Monday, July 16, 2012

The Orientation

Welcome to the orientation, everyone!  Please be seated.  My name is Kevin, and I’ll be guiding you through the orientation process, or I should probably say orienting you through the orientation, right?  [Kevin laughs at his own wit.]  We have a lot of red-hot tape to go through, so I’ll try to keep things lively and fun.   Now, you should find a packet under your chair and paperwork to fill out—some administrative T’s that need crossing and I’s that need dotting.  I realize that none of you want to be here, or so I presume, but you’ll have to give me due courtesy.  I'll want your undivided attention during this orientation. HR requires it, but more importantly you’ll need this information to facilitate your stay here.  I can’t do anything about the temperature, so please don’t ask.  I get that all the time.

I understand that the first day can be a bit overwhelming.  Let me first address basic policies and procedures, after which we’ll be taking a tour of the facilities.  [Kevin observes a man in the front row looking at him strangely.  He glances at the program administrator, a woman in a natty grey dress suit, standing to the side.  He chuckles.]  What?  Did you expect pitchforks and tails?  Why do they always go there, Margaret?  I know, I know: those damn movies!

Now let me continue with the orientation, as time is running out…  Oh, actually it’s not.  [Kevin laughs.]  That’s a joke, sort of.  Later my colleague Gladys will go over your benefit package with you, but you should know at the outset (and you probably figured) there are actually no benefits offered here.  [A man seated on the right raises his hand.]  Yes, there’s a question over here!  [Kevin hears the man out.] For those of you in the back, he’s asking whether he should check the box on the form that says serial killer or serial rapist because he was both.  Good question.  I’d say, check both boxes.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, for, and I’m getting ahead of myself, serial killers, serial rapists and trial lawyers will be staying in the lower floor of the Dantean complex.   By the way, when I say “at the end of the day” you understand I’m just using an expression, for your day here will not come to an end.

[Another hand goes up.]  Yes, you in the blue shirt.  What’s that?  Yes, eternity is a very long time.  Duh!  I understand that a few of you here were on death row.  Well, imagine how you felt during that confinement, but amplify the feeling, say, up a million notches.  You’ll have to make the best of it, somehow.  That will be easier said than done, however.  Once we take the tour, you’ll realize that you actually have no idea what it means to inflict pain on others.  Mere child's play.  On a side but not unrelated note, you’ll soon find that the phrase, “There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth,” has nothing to do with the pangs of remorse but rather the absolute agony of eternal and most unusual, sadistic torture.  I’m not a biblical scholar, but I find those little misinterpretations interesting, don’t you?

Okay, where was I…. Please let me finish the orientation….  [Kevin responds to some murmuring in the back.] What’s that, ma’am?  You’re an atheist?  And?  I’m an atheist too.  Oh for Christ’s sake!  Look around you.  Do you see God anywhere?  Of course you don’t!  Do you think you’re going to wake up from a bad dream or something?  What's that you say?  You don't believe in life after death?  Yes, I presume you don't.  Who said anything about life?  Think of your stay here as...well, a prolonged death, or rather prolonged dying.  I don't know if that helps, but , yeah, life is a bit of a stretch.

[The program administrator looks at her watch.]  Okay, okay.   I'm getting the look.  [Kevin grins.]  It appears we need to move on.  We were going to have a time for questions, but you’ve already used it up.  Let me just say, on behalf of the staff here, we hope you enjoy your stay.  As you probably know, there's nothing more gratifying than the feeling of accomplishment.  Rest assured, each and every one of you here today will get what he or she deserves.  Congrats!  You have earned it.  Again, welcome!