Tag Archives: office antics

Lame Adventure 389: Did It Fly or Did It Die?

It is not a secret that I envy the pigeons that perch on the sill outside my window at The Grind. They fly wherever they want to go which sure beats riding the subway at rush hour. Here in New York, they always look well fed with all the free eats lying around. Often, I hear them cooing their birdbrains out indicating to me that they’re feeling pretty content. When they want privacy, they slip away to the air conditioner on the west side of the building and engage in pigeon-style tantric relations. This entails much wing flapping and flying feathers. I have also seen them lock beaks — pigeon-style kissing, which is an aspect of the mating ritual called billing here in the US and nebbing in the UK — for those of you inclined to read this site for its vast educational component.

On a recent Thursday, I noticed a pigeon huddled under the air conditioner in the building across from my office. My colleague, Godsend, is very aware of my bird watching.

Godsend: Are you looking at a pigeon?

Me: Yes, it doesn’t look good.

Sleeping or dead?

Sleeping or sick?

Godsend strained her neck for a look.

Godsend: I’m sure it’s sleeping.

Me: I think it’s sick.

Godsend: I think it’s fine.

For hours, that pigeon was perched in that same spot, immobile. Every so often I’d check on it. My glutton for punishment pal would ask for a report.

Godsend: Is it still there?

Me: It’s still there and it’s still not moving. It might be dead and we might be spending the next three weeks watching it decay.

Godsend: Don’t say that. I’m sure it’s sleeping.

Later, I returned and it appeared to be gone.

Godsend: Do you see it?

Me: No, it’s gone!

Godsend (genuinely relieved): See, it flew away!

Me: Wait a minute; it’s still there. The light was playing a trick on me.

The downbeat was audible from Godsend’s desk. It remained tucked under the air conditioner that entire day. The next day when we came in, it was actually gone. Godsend was massively relieved.

Missing or dead?

Dead gone?

Godsend: See, it did fly away!

Me: I think it was dead all along and it fell off the ledge.

Godsend: Don’t say that! Let’s think happy thoughts.

Me: Okay. Even if it did drop dead and fell off the ledge, at least we don’t have to watch it rot away for weeks on end.

Godsend remains convinced that it flew away. I am sure that it died. We cannot open our barred windows to stick our heads out to determine its fate, so fellow Lame Adventurers, as proven creative thinkers, what do you think happened to it?

Lame Adventure 366: Birds of a Feather

I thought it was an interesting coincidence that on a day when I found myself nodding out at my desk at The Grind, a pigeon that perched outside my window had the same idea.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Where we diverged was that after it completed its snooze, the reinvigorated avian extravagantly stretched its wings and took flight. I remained in groggy land-locked captivity on the other side of the bars. It’s possible that I drooled.

The Boss had ordered me to work on a Very Important Assignment, the kind of mission with no margin for error. If it’s screwed up she’ll likely have her head handed to her on a plate. Therefore, I am under pressure to be perfect. Even if nothing is screwed up, I can foresee someone down the line getting cranky about some aspect of this project and blaming her. This brings to mind that I have a tendency to philosophically reflect on my fellow man, or on the woman that announced to me, just as an off-Broadway  play that I was volunteer ushering was about to start:

Woman (whispering): You’re sitting in my husband’s seat.

I nearly suffered a heart attack. The House Manager had assigned me that sixth row dead center seat. He’s always on top of his game. I thought:

Me (thinking): The play’s starting RIGHT THIS SECOND. What am I going to do?

Lightning fast, I spring to my feet and apologize profusely for this snafu. I envisioned her husband bolting out of the bathroom, bursting through the house’s closed doors and hotfooting down the aisle at that very moment.

The woman reveals:

Woman: I turned his ticket into the box office. He’s not here. Sit!

She finds my heart stopping terror hilarious. As a volunteer with an obligation to represent this theater in the best possible light at all times, I press my personal mute button hard to silence what I am thinking:

Me (thinking): Are you a psychotic crazy person?  Was that really necessary to say to me right at curtain?

