Office Worker's Rant: An Excerpt
Office Worker's Lament: An Excerpt is a fragment of a text from an office-worker from the 21st century. In current times, white-collar workers have to decipher brainlessly optimistic messages from their managers rather like the Enigma decoders in the Second World War, who decrypted secret messages from Nazi Germans in order to discover their true import. Unlike the Enigma workers, the humble office employee has no whiz-kid machine with which to translate such dense deceptions. In response to this, an unnamed office worker penned this infamous rant against the modern business world, citing doublespeak, elements of feminism, and awkward bilingualists as the cause of his ire. Parts of the full text were lost when its author decided to engage in non-traditional success at his workplace and, subsequently became an anti-teetotal campaigner and infinitely leisured.
...'I've been asked to do some 360 degree thinking, but my boss gets angry when I start going around in circles. He said we needed a paradigm shift, so I responded: "Daily? Who the fuck do you think you are? The manipulated offspring of Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci, with extra genetically-enhanced IQ thrown in for good measure? Most people don't even cause a paradigm shift in their lives, let alone daily". Annoyed at this, he demanded some more "blue-sky thinking". I responded positively to this one, but I said that I would demand that the company pay for my trip to the Seychelles, since that was the only place I could imagine where I could get down to some uninterrupted sunny contemplation (or sun-bathing).
Given the expense of this project, the boss suggested the alternative of 'pushing the envelope'. This turned into "pushing the envelopes" which were in the outtray on his desk. They fell on the floor and this angered him greatly. He reassured me that I would still be with the company on a go-forward basis. "That's great" I said, and I hoped that he would not take offense at my request that he should "Go forth and multiply (on a daily basis for the rest of my death-deprived existence)".
...'I began to realise that taking advice from my boss would be as useful as taking lessons on illustration from Muhammad, or courses on construction with Shiva...'
...'One day, my boss was passing me when I was queueing to use the coffee machine, and I was playing about on my Nokia 9450 phone to pass the time as someone in front ordered their brown water from the machine. He looked at my phone and told me that I was 'behind the curve'. I corrected him and said I was "behind several curves", namely, the impressive curves of the lady in front of me who was ordering coffee. I'm thinking my reference to her "pectoral superiority" angered him. The lady in front of me noticed my act of 'undressing her with my eyes' and rebuked me thus. I baulked at the accusation; I was merely having an "introspective erotically-gratifying moment"...'
'...Disaster strikes again. Jackson, an Afro-Caribbean from London challenged me to a game of squash. I declined, saying that I was taking my fiancée to the cinema that night. I was immediately called into the office, and was accused of being a 'mad-dog' white supremacist who hated blacks. It did not occur to them that my refusal was a graceful gesture intended to save Jackson and myself from aching legs, nagging injuries, rancid jockstraps, and a spurned girlfriend who would never forget it. They did not agree, so after a long slog at the office I decided to give Jackson a game of squash. After a long slog on the squash courts, I beat him 3-2. The next day however, I was stopped from going to work by a group of 5 black heavies who were blocking my way into the office. They called themselves the 'Jackson Five'. Apparently, it isn't the done thing to beat Jackson at squash, and they give me the terribly difficult choice of accepting that I lost, or getting jumped. Quicker than you can say 'A-B-C', I accepted defeat. They left. When I spoke to Jackson about them in the office, he said they were his 'Anti-Racial Stealth Enforcers'. I then asked him what on earth could be considered stealthy about them. He replied that MI5 haven't arrested them yet. Well, illegally changing the results of squash matches is hardly undermining national security, is it! However, I would not be surprised if Special Intelligence were onto my fiancée after the splenetic rage she, and her collection of Doulton plates exhibited last night for having to cancel the cinema trip...'
'...Today is going swimmingly. Our boss has been forced to end his attempt at reviving the world of Jim Crow and Uncle Tom, and we seem to be getting refreshingly readable memos from him. (Our boss is currently on leave, but his email account automatically sends a daily memo, and understandably it is blank at the minute - so this may explain the clarity). But it was all too good to be traditionally logical. The trouble started when I went to see Tomas, who is in charge of 'International Liaison'. He is supposed to speak many languages, and I had an letter that I needed someone to translate to send to some persons in China. I went over to Tomas and explained my conundrum and he was immediately reticent. I wondered if he knew Chinese, to which he responded "Bu hao yi si". Clearly, this was supposed to be his impressive demonstration of his knowledge of the language. Tomas said he had no problem speaking Chinese, only that he hated the Chinese, because both his father and his grandfather had somehow managed to die at the hands of their civilisation. I asked him to justify his bias: He explained that his grandfather died fighting in a skirmish against the People's Army for the Soviets during the forties, as Tomas' family is from Yugoslavia and he was conscripted to fight. His father's death due to Oriental influence was rather more placid: He died after digesting a particularly rancid Chicken Chow Mein from a takeaway ran by Chinese stowaways. Tomas said their evil influence even extended to his son, who almost died after swallowing the parts of a kid's toy 'Made in Taiwan' - clearly Tomas thought Taiwan to be an undisputed Chinese province, but I was too tired and coffee-drained to debate politics with him. Nor could I get Tomas to see the fault of his inductive process: Generalizing the actions of 2 Chinese to near 2 billion seemed like a slightly hasty generalization. But he would not budge...
Aside from Shakespeare, no text has generated such a debate as to who the true author of the text is. Some have even suggested Shakespeare wrote it, perhaps taking the title of Mark Twain's book Is Shakespeare Dead? too seriously.
The standard view is that Francis O'Rourke, an Irish thirtysomething who worked at a council in the West of England, wrote the work. These are known as the Dorchesterians, because this suggestion first came into being during a drunken debate held by academics at a pub in Birmingham called The Dorchester. However, many have found it difficult to believe the Dorchester view, because offices are such nice, open, confrontation-free places to work in.
A rival theory is that of the Industrialists, who believed that Conrad Savage, an American industrialist, wrote the piece as a propaganda pamphlet against the growing tide of migration from manual labour on the production line to high-tech offices. Savage lost many workers from his production line in the 21st century. But this theory again falls to the first objection: Savage would never have been stupid enough to write a piece about offices being lousy, because they are such nice, open, machine-free places to work in.
And then there is the 'Nonchalance' theory. The proponents of this theory are not concerned with who authored the excerpt, but they assert that who ever did was a 'pussy' as 'Men do not keep diaries'. At least this theory does not fall prey to the objection which harms the first two, even though it makes absolutely no effort to find out who the author actually is.
Perhaps the greatest challenge, other than to find the author, is to find a theory that does not fall foul of the fatal objection that besets the both Dorchesterians and the Industrialists theories. But who can be bothered to do that, when you've got a nice, well-paying job in an office?