile, I reckon she was simply invisible when viewed from as far away at the uptown office.

    Sometimes, when I'm feeling creative, I pretend that I believe she's some sort of super-genius consultant, astoundingly knowledgeable about some unbelievably esoteric aspect of our work that we rarely need her; but, if we did, we would need her vast and laser-like know-how immediately. So, she's kept around, a sort of intellectual last resort, biding her time, waiting patiently to save us all.
    The idea that Kelly French is some secret super-genius is, admittedly, far fetched. As far as I can tell from her phone conversations, she has yet to master the intricacies of alternate side parking laws, is unable to remember what any of her siblings do for a living, is regularly foiled by the bewildering array of color-coded containers (blue and green) demanded by New York's Byzantine waste disposal laws, struggles mightily with standard kitchen measurements, and is a Cubs fan.
    Still, in my more creative moments, I like to imagine.

    "Who does she work for anyway?"
    "Read your own annotations, man. I'm a composite voice built out of half-remembered conversational fragments. I can't very well give you new information.
    "Is she," my co-worker made a knife-across-throat gesture with his finger.
    "Dead woman walking? I think so."
    "She'd have to be."
    "Unless she's some kind of secret super-genius."
    I pointed to my previous annotation.

    Things have been going rather poorly for Company Y.
    We lost our NYC account.
    "But CRwM," astute readers ask. "You were hired to exclusively work on the NYC account. What does this mean for you?"
    We'll get there.

    So, we lost our NYC account. Dan (formerly of the mad divorce) and I came in around November and did our damnedest to clean up the account. We got everything back on schedule, cut QC issues down from an embarrassing double-digits per release to nil the last two releases, we rationalized the workflow so we all worked less to produce more and better stuff, and we brought it all in under budget.
    Unfortunately, it was all too late and we were given the old heave-ho.
    With one decision down at the Manhattan Building, something like 30% of the revenue for our little office evaporated.

    On Monday, the CEO "quit."

    For Joe and Jane Cube-Dweller, this means that lay-offs are a "when" thing rather than an "if" thing.
    Despite my proximity to the disaster, I'm beginning to think my chances of surviving this thing are fairly good. From what I've been told by the AVP of Delivering Hopeful but Incomplete and Therefore Possibly Suspect Information, the numbers on the NYC account were far better than the numbers on live accounts. The lay-offs, it is felt, will be an opportunity to "cut off some dead wood."

    (NB: That is, however, just the sort of thing an AVPDHITPSI would say to a demanding chunk of ex-tree, so I have to admit I'm not all that confident about my position.)

    Now the new sensation that's sweeping the cube-nation is a little game called "Guess who is dead wood?"
    Suddenly, that woman in marketing with the lazy eye and the really tight blouses is a "dead woman walking" or the slightly balding guy in tech who mentions his motorcycle is "so DW." The most elaborate phrasing was "Taj is already online, ordering the Dole pills."

    As of yet, it seems the only way to play GWDW Game is to select another player. No player has yet been bold enough to self-select for kindling.

    Strangely, despite the widespread popularity of predicting the immanent career-demise of your fellow co-workers, the coming shuffle hasn't seemed to register with everybody. Kelly is one of these who, through either her principled refusal to wallow in pre-emptive vocational-themed schadenfreude or a SOP of bovine ignorance that prevents her from registering the impending doom, does not seem concerned or curious about the inevitable lay-offs.
    It is this very trait, kindness or obliviousness that it is, which convinces everybody she's fodder for HRs chipper.

    "When I was walking by her cube, she shouted into the phone, 'Peeps are marshmallows, so don't get them on me!'"
    "Hunh. Apparently her family puts Peeps on people."
    "Well, I was more thinking: Are Peeps marshmallows? Or are they marshmallows the in same way that Twinkies are cake?"
    "I see your point. I'm not sure. What's so real about marshmallows that you could make a fake one?"
    "I don't know."
    "So they may be fake, but we wouldn't even know because we don't have a working definition of what the real would be."
    "This is going to hurt my head."
    "And I don't even like marshmallows."


    "You think Bil is going to get cut?"
    "Bill in sales."
    "Bil in AMO. One 'L' Bil."
    "Definitely. They're all going to get cut but you and me."

< ATTENTION all: | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
Black Thumbnail | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden)
I hope you get canned by debacle (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 11:29:22 AM EST
Nothing breeds good diary entries like depression and unrest.


We won't know. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 12:16:01 PM EST
Some headhunters, smelling the onset of corporate necrosis, have already started dropping hints and a PtB fragment from Company X has already set up a drink date. I figured something like this might happen, so I've been operating with a bit of a safety net.