I suffered shallow breathing well into the first act. When an ominous looking bread knife was brandished on stage, I realized that there just might be a little Norman Bates in me, too, but I digress. As I tend to philosophically reflect on my fellow man and woman, factoring in my own experiences with members of the human race, I have concluded that many people are assholes.

Other people at my company are basically treating this project that my boss is spearheading like a hot potato. No one wants to touch it. Therefore, the potato has been handed to me. Maybe when it’s finished I should ask for a title upgrade to Minister of Potato. If I were Elsbeth, my superior, I would have dumped it on me, too. I’m excellent with detail, over-educated and underpaid. What a bargain until …

Oops.

Oops.

I lose consciousness and key in 83,338 of a product that costs $1,416. The line item calculates to $118,007,080. Fortunately, I came to before hitting the ‘enter’ key and reduced the quantity to the intended amount: two.

In my next life, I hope I return as a New York City pigeon. I’d be free. I’d never be bored. I could fly, mate at will, stuff myself with street food, but best of all, I could crap on annoying theater patrons and get away with it. Hey, I’m just a doity boid.

Lame Adventure 363: Outsourced Lame Adventure – Riding in Style

For everyone that has read the previous installment of Lame Adventures, you are very aware that I am suffering melancholy over the pending close of my go-to neighborhood watering hole, the Emerald Inn. On the heels of the news of this tragedy, my workweek started with additional acid reflux for I finally got around to calling my health insurer. This call is the exact type I live to avoid. It’s right up there with having to make an appointment for an invasive procedure requiring intubation, coincidentally my least preferred type of hollow body-filling bation.

This was a call to argue a claim. I knew that my fifteen-day grace period to pitch a fit was quickly drawing to a close. Therefore, I had to suppress my gag reflex, ring them up, sail through several electronic prompts and one irritating disconnection, before finally getting through to someone with a faint pulse that fell short of his dream career, undertaker. The quasi-corpse did not tell me what I wanted to hear. Dreaded telephone conversations like that one are exactly why the Emerald Inn has served a medicinal purpose in my life for nearly thirty years.

Meanwhile, my boss, Elsbeth, had yet to arrive at The Grind. Her absence compelled me to multi-task. Task One was venting the little that remains of my mind into the cold dead ear of my insurer about why I was now being charged a king’s ransom for a routine medical procedure that had previously cost me little more than the court jester’s breath mints. Task Two was simultaneously keeping a watchful eye on my computer screen, should my Lord & Master send an electronic missive my way.

Sure enough, Elsbeth did send a missive. The Boss’s message was simple:

Elsbeth’s email: You’ve got to love this one!!!

Elsbeth's Goggles Dog iPhone gotcha shot.

Elsbeth’s Goggles Dog iPhone gotcha shot.

I certainly did! Here’s a bit of backstory: while Elsbeth and her husband, Stu, were returning to Manhattan from the country, she noticed The Goggles Dog looking her way outside the car window. The Boss instantly thought:

Elsbeth (thinking): This Goggles Dog belongs in Lame Adventures!

Striking a pose, it is evident that The Goggles Dog was in complete agreement with my superior. Is The Goggles Dog a Lame Adventures hound or what? I vote “woof”!

Lame Adventure 350: Time Tales at The Grind

For the past few weeks, months or years, it’s been one of those days for me.  There I was at The Grind sitting at my computer that’s situated directly below a vent breeding mold faster than rabbits mating on speed.

Innocuous looking ceiling vent.

Fertile mold.

Mold shacking up over my head.

I was crunching numbers while thinking philosophical thoughts:

Me: I wonder if Trader Joe’s will have those brandy filled chocolate beans this year?  Did I lock my door this morning?  How soon before I’m as obsolete as a public pay phone?

Empty pay phone hole — metaphor for my future?

