I donâ€™t talk about work here often. Mostly because some of my work peeps occasionally read my blog. (<waves> Hi work people.) And also because that could be considered poor form.
But sometimes events occur so egregious that they must be documented.
Last Friday, I arrived at work hoping it would be a standard end of the week wrap-up. Instead, I attended an afternoon meeting that devolved into a peer-pressured public performance of the Macarena.
It started with an assignment weeks ago. Create a gameshow for an upcoming conference. My directive? â€œIt needs to be freakinâ€™ hilarious.â€ Naturally I discovered, in very short order, I am not funny when directly directed to be just so.
(For those who would so kindly argue that you laugh at muppet stories, please note â€“ Iâ€™m just recapping twinsanity adventures.) Be hilarious! GO! See? You’re not funny either.
I wrote and rewrote â€“ this particular task no less daunting then a previous mission to make refrigerator technology sound sexy (this actually happened).
At the end of the week, the small special-forces funny team gathered for (what I thought) was a standard dry run. My history in theatre told me this would be the boring discussion of finer details and logistics. Alas, my boss was not in theatre. And he’d come up with some “additions” to my trivia essay.
â€œAre you ready for the Festivus Feats of Strength?!â€
This did not bode wellâ€¦
â€œAnd for the penalty round,â€ my boss continued instructionally, â€œWeâ€™ll be doing the Macarena! But in good faith, weâ€™ll get up and do it first â€“ to show our contestants how itâ€™s done. Stand up guys.â€
Wait. What? No.
I donâ€™t do public humiliation. And I definitely donâ€™t do the Macarena. IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.
I scowled. (Iâ€™ve seen this same look in Search and Destroy when they donâ€™t want to do something. Itâ€™s a look Iâ€™ve worked 32 years to perfect. And I have; itâ€™s good.)
â€œNo.â€ While the others leapt up to make fools of themselves, I remained seated â€“ resolutely shaking my head.
One of the team directors practically jumped across the conference table, popping back up beside me. And with the peer pressure that we were all warned about in grade school, I was shamelessly coerced into making the infamously obnoxious Macarena hand movements.
I was displeased. My boss was quick to point out HE didnâ€™t make me do the Macarena, he simply encouraged expression through interpretive dance in this particular meeting of the minds.
Everyone else in the room was laughing uproariously. The desired hilarity had ensued (in no small part due to my lack of enthusiasm).
So I was tasked with the second phase of Project Make Them Laugh. I was sent off to procure steak knives as a parting gift for one unlucky participant. (Apparently this has something to do with the movie Glen Gary Glenn Ross. Iâ€™ve never seen it. I know â€“ youâ€™re shocked thereâ€™s a movie I havenâ€™t seen.)
â€œYouâ€™re not going to believe the day I had!â€ I bemoaned to Jon when I got home.
He just laughed. â€œDid you have to buy the CEO a new outfit too?â€
(At the beginning of my burgeoning career I was handed the company credit card to obtain a new sweater for an exec photo shoot because the chief scientist had shown up in an outfit that didnâ€™t exactly cry, â€œOut in public.â€)
As previously noted, Iâ€™ve spent my career working in technology â€“ with scientists and engineers â€“ not the glamorous people who call people you hear about in Hollywood. But that still doesnâ€™t mean it doesnâ€™t get interesting.
Jon just shook his head. â€œYour job is weird.â€
I made myself a Manhattan.