Just let the melodramatic possibilities of that sentence wash over you. Try to list the number of other things ever that survived but were killed with a machete by rescuers sifting through the wreckage. Ironically.
The maintenance man will not stop talking about his gun collection. For what must be the hundredth time, he explains that his favorite Sig Sauer pistol had a rough action when cycling a round into the chamber, and that rather than take it apart and polish it, he tried a new method his uncle had recommended. He packed the chamber with smoker’s toothpaste and dry-fired it one thousand times. The gentle abrasive nature of the toothpaste smoothed the action and easily washed out afterward. Everyone has heard this story in the lobby, in the elevator, in the filing area, even in the bathrooms, both from adjacent urinals and adjacent stalls. The maintenance engineer can hardly stand it anymore. When the maintenance man has a few too many at the Christmas party and starts to tell this story to the visiting vice president for physical plant, the engineer loses his temper and tells the maintenance man to shut up for once about the toothpaste in the gun. He feels bad about this as the crestfallen maintenance man nods and wanders off, humiliated. After the party, the maintenance man waits for the engineer by his car. When the engineer approaches, the maintenance man pulls out the Sig Sauer and shoots the engineer, then himself. When examining their corpses, the county coroner notes a pleasant minty aroma.
The television salesman had married into a prominent family of Ku Klux Klan nobility. He is a racist of course, and a homophobe, and his blond good looks are an Aryan joke, but his cruelty has a surprising intelligence and craft. Almost a year after the first Gulf War ends, he plays recorded CNN footage from the beginning of the war on all the televisions in the department. Customers passing through are aghast, thinking the war had begun again. He doesn’t seem to mind that many of the other salespeople are black, or that several are gay. He gets along with everyone who doesn’t already know him to be an asshole. But some anonymous person truly hates him. This person keys his car, slashes his tires, steals inventory paperwork, and otherwise terrorizes him. He cannot figure out who it might be, as he has never experienced personal vendettas, only vendetta by racial or sexual category. Eventually he quits. Someone circulates a rumor that his enemy was a spurned gay black lover. In the end, this is what everyone remembers about him, if they remember him at all.
The secretary has a black thumb, but she will not seek medical help. Instead she complains and worries for weeks, then months. The thumb changes color and shape. It feels too hot, too cold, has no feeling, becomes too sensitive. The thumbnail does not fall off but takes on a dark yellowish tinge. The secretary will not cease discussing the thumb, waves it in everyone’s face for a daily exam, always approaching with thumb extended like a hitch-hiker. Does she get cancer and die? No, it’s just chronic bad circulation. The black thumb becomes the most important thing in the office. All decisions revolve around the black thumb, its presence, its capabilities, how it might influence the proceedings. Temperature and light must be adjusted to suit. Female coworkers nervously avoid the bathroom stall and sink the secretary uses, subconsciously fearing contagion from anything the black thumb might have touched. No one will drink coffee on the days she brews it. Black smudges on her paperwork are viewed with suspicion. The worst elements of everyone’s base natures are made manifest. Productivity plummets. The department is closed, everyone is fired. Lives are destroyed. The secretary is sad, but she finds another job where the people are nicer and more sympathetic. As she begins to enjoy her less stressful job and more pleasant coworkers, her circulation improves and the black thumb clears up. She becomes one of the most well-liked people in the office.
You quickly write an essay consisting of a series of anecdotes, stealing personal details from people you know and work with. All of them are partly true, but one salient detail is really true. This truth is exposed later when the person in question reads the essay and your name, and realizes that it’s only matter of time before other people make the same connection. This person does not act against you directly, but he or she comments to other mutual friends and acquaintances about how uncomfortable the essay made him or her. These others in turn wonder which part is true, and if certain parts that seem ridiculous might in fact be veiled references to their own history. One woman in particular, after considering this, decides that maybe she shouldn’t ask you out after all, since it’s not clear you can be trusted. Which is too bad, because the two of you might have been really happy someday.