My loyal sidekick, Greg, shattered my deep thoughts.

Greg:  Are you busy?

Me (thinking): Just going blind doing math before segueing into regretting the entire trajectory of my life.

Me (saying):  What do you need?

He asked if I could go into Photoshop and add a simple date to a simple label for him. He was in a bit of a hurry and he wanted to simply complete one project before simply starting another.  This request sounded reasonably simple to me:

Me:  Sure, give me five minutes.

My computer had other ideas.

“No Photoshop for you simpleton!”

For ten agonizing minutes I am stuck in the intersection of Irritating and Annoying before I am granted access to Photoshop so I can fulfill this simple request.  Just when I am going to print the label with the simple revision for Greg, my lord and master, Elsbeth, starts printing the equivalent of the phone book.  Finally, I give Greg, who started working on another project in the intervening 45 minutes, his simple label that inhaled the better part of an hour of what remains of my simply depleting life.

A few weeks ago, Greg gave me the paperwork for a delivery of tile that we received.  Another of my illustrious responsibilities as Minister of Tile that makes practical use of my fancy film school degree is to date stamp paperwork.  I am the type that can never remember the date, so that’s why I wear a state-of-no-art Timex with date-telling capability.  My timepiece is the consummate chick magnet to grandmother-types that wet dream about watch faces with numbers as big as eggplants:

Waiting a New York minute to learn the day’s date.

My boss has strong opinions about architecture.  I asked Elsbeth:

Me:  Hey boss, what do you think about the Hearst Tower?

Elsbeth:  Which building is that?

Me:  That one over on 57th and Eighth.

The address did not ring the gong in my superior’s head so I Google image searched it for her while accessing my inner NPR reporter.

Me:  They finished the base in 1928, but due to the Depression, they held off building the tower until 70 years later.  It opened in 2006.

Hearst Tower base completed in 1928. Architect: Joseph Urban.

Comedy and Tragedy with plenty to laugh and cry about.

Elsbeth looked at the resulting eyesore, liberally dropped words like hideous, ridiculous and awful accompanied by a few f-bombs with i-n-g endings.

Result: super modern glass and steel tower by architect Norman Foster that’s been jutting out of the base since it opened in 2006.

I agreed that time was not kind to this project or to quote my liege:

Elsbeth:  What the fuck were they thinking?

Unamused muses at the base.

The crass guest that’s here to stay jutting out of the base.

This week Elsbeth highly amused my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), when she revealed that the reason our shared drive runs slower than a pregnant snail carrying a boulder is because:

Elsbeth (exasperated):  People are downloading all their personal crap on it, like pictures of their dog!

Not this dog waiting patiently for his master to throw him a bone.

Nor Thurber, my family’s dog, looking anxious in this picture my sister Dovima texted me as he’s about to leave for the kennel.

A month ago, (not) Under Ling (anymore) was feeling significantly less mirth when she burned her finger using a glue gun.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) giving me the index finger.

Now a message to my seven loyal readers, for the first time in 350 posts, before subjecting myself to the next 350 Lame Adventures, this site is going on hiatus until after the November election. Since I prefer the shiny, fresh and nubile, I’m not the type that republishes past posts, but if you crave a fix of Lame Adventures-style junk food for your mind, preferably while bored at work or in the process of getting dressed down by your main squeeze for forgetting to take out the trash, help yourself to reading any of the 349 others.  Check out different years. You might even hit on a good one. If you need a nudge from me about where to go, my personal favorite is the one with the photographs.

Lame Adventure 335: Overdue

Here I am lying down on the job.

Can this double as a passport photo?

And here I am 2,500 years hence, significantly more dried out and inked than I am at present.

Yay, I finally shed those unwanted pounds!

What prompted these images was an email I had received a week earlier from Natasia, my tattoo-worshipping antagonist over at Hot Femme:

Tas email: Tattoos: a 2,500 year old trend. Almost as long as satchels!

