A 20-something comes in and, you know me, I don’t like to make snap judgements but, in his case I’ll make an exception. This mouth-breathing, memory-loss at the blink of an eye, spittle caked lip corners, waste of the infectious bacteria that is hopefully, as we speak, eating his pancreas bursts into the office with his demand which can be summed up thusly,
“Ah. . .”
No, you do not have to award me today’s editing for brevity award. I just quote ’em as I hears ’em.
You may think with such a taut opening we could wrap up this exchange in less time than it takes for me to catch the derision flowing mouthward before it chirps (.003 seconds, in case you’re keeping score) but you would, sadly, be mistaken. The more ambiguous the opener the longer it takes me to thrust the tongs of talking into the sponge of speech until I can squeeze out the bile of banality.
But, with surgical accuracy, it can be done. It’s not easy nor very pretty but it can be done.
Most of the time.
Sadly, this was not one of those times.
I don’t know what consonant eating virus was infecting his personal computation machine but it was doing it’s job. Three times in a row I stated this, I feel, very specific sentence.
“That cannot be accomplished.”
By the ebb and flow of his pupils I could see that it did not compute. The virus chomping away so all he heard was,
“a ao e aie.”
Then, and please trust and believe me when I say this, it got worse. It wasn’t even that he implored me to do what, as stated, could not be accomplished; it wasn’t even his attempt to cajole me into giving him a discount on what could not be accomplished; nah, those things are normal for someone with the cognitive skills of spaghetti. It wasn’t until four of his friends came in that we set sail on the SS Stupefy.
Turns out the guy I’ve been dealing with is the brains of the outfit.
Individually, if you were to meet them, you may conclude that each of them had the IQ of a tumbler of warm water. As a group that large glass of water couldn’t melt an ice cube. I’ve witnessed my share of group mentality. It never seems to coalesce to form a higher authority. I’m not just talking about the sea scum here. I was on the board of directors of a non-profit and I watched so many meetings devolve into knuckle-dragging shenanigans. All I can figure is the more people around the less usable oxygen.
So now I have to repeat my very specific sentence for his friends (in case you need a reminder, that sentence was: “a ao e aie.”) who are looking at me in what can only be described as a baby birds in a nest at feeding time gaze.
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I’m telling them no that’s so unsettling or if it’s the fact it’s an unfamiliar word. These gentleman are the first generation to grow up always getting a trophy. Everyone’s a winner! The curve we’re grading on is a bunny slope! Is this considered a failure? Have I caused a shift in the tectonic plates of their self-esteem?
Boy, I can’t wait until their first prostate exam.
Whatever it is they are not going to take this! They will indeed prevail! They will change the laws if need be, but they will get their way! By that I mean they will whine, threaten and make phone calls so someone else can change the spin of the Earth! All during this posturing I remain steadfast in my resolve.
“a ao e aie.” I repeat time and time again.
It seems to have no effect. As if their will is kryptonite that will breakdown Superman. Sadly for them, I’m just Chris. Doubly sad, I’m not easily swayed. I continue to explain. They continue to stick their fingers in their ears playing the ‘I’m not listening!’ game. I’m not saying it’s not frustrating but my position is much simpler than theirs. Mine is based on reality. They just have trouble catching it. Have you ever played catch with an infant? Using Jell-O? The baby would have a better grasp then these guys.
Three quarters of an hour later (no, that is not a misprint nor exaggeration), we come to a conclusion. I’m not going to be distressed by their threats; I’m not going to bend to suit their needs; I’m not going to be insulted by their name calling. All I’m going to do is state the obvious,
“That cannot be accomplished.”
And all they’re going to do, maybe not today, maybe not this decade, but, one day mark my words, they will grow the fuck up.
After all, the prostate waits for no man.