Saturday, October 16, 2010

Work and Play

This morning I found myself in bed with a yellow lab named Daisy, wearing a green flowery summer dress and almost knocking over a vomit-filled baseball cap off the nightstand. What happened? Where did I go wrong? I’m not a big fan of bestiality and I gave up my transvestite lifestyle years ago. The puke, I suspected, was my own, given the foul taste in my mouth. (Then again, the dog’s mouth tasted like my barf too, so I wasn’t sure whose barf was in my hat, hers or mine.) My best bet in figuring out this mysterious set of circumstances was to retrace my steps the previous day. As things came into focus, I recalled that I had been part of a weird experiment. Dear reader, the following events will boggle your mind, but I assure you that they transpired exactly as I recount them below. I’ve used pseudonyms to protect identities and reputations.

Here’s a strange experiment for ya. Take thirty-seven biped mammals and place them in a small classroom for about six hours. Give them an assignment with little guidance and watch their frustrations come out.  The experiment was ostensibly about group projects that the said mammals had to perform. I won’t bore you with the details, other than to explain that the purpose of this exercise was to learn how to determine brigade strength should we deploy overseas. Some dudes in white lab coats somewhere had us divided into five groups. Like the Stanley Milgram experiment in the Sixties, the social scientists used a ruse to have us believe we were assisting in an experiment when in reality we were its subjects. After giving us some basic instruction, the “teacher” left us to our own devices for a good chunk of the afternoon. (Absentee instruction is an interesting way to teach a course, but as I say, the whole “group project” thing was just a ruse anyway.)

To make a short story long, we were inputting data onto electronic forms. A representative from each group would brief the instructor on our work when we finished. As the hours rolled on, and on, I started to feel like I was trapped in a Kafka novel, forcibly atoning for my sins in a penal colony. Lord of the Flies is probably more apt, for I also saw myself as a schoolboy stranded on an island watching my classmates divide into factions and regress into crazed chimpanzees. Take Snuffy, for instance. He got into a pissing match with Charles for not meeting Snuffy’s standards. The latter’s pretentious and self-congratulatory character came to the fore in this experiment, an unpleasant development that doesn’t bode well for the field training exercise the Orwellian guys in white lab coats will subject us to in November. For his part, Charles’s idiosyncrasies were on full display during these long hours of confinement in the classroom, especially his uncanny ability to find a difficulty where absolutely none exists and to generate a question when answers are as clear as day.

The experiment finally concluded around 6:30 pm. After such a nerve-racking experience, I needed some kind of social outlet to sooth my distraught heart.  Granted, I might be sophisticated, sagacious and modest to a fault, but I like to let my hair down once in a while and enjoy a drink or three and some fellowship with my classmates. Perhaps some cordials and dinner conversation would restore my faith in humanity.  Lt. Ripley drove Chief, Pocahontas, and me to Slick’s apartment where we met up with $hara and her friends from Fort Gordon; Duchess, Belle, and Heidi came in separate vehicles.  Somehow a humongous bottle of Jack Daniels found its way into my hands and ultimately down my gullet. Whether it was divine providence, a satanic conspiracy or pure happenstance, I do not know.   I signed up for a half marathon in a few weeks, but I'm not sure the pepperoni pizza, Cool Ranch Doritos, and whiskey that I consumed will prepare me well.  I still cannot explain the dog, the dress and the vomit; my suspicion, however, is that I probably had a good time last night.