Natasia frequently mocks my use of the words satchel, behoove, and some other of my trademark expressions I cannot recall due to my advanced case of CRS (Can’t Remember Shit).

Me email: Aren’t you feeling oh so smug!

Tas email: Find yourself a mummy with a satchel, Lame.

That dare set me off.   A week later, I emailed Natasia the above image of the mummy with a satchel, agitating this fresh snark:

Tas email:  I’m assuming this is (not) Under Ling (anymore’s) work.

Okay, Natasia’s Cornell degree in Something Hard and Complicated Involving Math once again paid off.  That was a correct assumption.  Yes, I have been blessed with two crack graphic designer buddies that have generously contributed to this site, my former colleague, Ling, who designed my banner, and now, Ling’s successor and former number two, Under Ling, since renamed, (not) Under Ling (anymore) after she was promoted last January.

Ten Lame Adventures ago (not) Under Ling (anymore) was anticipating a Lame Adventure of our own collaboration, a Lame Adventure entitled:  The New Office Accessory.  The reason this Lame Adventure went missing was that other Lame Adventures suddenly took precedence — Lame Adventures about the reliable crowd pleaser, tree bagging; the Lame Adventure about goat cheese and my pet puppet goat, Bill E.; collaborations with my wingman commenter Mike G, my humor advocate Le Clown, and my neighbor’s wonderful pooch Blanca.

Blanca: coolest pooch in my hood.

When, my sidekick, Greg, shared the YouTube link featuring the Wilhelm Scream, it never occurred to (not) Under Ling (anymore) that our joint Lame Adventure would once again be superseded and this time by nearly sixty year old yelling.  And, of course, there is my problem with CRS.  I’m so overloaded mentally, emotionally and alcoholically I’m nearing the day when I’m just going to start signing my name with a middle finger print.

Without further delay, here is that long overdue, especially if you’re (not) Under Ling (anymore), tale about The New Office Accessory.

In my ongoing passion for all things mundane, I would like to announce that after nearly eight years of employ in my illustrious career as Minister of Tile, I no longer have to march the twelve point seven feet from my desk to my superior Elsbeth’s office to sharpen a pencil.  My svelte colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) has altruistically donated a kidney to our General Manager’s ailing ferret and in exchange The Powers That Be In Accounting have stuck a crowbar in the company wallet and approved the purchase of a $7.00 extension cord from Office Max. This will grant us the opportunity to share our very own electric pencil sharpener without ever having to leave our desks again — a departmental first, emphasis on mental.

Examples of more pencils in our future.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) did all the setup involved possibly because she is very wise for her 24 years and she instinctively knew that The Cranky Fossil in Jack Purcell badminton shoes would sooner scrub the floor with her toothbrush than climb under her desk to plug in that cord herself.  Not.  Gonna.  Happen.  Ever.

Fortunately, The Cranky Fossil sits next to a very can-do member of the Millennial Generation, at least someone that is very can-do when it comes to entering Middle Earth to set up the electric pencil sharpener that they now share.

End result.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) performing first pencil sharpening.

And yes, the sharpener sits six inches away from The Cranky Fossil and two feet across (not) Under Ling (anymore)’s desk possibly because the youthful member of the equation’s head will explode if she has to hear The Cranky Fossil whine one more time about her aching back.

Ta da! “Nice and pointy!”

Hey, watch it!  Don’t stick me in the eye with that thing!

First spent pencil memorial.

Lame Adventure 322: Cake Chaos

Whenever someone’s birthday rolls around at my company we have a cake.  In departments other than mine, where quantity steamrolls quality in appeal, it’s often a mammoth-sized confection of a dense cheese variety topped with gelatinous uniformly sized strawberries that I suspect are manufactured by Dow Chemical.  Our showroom manager, Coco, refers to these cakes in two words:

Coco: Colon cleanse.

