Saturday, November 6, 2010

You Can't Shut Off the Risk and the Pain

I don't have a cubicle, or as I call them 'a felt-covered shipping container.' I've never been sure cubicles didn't actually start as a practical joke over which we lost control. I'm envisioning two human resources folks (as opposed to inhuman resources, I guess; when the phuock did we stop saying 'personnel'?) sitting around knocking back shots of Wild Turkey (or something equally sedate, I'm sure) trying to make the most viciously stupid, humiliating work environment which a human being would be willing to tolerate.

How many variations do you think they went through before they came up with the cube farm? Do you think it's the polar opposite of the WD-40 saga, right down to the crappy ending? I think the only upside to working in a cube farm is being on the receiving end of a crop dusting although, come to think of it, that's not much of an upside. More like something out of Office Space, but without a scintilla of humor.

I've been fortunate (so far) to NEVER work on a cube farm. Dumb luck, I suspect. It has nothing to do with principles and respect for human dignity, though I'm not alone when I pretend that it does. Of course I'm special and unique just like the other six billion of us. What's Dennis Miller call our Big Blue Marble? That's right, 'ant farm with beepers.' (Do you remember when he was funny? What happened and why does it now happen on Faux Gnus?)

Never underestimate the power of a paycheck, chum. We're all in the same (and world's oldest) profession, all that's left to negotiate is the price. And thanks to the ubiquity of the convergence of divergent technologies--is it a phone, Internet, a dumb box--we can demean and denigrate one another without ever needing to make eye contact. And apropos of dumb box, the sanctuary of that cubicle in which most of us toil for far too long for far too little means, if we click our mouse just right, we can have a life devoid of almost all human contact. Nirvana, if you're made of cardboard. In the end what you don't surrender, well, the world just strips away.
-bill kenny

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