So you work in an office. Congratulations, you’ve made a series of poor decisions with your life. Really though, things could be worse. You’ve got your cubicle, full of knick-knacks and paddy-whacks. You’ve got your cat calendar. You’ve got your ergonomic chair of doom. It’s not so bad, is it? The worst part really, is that sometimes you’re forced to talk to other human beings. A bunch of them. Chances are, unless you’re the phantom of the call center, you will have to interact, at least superficially, with multiple people throughout the day. Maybe you’re stuck making awkward small talk with some dingleberry in the break room while your coffee is brewing. Maybe you’re trapped on the elevator for 3 floors with Chuck-with-the-bad-breath from accounting. Maybe you’re forced into a competitive game of battleshits with your boss’s boss during the 2pm bathroom rush. Maybe Paula from HR with the sweet ass stops by your cube to remind you for the 30th time about your upcoming sexual harassment reeducation training. No matter how much you try to avoid it, if you work in an office, eventually you will come in contact with other people. This is, naturally, to be avoided at all costs, but sadly, sometimes it is inevitable. When confronted by another human being, your best bet is to enact the possum defense and play dead. The experienced employee knows to keep a jar of maggots on their desk for just this eventuality, to sprinkle liberally upon themselves as added camoflage. Most office workers are mindless drones, place fillers incapable of individual thought. They will likely be fooled by your trickery, and wander off. If the person talking to you proves a canny or stubborn adversary however and sees through your ruse, it is best to know exactly what type of threat you are dealing with. It is for this reason that I give you in no particular order: The 7 people you meet while working in an office (it was going to be 10, but then I got bored)
1. The new hire – You can spot this person coming a mile away. Mostly because they’re the ones still walking with an upright, erect posture. They don’t hiss in pain if they happen to move past an open window in the day time. If they stand near a mirror, you can see their reflection. They do strange, unfathomable things like smile and laugh and hope. THREAT LEVEL RED. No good can come from an association with such a creature. At best, they will remind you of what you once had. At worst, they’ll ask you questions and ruin your productivity.
2. The lifer – The exact opposite of the new hire in every way. You know those horrible Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean movies? You know the bad guy ship with all the tentacly clam monsters growing into the walls? That’s what a career office worker looks like. Man or woman, it makes no difference, somewhere between year 2 and 26 they lose all vestiges of dignified humanity and turn into balding amorphous meat beasts. Like a fish or a reptile they grow to fit their cube, until they become a wheezing, diabetes riddled flesh-colored garbage bag that looks like its full of cottage cheese and doorknobs, with the cold dead eyes of a lovecraftian horror. THREAT LEVEL GREEN. These poor lost souls pose almost no threat, being almost completely sedentary and near sighted to boot, they are easy to avoid.
3. The almost friend – This one is sad. This is the person who you can tell you would have totally been best friends with, if only you had met somewhere else at another time in your life. Unfortunately you met at work, after you had already lost the ability to feel feelings or connect in a meaningful way with another human being, and your friendship potential will simply never be given an opportunity to flower. C’est la vie almost friend. It could have been magical. THREAT LEVEL ORANGE. Even though you know better, you’ll still allow yourself to be drawn into conversations with this person, all the more painful because you know whatever you talk about would be 3 million times more awesome if you were talking about it while tripping on peyote during a camping trip in Peru, like you would be doing if you were real friends, but you’re not, you’re just coworkers and that’s all you ever will be.
4. The “hot” one – In the real world this person is a soft 4. In work world however, compared to the other freaks and troglodytes you’re surrounded by, they’re a hard 9. THREAT LEVEL AMBER. You’ll spend far too much time contemplating grudge fucking the shit out of this individual, club foot, hair lip and all.
5. The Religious – THREAT LEVEL VERMILLION. From their pedestal of righteousness, they judge you.
6. The ugly soul-mate – This is the person the universe meant you to be with. And you would be with them, if you weren’t such a shallow piece of crap and they hadn’t fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. It’s a damn shame really. They’re funny as fuck, super trill to hang with, and they totally get you. Sometimes they’re so cool you think you can even get past the physical horror, but then you remember that one time you saw them in their bathing suit at the company picnic, and you have to stick pens into your eyes to make the vision go away. THREAT LEVEL MAGENTA. One of these days you might have too many beers at happy hour…
7. The wizard – THREAT LEVEL YELLOW. This person is actually useful. Characterized by a complete lack of social graces, this gentle, if abrasive being from the magical kingdom of IT won’t waste your time with inane chatter. Instead they will appear suddenly in your cube, preceded only by their impressive beard, body odor, and dorito stained iron maiden t-shirt, they will mutter some arcane incantations to rebind the electrical demons back into your fritzed out computer, and then they will depart upon another esoteric quest without so much as making eye contact.
Please remember, this is hardly an exhaustive list. The above listed 7 are just some of the people you might encounter as you go about your work day. Stay calm, keep your wits about you, and you’ll be able to get through any situation. I have faith in you.