Any cake that can double as colonoscopy prep is not welcome in my department, Design.  In general we prefer delightful treats in bite sized-portions.  I’m thinking that next year I might request a cake so small and luxurious that my sidekick, Greg, will be assigned to stand next to me to hold my candle.  That’s another rule of Cake in Design.  The candle is limited to one.  This probably has more to do with my boss Elsbeth and I being a combined 833 in dog years.  We share a mutual disinclination to blow out a forest fire of eyebrow singeing flames.

This week my buddy and colleague (not) Under Ling (anymore) celebrated her natal date.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) told me that she didn’t want a cake and was more in the mood for a fruit tart.

Me: Could you go for a raspberry tart?

How about a raspberry tart like this one decorated with a single candle?

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Yes.  And don’t worry I’ll act completely surprised like I had no idea it was coming when you guys give it to me.

Me: Possibly you could appear so shocked, you could fake fainting?

I called Le Pain Quotidien and special ordered a seven-inch raspberry tart for my colleague.  Elsbeth gave me the payment in cash.  Greg, who does all the heavy lifting including that of 14 ounce tarts, picked it up. Then, we had to come up with the latest harebrained ruse so (not) Under Ling (anymore) could feign surprise.

Elsbeth sent her to the photo room to take a photograph.  I had the bright idea that if we sent our unpaid Summer Intern to the photo room to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) this might take our veteran staffer off the scent for a nanosecond.  Elsbeth thought that was brilliant.  The boss gave Greg, who was working in our warehouse, the universal hand signal screaming one of two things, “Yes, I have read all three installments of the Fifty Shades of Grey series” and “Get your ass in here now!”  I lighted the candle on the cake and ordered Our Summer Intern:

Me:  Okay, go now — get her!

Greg raced into our office as our Summer Intern raced out.  Elsbeth, Greg and I  waited.  And waited.  We were approaching a ten count when our superior spoke:

Elsbeth:  Where did our Summer Intern go?

Greg:  Wasn’t she just supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore)?

Annoyed, I left our office, and thoroughly scoured our warehouse for our missing  Summer Intern.  She was either expertly hiding from me, or she instantly found a paying gig, or she was living my fantasy i.e., she walked out the door and just keep going.  I returned to our office intern-less with this report to my waiting Superior.

Me: I don’t know where she went.

Elsbeth: You took so long I thought you went missing!

Greg:  Like an episode of The Twilight Zone.  Everyone who steps out to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) disappears!

[insert beat]

Elsbeth (to me):  Just get (not) Under Ling (anymore).

I visit (not) Under Ling (anymore) in the photo room, and lamely say:

Me: Elsbeth wants the camera back.  Now.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) (muttering to self):  Finally, I get my cake!

We eat the cake baffled over what happened to our Summer Intern, but not that baffled that we sent out another search posse.

Picture perfect slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for herself.

Mangled slice (not) Under Ling (anymore) cuts for me.

My phone rings.  It’s Coco’s extension:

Coco:  Your Summer Intern wants to know if she can come back upstairs now?

Me:  Was she down there with you all this time?

Coco: Yeah.  What the hell’s going on with you guys?

Me:  She was supposed to get (not) Under Ling (anymore) – not visit you!

In response to Elsbeth asking me what happened to our missing Summer Intern I calmly explain to my superior that there was a miscommunication.

Then I popped my fork through my plate.

Stabbed plate held by Elsbeth.

Lame Adventure 303: Am I Hallucinating?

The short answer to that question is, “That’s always a possibility.” I was sitting at my desk at work effectively feigning consciousness when I looked up at the shelf over my computer and saw a rainbow.

Looking up under the rainbow.

I thought:

Me (thinking):  Holy crap!  What’s this about?

If Judy Garland started singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the iPod in my mind I would have accepted the possibility that I was likely suffering a flashback from some chemical I may have ingested in my past.  I highly doubted that the English Breakfast tea I was sipping at that moment after polishing off a cup of Life cereal in skim milk would have triggered any visions other than my constant craving for a bagel.