Even if I get cut, I'll land on my feet.

I don't know so much about others.

[ Parent ]
Ms. French by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 11:35:01 AM EST
sounds like the Italian Long Island type. Family, sports, parking - just add lasagna. Although her blonde hair is throwing me off.

The only people to get even with are those that have helped you.
She's a mystery. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 12:17:52 PM EST
Don't try to understand. Really. Don't. You've got much better things to do with your time.

[ Parent ]
"... don't get them on me" by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 12:02:29 PM EST
My first reaction to this quote is actually that she'd be OK with other comestibles and foodstuffs being placed on her as long as they're not marshmallows. It sounds like a sentence that'd read better if it went, "Peeps are toxic sludge, so don't get them on me!"

In my last job it was generally agreed that there are two kinds of people: those who like Peeps and those who find them inexplicable or uninteresting at best, and bizarre or abhorrent at worst. Count me in the anti-Peep camp. Keep them the fuck off me.

I hope when the shaking's done you end up on the right side of the fence, whichever one it may be.

"If a tree is impetuous in the woods, does it make a sound?" -- aethucyn

I'm Peep-indifferent myself. by Christopher Robin was Murdered (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 12:26:13 PM EST
Anti-Peepish leanings maybe, but not so far that I fear people applying them to my body against my will.

I have met a single gentleman who enjoys Peeps. He goes on a grotesque Peep binge every Lent, eating several packages. The rest of the year the idea of Peeps makes him feel a mite sickly. But come Lent, he's ready again. Odd boy.

[ Parent ]
I was actually most amused by ... by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #7 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 02:47:51 PM EST

"Are Peeps marshmallows? Or are they marshmallows the in same way that Twinkies are cake?"


Though, alas, it seems at least the manufacturers like to think of Peeps as marshmallows.

I belong to the mostly-anti-Peep crowd. There are few things worse than an old, hardened Peep, but while in Berlin last time Peeps became required eating about this time of year: one of the Halfbrighters (as the teaching assistants self-labeled) was from (is from) Bethlehem, PA, Peep-Central, and brought us (her friends, her colleagues) a box.

A new movie tag-line: "Soylet Green is ... Peeps!"

[ Parent ]
To be anti-peep by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 03:38:08 PM EST
is unAmerican.

I gave you a '4' for the tag-line.

The only people to get even with are those that have helped you.

[ Parent ]
true by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 11:07:28 AM EST
But there is nothing I can add to the brilliance of that line so I had to blaze my own trail with the material. I'm actually fairly suspicious of marshmallows to begin with (making me also anti-s'more, though I've got nothing against chocolate or graham crackers), so the quasimarshmallow nature of Peeps is, I guess, what makes me queasy. I suppose when you get down to it it's not that I'm afraid of having someone put Peeps on me, but I'd just as soon they don't try putting them in me.

"If a tree is impetuous in the woods, does it make a sound?" -- aethucyn
[ Parent ]
HuSi QuoteOfTheYear by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 04:17:37 PM EST
"Are Peeps marshmallows? Or are they marshmallows the in same way that Twinkies are cake?"

It's simply too good to .sig

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

peeps!! by R343L (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Apr 04, 2007 at 04:45:06 PM EST
I have no comment on your workplace Dramatis Personae (or something like that) but you reminded me that it is peep-season.

Since I haven't really attended church in like 10 years, easter (and many other religious with secular bit holidays) has become a mere vessal for seasonal foods. I am one of those sick people who likes peeps. I've even been known to eat the chewy stale ones. But don't worry, I don't touch the crazy non-Easter variants, because they are Just Wrong.


"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

I like peeps, too. by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 02:30:20 AM EST
When I was in grad school, my fellow linguistics students and I were taking a van to a conference in Virginia, with our advisor. Someone had peeps, and after we started getting car sick and overstimulated (like toddlers) from the sugar, a peeps war broke out. It ended with Walt screaming at us not to make him pull the van over or we'd be sorry. When we got back to Raleigh, someone took one of the leftover peeps, wet it just a bit, and stuck it to the door of the linguistics lab. It stayed there for months, and never looked any different. Walt finally made someone scrape it off the door, and it did take actual scraping.
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
[ Parent ]
Here's hoping you get plucked . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Apr 05, 2007 at 04:26:16 AM EST
. . . by some ambitious company who lavishes their employees with 2 month vacations and ridiculously long and wealthy contracts.

Scratch that, we don't want you going to Europe.

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