All the senior management gets on a plane to Foursquare’s big headquarters in California. Is it Los Angeles? San Francisco? No it’s just CALIFORNIA. You can’t check in there, it’s too big. Foursquare needs an entire state for its main office. We’re excited because we have a proposition obviously and immensely valuable to both parties. Sure-fire home run. And scoring this meeting wasn’t easy let me tell you. The times when Dennis Crowley would come to our place or Tristian Walker would take our calls are long gone. Many favors called, much groveling. But that’s okay, it comes with becoming the buzz.
We arrive and Foursquare HQ is a giant, massive square building, no windows, one door. Huge parking lot, lots of cars. We’re psyched! We get in the front door, but instead of the usual corporate lobby it’s something like a pediatrician’s waiting room. Stained carpeting, fake wood paneling. Lots of uncomfortable chairs and mass-produced flower art on the walls. The receptionist sits obscured behind a small, sliding plastic window; she notes our names and tells us to wait until called. There are no other doors besides the one we came in.
And we’re not alone. There must be a dozen other groups here, clutching laptop bags and fondling their iPads. Aspirational college geeks, post-corporate idea nerds, single-serving code freaks and their minions. We all stare at each other with hostility and suspicion. But … but look at the far wall.
Through yellowed windows complete with half-open and shabby venetian blinds, you can see into the rest of the building. It’s one giant chamber, like an aircraft hangar. Inside are hundreds of people, some in costume, most in various stages of undress. There is body paint and glitter and strange plumage and slutty accessorizing. There are circus animals, musicians, crazy mechanical vehicular contraptions out of Burning Man ten years ago. They’re all charging around, carrying on, playing innovative and tastefully hip music, throwing confetti, making toasts, chugging champagne, doing designer drugs. They are throwing sticky LED artworks on the walls and floors. They are engaged in massively complex but simplistically entertaining relationships with each other and other groups around the world through their stylish and immaculately curated mobile devices. The lighting is bright but generous. Everyone’s having a blast. It’s a beautiful party and soon we’ll be joining it to make our presentation, because this is how things are done here and now.
But time crawls in the waiting room. No one is called by the receptionist. No one else comes in from the parking lot. There is no water fountain, no vending machine, but we don’t notice. All of us, rivals and accomplices, are transfixed by the view into the building. The party in there only gets hotter and more amazing. I see people I should recognize — are they celebrities or tech people, or the children of celebrities and tech people, purpose-bred in this building? Why would they ever leave? We’ll never leave! Never!
"Thanks everyone," the receptionist calls from her window slot, bored. "But it looks like we’re out of time today. Please send an email to reschedule your appointment to info at foursquare dot com. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can."
I jump up in a rage, unbelieving. Right at that moment I glace into the maelstrom of the party, and I see Dennis Crowley being pulled around on some fusion of Mardi Gras float and palanquin. He’s deep in the celebration, not looking at us. No one at the party every looks toward the windows where all of us have sat, all day, looking out. “Crowley!” I shout, running over to the windows. I’m beating on the window in a rage. “I see you in there! We came a long way for this meeting! We’re not leaving until we show you these spreadsheets and slides!”
"Sir," calls the receptionist, sadly, coldly. "Sir."
“I ate the entire cake. At one point, I remember becoming aware of the oppressive fullness building inside of me, but I kept eating out of a combination of spite and stubbornness. No one could tell me not to eat an entire cake - not my mom, not Santa, not God - no one. I would eat cake whenever I damn well pleased. It was my cake and everyone else could go fuck themselves.”—The God of Cake
you talked about jody grind and singing off mic....i've seen dashboard confessional live a few times and chris carrabba does that once in a while. it's absolutely amazing when a crowd is that into their show that the silence is as beautiful as the moment in which it is happening. great clip, by the way!
I have terrible taste in music generally and almost never see music live anymore, but I can appreciate these moments. Nostalgically at least.