Cinnamon raisin bitch goddess.

Since there is supposed to be a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, I was prompted to look behind my desk to see what was there.  Curious, I peeked behind my monitor, half expecting an encounter with the Lucky Charms leprechaun.  Rather than finding a vessel overflowing with riches or a silo full of noxiously sweet cereal, I only saw a sobering sight; a piece of cement floor tile in the foreground and bright sunshine bouncing off a CD behind it.

Reality bites.

The CD was the source reflecting rainbow colors on the shelf above.  That brought my day tripping to an abrupt end, until I recalled a popular song from my youth sung by my fellow traveler, Lesley Gore.  It features sunshine, rainbows eventual tooth decay and can probably lead to alcoholism if heard often enough.

Lame Adventure 302: Wacky Time

Recently, there was a lull in my workload at The Grind.  Since my ambition is a bottomless pit or possibly it’s just a pit, or maybe it’s more accurately described as a rut, but who am I kidding, it’s none of the above. I have no ambition whatsoever outside of a fondness for staring enviously at the pigeons roosting on the sill outside my window.

Let's trade places. You write this blog.

As it so happened there was a free moment in my schedule.  Truthfully my work-life has been a barren plain the entirety of this month, if not every day in the 2012 calendar year and I’m shedding brain cells faster than my final vestiges of fertility.  So there was an opening as wide as the sky in my day and I seized — to be honest here, I never seize, I’m inclined to drag myself, bitching and moaning loudly to give the impression that I’m accomplishing something arduous that merits my salary of a potato and health insurance.  Anyway, I used this wide-open-as-a-$10-hooker’s-thighs-moment to exploit the opportunity to research setting the time on the office fax machine from the hour in Guam to the precise minute in Gotham City.

That statement motivated me to Google the time difference between New York City and Guam.  I’ve discovered that Guam is actually fourteen hours ahead of New York. Our fax machine is two hours behind EDT.

It turns out that the time on our fax machine is set perfectly for Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

Proving that point.

For a moment I consider weaseling out of my self-imposed mission by suggesting to my boss, Elsbeth, that we simply relocate our office to Scottsbluff, but even I have the capacity to realize that idea is utterly inane.  Instead, I consider proposing to my superior an alternative solution – we sell our fax machine to someone in Scottsbluff and we get ourselves a new one.  Yet, it occurs to me that setting up a new one would likely fall under my jurisdiction a.k.a., Perform Each and Every Thankless Task the Mentally Efficient Avoid.  I realize I feel like setting up a new fax machine even less than resetting the clock on the current one.  Since there is no rest for the bleary I have to figure out how to reset that clock.

I Google: how do i set the clock on the canon cfx-l4000?

Google takes me to a site called FixYa.  Back on November 7, 2007, someone named 1jennylyn asked the exact same question as me.

Approximately six weeks later, a dude named Rob F responds:

“There’s a button marked “Data Registration” in blue. This color means you 1st have to press the function button to make it work. Do this and scroll using the left right up down arrow keys till you find, date and time reg. Then follow your nose.”

I think:

Me:  Huh?

If my nose could talk, it’s screaming:

My Nose:  Leave me the hell out of this!

Did I mention that Rob F shared this solution on Christmas Day?  I suspect he wrote it clad in his underwear and lacks the Will This Make Me Look Like a Loser gene.

Since Rob F’s answer earned Best Solution and I could not find what other solutions he was competing against, even though my personal go-to remedy is one I call Shut It Off, Pull Out the Plug, Eat Something and Then Go Back to It, instinct tells me that will not work in the case of setting the time, so I decide to give his obtuse solution a shot.  Predictably, my nose fails me and I am a baffled button pushing cursing doofus.

Better name of site ConfuseYa.

My colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore) notices that I’m hovering over the fax machine in fury.  I return to my desk to Google another source of solution.  Unaware that I’m in the process of losing even more of the little that remains of my mind, she approaches the fax machine.

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Hey, is there something wrong with the fax machine?

I suspect she’s itching to push some buttons, too. I morph into Charles Manson and growl:

Me:  Don’t touch anything!

Hand's off or I'll shoot you.

I find a forum on another site called Fix Your Own Printer.  A first responder named Sharpie is my hero.  This person has a different model of fax machine, the L4500, but he or she thinks that setting the time works the same on both units and writes a description about how to do this in such lucid English for Easily Frustrated Morons I would like to award this person a Nobel.

We're not on Scottsbluff time anymore (but God help my nose when Eastern Standard Time returns)!

Lame Adventure 301: Suicide by Sandwich

I don’t know where my mind was. I was standing at my grocer’s deli counter when a voice that sounds identically like mine speaks to the deli-man:

Voice that Sounds Identically Like Mine:  I’ll have a quarter pound of the chipotle chicken.

Considering my extensive history of gastrointestinal ills, it would have been considerably safer for me to have simply tossed a lit match down my esophagus than to eat the fire-coated fowl I ordered.  Yet, on Monday I did chow down that hot, spicy and heavily seasoned sandwich at my desk at The Grind.

Eat me.

I was in the throes of food porn ecstasy.

That sandwich was truly the best sex I’ve had in weeks.  I could have easily smoked a cigarette after the first half before indulging in the second.  Unfortunately, my dream lover was actually the devil ensconced in a cut-in-half baguette.

Within minutes satisfaction gave way to a firebomb exploding in my stomach and a proliferation of searing intestinal pain.  Pain so rampant it replicated the burning of Atlanta if this historic event would be reenacted inside the confines of my guts.  Guts that are forbidden to go anywhere near citrus, dairy, spice or flavor.  Guts that are usually fed bland bread and tofu sandwiches seasoned with tap water.

As the pain escalated, my left rib started throbbing.  I wondered if the heat from my innards that had transformed into a furnace had somehow cracked that rib.  All the while I sat at my desk nary betraying a hint of my agony excluding some low volume whimpering I stifled when I shoved a ball of string into my mouth that nearly ignited.

My gastroenterologist forbids me from taking any over-the-counter antacids, so a fistful of Rolaids chased with a shot of Mylanta was not an option to smother the blaze raging within.  Instead, I sat, going through the motions of my illustrious job, pushing paper from one side of my desk to the other, tapping a few keys on my computer’s keyboard that spelled jfhs nitvuh kndj yqwcoqwi, followed by loud opening and slamming of file drawers.

All the while my face reddened, hot steam was trailing out of my every orifice, I was sweating profusely, my eyes were tearing and my racing heart was feeling like it was going to explode within my chest cavity.  Delirious, I reasoned that if my ticker would detonate, I would be free to collapse with a graceless thud prompting my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), to beckon in a concerned tone:

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Hey, are you okay over there?

Quickly ascertaining that I was buying my rainbow, my young friend would bellow in alarm:

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  We need an ambulance!  Does anyone know the number for 9-1-1?

In my Charles Foster Kane moment, with my final breath I utter my last word:

Me:  Chipotle.

My fantasies of taking leave on Permanent Vacation are shattered when my phone rings.  The caller is my buddy Coco.  I speak to her confidentially.

Me:  I’ve just polished off a chipotle chicken sandwich.  My guts are killing me.  I think I’m dying!

She absorbs my plight.

Coco:  I’m jealous!  You get to go home!  What about me?  I’m stuck here and you get to follow the white light?  Oh no, you don’t!

The white light never comes.  I quaff two thirds of the water cooler and survive the near death experience of my sandwich. Since my birthday is coming in ten days, I feel an obligation to my friends and family to stick around a little while longer.  Therefore, I will avoid flirting with The Grim Reaper via spicy sandwich and return to my regular diet of labor camp-style sustenance that I anticipate will eventually bore me to death.

