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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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A Maddening March

Oh, cruel irony.

I wrote a few days ago — in jest, mind you — about needing an excuse to get out of work for the first weekend of March Madness this year. I don’t really want to shatter your image of my refreshingly sexy carefree and cavalier attitude, but I really was just joshing. Since college, I have exactly twice completely skipped out of work on the Thursday and/or Friday that kick off the NCAA basketball tourney. And when I did, I was up-front about it. I had fricking tickets to the Thursday games — once here in Boston, and once in Pittsburgh, so I would not be coming to work that day. And those Fridays… well, if the hoops hangovers didn’t do me in, then there’d be nineteen more hours or so of basketball to watch. So Friday was out, too. No cockamamie excuses for me, boyo.

So I was joking, really, when I brought it up earlier this week. I kid — I’m a kidder. It’s what I do.

But then, a funny thing happened. I actually did finagle a way out of work tomorrow (Friday). A perfectly reasonable, understandable, and justifiable reason to work from home. And it’s this — in our new office, I’ve been assigned to a cubicle. It’s one of ten or twelve cubes in a little ‘mini-cube farm’ on one side of our new building. No problem.

However, I also happen to be the first contact for certain types of people who are applying for jobs in our group. And I like to kick off the recruiting dance with a telephone screen. I find those sorts of conversations tell both parties about what they might be getting into, without the initial commitment and dressing-upness of a proper, in-person interview. It’s nice for both sides.

And it just so happens that I’ve got phone interviews scheduled for tomorrow. That’s just how it worked out. No, really — honest. Stop looking at me that way, dammit.

“The nirvana I joked about has fallen into my lap, and I’ve just found that it’s a mirage. A pipe dream, composed of solid teams and well-coached squads, and shooting guards who can actually hit an open three-pointer.”

Anyway, the upshot is, these sorts of conversations would be fairly uncomfortable, I’m thinking, to have in my open-ended, highly public cubicle. If I have the conversations at work, then everyone around me is going to hear the spiel of what we do, and here’s our sales pitch, and what do you bring to the table, and nobody wants that. Especially because I’m not always so terribly ‘smooth’ on the phone — I know, I know; ‘the hell, you say — get out!‘ — so who knows what I might end up saying, or claiming, or pretending our group can do?

What, time travel? Well, sure, we all work on the time travel machines over here. It’s old hat by now, really.

What’s that, cold fusion? Pffffft. Piece of cake. We even started doing fusion in the deep freezes in the cafeteria, just for the challenge. Nothing but a thing.

So clearly, it’s better if I have these conversations at home, with no one but the dog around to laugh at me.

(And the dog’s not even wearling pants, so how superior can she really think she is, right?

I mean, if I’m not wearing pants, it’s a conscious choice, If the dog is bottomless, it’s just because she’s got no opposable thumbs, and a brain the size of a chickpea. It’s completely different. No, really.)

Look, the point is — I’ve now got a perfectly good reason to stay at home tomorrow, and I’m taking it. Conducting private interviews, from the comfort of my own abode, is simply more advantageous for everyone involved.

But it did occur to me that I’d found an excuse to watch basketball, too — or at least sneak a few games in between interview calls. Without really meaning to, I’d devised an ingenious way to get to see most of the first round action happening on Friday. It just fell into my lap — really!

So you can imagine my dismay — nay, my profound heartbreak, disappointment, and heart-wrenching misery — when my favorite team, the one true team that I care about, the team I live and die with and fret over like a fragile nursing baby, LOST tonight, in their very first game.

My team. OUT. Buh-bye. Have a nice summer; see you next season.

Which means, I don’t frankly give a polkaing Pekinese posterior what the hell happens to any other fricking team for the rest of this lousy, time-wasting, poopy tournament. Teams win, teams lose — what do I care? I’d rather watch baseball, ya dinks.

(Yes, I’m a sore loser. And no, I don’t learn from the heartbreak year to year. Such is the plight of die-hard sports fans — ever-optimistic, but doomed to wallow in the wading pool of unmet expectations.

It’s a hard life. We don’t suffer quite as much as the Catholics, but only because we don’t keep at it year-round. Schedule March Madness once a week, like church trips, and we might give ’em a run for their money. The ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ have got nothing on a first-round loss to a team that never should have been in the Big Dance in the first place. Color me soulstricken.)

Anyway, now I’m in a most unenviable situation. I’m absolved of going to the office on Friday, but I still have to perform the phone interviews (that being the point, of course), and now I’m not even interested in waching basketball at all. The nirvana I joked about has fallen into my lap, and I’ve just found that it’s a mirage. A pipe dream, composed of solid teams and well-coached squads, and shooting guards who can actually hit an open three-pointer.

So, I suppose I’ll be good tomorrow. If I can’t enjoy the tournament, then I should at least dig the conversations with potential new people, and whatever else gets thrown at me in the process. But basketball? Dead to me! At least until next year.

Hardly makes working from home seem worth it, does it? And I’ll be vaguely cheering for underdogs the rest of the way out, but mostly to be a pain in the ass. My heart’s not really in it, and half the time, I’ve never heard of the team I’m supporting. It’s just what we do, once our teams bite the big orange dimpled one.

Screw this, man! Can I go to work on Saturday and Sunday, too? This tournament is OVER!

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “A Maddening March”

  1. RRaccoon says:

    To make up for the big loss you should do everything in your power to make the working-from-home day enjoyable. Interview people while in your underwhere. Pour a little Bailey’s in your coffee. Take a nap at 1:30. Things you COULD do in your cubicle but probably should NOT do.

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