Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas memories, vol 13

My company in the states is a touchy feely kind of place. Not in the pervy sense...that goes against their mutual respect policy...but in a warm fuzzy happy family way. The founder is very Catholic, so company holidays revolve around Christmas and Easter, and there is much emphasis on good clean family living. For example, before Thanksgiving there used to be a bit of a prayer over the loud-speaker on Wednesday before we were sent off to "spend quality time with our families." We got the same speech on the last working day before Christmas Eve (a holiday) and the Thursday before Good Friday (also a holiday).

The first few years I worked there all employees were given two things for Christmas.

The first was a frozen turkey. These were never handed out until at least noon. I mean, they wouldn't want you having your turkey too soon in the day because it might be a distraction. (Though what exactly they thought we'd be doing with a frozen turkey beats me.) Each department was given a time slot to pick up their birds, and then you'd walk to the main warehouse entrance and the owner would personally hand you the turkey and wish you a Merry Christmas. I thought it was kind of quaint and quite liked this tradition, but many people started blowing off their turkey pickup time and he got a little huffy and that tradition stopped, thanks to those ingrates.

The second gift to all employees (and worse, to many of our customers) was a Christmas poster. One of the guys in the "creative" team drew the image every year. It was a realistic pencil sketch and depicted some poignant family moment or child in a cute pose, obviously grabbing at your heart strings to give them a firm pull.

The thing was, this guy was a crap artist and had an imagination stuck in 1953 (even though he was probably born in 1960.) The people in the drawings were always slightly distorted; the scenes were cloying and a little too Leave it to Beaver. One year there was a slightly cross-eyed girl on a swing. Another had two children with smile-grimaces on their faces "beaming" at the old man giving them a candy cane. A third actually featured a clown. I mean, come on. It's Christmas. What's up with Chuckles? The pictures were printed on fake parchment style paper, and had some sentimental quote at the bottom wishing people a Merry Christmas. They really were truly awful.

I'm not sure I know anyone who actually liked them. The company suck-ups would put them up in their cubes to show their sycophantic spirit, but would still bad mouth them just like the rest of us. A few bold types would bin them straight away, though usually in a bin that couldn't be traced to them or that was in the cubicle of a sworn enemy. Most folks took them home and binned them there so there would be no evidence or witnesses.

One year, my friend Kimmy had given her notice and her last day was the Friday after these little babies were distributed to the company. Kim hated them more than most people, and was always the first to find the child molester or the poor retarded child in the picture. So I decided to give her a going away present. I went around the building and collected as many of these posters as I could find. My friends Frank and Mark and Abby helped me, and I think we found a good 150 or so that people didn't want. (Who'd have guessed.) We hid them in an empty cube, and while Kimmy was in her exit interview we stole her car keys and we filled her Subaru to the ceiling with these stupid posters. She came back to her desk, said her final goodbyes and got all weepy that she was leaving her good friends behind. Ever the thoughtful one, I offered to walk her to her car.

Let's just say rage is a great way to stop someone from crying.

The tattletales spread the word quickly...not only had we destroyed 150 of the sacred posters, but our actions had resulted in PROFANITY, and even a bit of taking of the Lord's name in vain by my friend Kimmy.

By the next Christmas I was shipped to England so I'm not sure if our ungrateful behaviour actually ended up putting an end to these horrible things, but one can only hope. Perhaps my secondment was punishment for my insubordination. Or perhaps it was a reward for my heroism.


Bubs said...

A local butcher used to send frozen turkeys over to the police department every year...but they stopped around 4 years ago. Oh well.

Dale said...

You're definitely a hero, what a hilarious idea! I'd love to see some of the artwork.

madame_leiderhosen said...

I think it's a brilliant use of crap art, particially if it brings therapeutic rage into the bargain.
And this is how Melinda June was thrown into the briar patch of England to become the exotic, clever storyteller and blogger?

lulu said...

You are a bad bad person.

Mnmom said...

Punishment is being sent to England? Where do I sign up?