Lame Adventure 291: Bird Brained

A few weeks ago, my buddy, Coco, complained to me about an owl cooing outside her apartment building in lower Manhattan.  Apparently, this bird’s late night/early morning warbling routine has been impairing her ability to get a restful night’s sleep.

Me:  I don’t think that’s an owl.  It’s probably a mourning dove.

Coco:  Whatever it is I wish it would shut the hell up.  It’s driving me crazy!

How I became such an authority on owls vs. mourning doves is that ten years ago I briefly dated a tree-hugger named Mindy.  Whenever I think of this lass I’m reminded of an orifice (not the ear canal).  Read on … She confided to me that she despised the corporate world so much she wanted to craft her own feminine hygiene products for personal use.  My usual witty repartee eluded me at that moment possibly because the vast majority of women I’ve dated have wanted to shoot films, write books, act in plays, etc.  Being in the presence of an aspiring tampon maker was a first (note: there has yet to be a second).  Our union ended with a thud during pillow talk when she revealed she’d rather see someone that works at the UN.

Me (wounded):  Oh.  So you’ve met someone that works at the UN?

Mindy:  No, but I’d like to.

During an earlier less spirit-deflating visit I complained to Mindy about what I thought was an owl cooing outside my window.

Me:  Do you hear that?

Mindy:  That’s a mourning dove.

Who knew?  Not me.

A decade later I’m at work, sitting at my desk, discussing a design project with my friend and colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore).  Eager to seize the reins on a new challenge, she suggests that she’ll make several mockups of this idea that we’ll present to our boss, Elsbeth.

Me:  Excellent!

Then, the neighborhood mourning dove flies onto our windowsill. Havoc ensues.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) knows that I have been obsessed with getting a good picture of this creature to share with Coco.  I have even suggested to my colleague:

Me:  For all we know this could be the actual bird that’s always waking Coco!

One of the many hats (not) Under Ling (anymore) wears is that she’s the company photographer.  She shoots pictures with this very intimidating digital Canon camera that is called something like the Behemoth.

Canon Behemoth.

It weighs about the same as the Liberty Bell.

We both spring into action.  (not) Under Ling (anymore) wielding the Behemoth, hops onto the counter as if her Converse sneaker soles have sprouted springs.  She patiently crouches at the window like a member of the paparazzi waiting to capture the perfect “gotcha!” shot of this critter.

"Gotcha!" shot of (not) Under Ling (anymore) perched at the window.

So close and yet so far "gotcha!" shot. "If only Elsbeth would have let me buy a zoom lens for this camera..."

Yet, our bird is fidgety.  It flies from sill to sill, and only perches momentarily.  I fire off a quick shot with my PowerShot.

Can birds get liver spots?

We follow it as best we can, narrowly avoiding colliding into each other when we are certain that it has moved onto the windowsill in Our Leader’s office.  Elsbeth is oblivious to the Two Stooges frantically scampering outside her office door.  After the bird disappears from our view we resume focusing our attention on our assignment.  Then, in an excited voice, (not) Under Ling (anymore) announces:

(not) Under Ling (anymore): The bird’s back!

My heart races.  She grabs the camera and is now perched at a window in the back of our office waiting to fire away.  I commend my friend for taking this interesting shot in white silhouette.

Cool shot!

(not) Under Ling (anymore) insists it reminds her more of this mythical (?) creature.

Loch Ness monster image from Wikipedia.

Later that evening, I email Coco a link to a 24 second video of a mourning dive cooing with the subject heading, “Does this sound like your owl?”

Coco’s response: Yes! Maybe my owl is really one of those bastards.

Maybe it’s even the one perched outside our window?

"This feels so good on the tail feathers, it makes me want to coo even louder!

7:32 am update email from Coco: That dick bird is still cooing…..argh!  It doesn’t quit!