Monday, April 23, 2007

All Signs Point to Cursed

Folk wisdom has it that the desk on the other side of the partition from mine is cursed. In the five years I've worked in my office, no one who has sat in that spot has stayed for more than a year or two. My boss teases that it's because of me, but after extensive test marketing and analysis, I have determined that I have a delightful personality, therefore the only possible reasonable answer is a curse.

It's been suggested that the problem could be that The Desk sits just outside of the boss' office. As such, whoever sits there has traditionally tended to be the person who gets most picked on for any number of offenses including but not limited to: eating, humming, talking too much, spending too much time on the phone (even on work calls), excessive radio volume, having headphones on too loud, and (in the case of its most recent, brief occupant, who after two days begged to be moved on the grounds that the desk was too high for her) decorating during a lunch break. What makes this spot particularly perilous is that the same activities can take place in any other cubicle in the building without even the bat of an eyelash. Do them at The Desk, and it's like some kind of silent alarm goes off, alerting our manager that ill doings are afoot, even when half a building away.

As an example, despite the Decree 428B, Section 3 banning the consumption food at our desks (depending on managerial whim of the day it can sometimes also just be over our keyboards), one of my coworkers (we'll call her Jane) happily marches past our manager's door every day around 10:30 with a cup of yogurt or a bag of freshly popped popcorn. My boss never says a thing, except for when making comments about how good the popcorn smells. My other coworker, has a bowl that gets filled multiple times a day in a loud symphony of crackle crackle crackle, shake shake shake as she empties chips from a bag that she keeps in her desk. Never a word.

In contrast, the former occupant of The Desk used to get chastised on a routine basis for eating there. It got to the point that we all used to tease her that she could probably get in trouble for just looking hungry. Now an argument could be made that had The Desk's occupant exercised a little more stealth in carrying out her infractions (like maybe dressing camoulflage or perhaps a fetching black turtleneck and black face paint), she might have gotten caught less often. Given my mythomaniacal leanings, however, it seems to me that the only plausible explanation is that The Desk is cursed, and here's why:

Everyone knows that my boss has days when she can take micromanagement to heretofore unknown heights. She is at heart a decent, well meaning person, but she just can't help herself. I don't think she generally intends to insult people's competence. She'd probably feel bad if she realized, because she sees it all as "just doing her job". All of that aside, however, the fixation on the goings on at The Desk any time its occupied is unnatural and intense, even for her, and that, my friends, is where the curse comes in.

Most of all, however, I just think curses are given short schrift these days. Sure, there are those who have their runs of bad luck and make half hearted jokes about being cursed. There was even that great story line in the buffyverse that explained Angel's status as a vampire with a soul as being the product of a gypsy curse. But, let's face it, curses are woefully underused anymore. I mean, sure, who hasn't wanted to pull out this old chestnut* when someone steals her parking place or jams the copier at work, leaving it for some poor, unsuspecting coworker to handle:

I curse thee! let a sufferer's curse
Clasp thee, his torturer, like remorse;
Till thine Infinity shall be
A robe of envenomed agony;
And thine Omnipotence a crown of pain,
To cling like burning gold round thy dissolving brain!

(*from the Prometheus Smacks Zeus Down section of Shelly's Prometheus Unbound, but applicable to ire raising situations of all kinds)

Over all, however, there's just not a lot of cursing going on anymore. No one really goes around calling for much envenomed agony. I guess they're all too busy watching reality t.v. (which from my perspective is a curse in it's own right). That's really where the people at Gypsy Curses, Inc. have their work cut out for them. For the bargain price of a dollar, not only will they "cater to your every gypsy cursing need", but they will smite your enemies with afflictions ranging from scurvy to gigantism to amoebic dysentary too. If they can do all that, clearly someone could have cursed the desk next to mine. That's all I'm saying.


Jen said...

evenomed agony would be a great band name! I love the sufferer's curse. Have you thought about doing a little freelance cursing? It might be a profitable sideline. Maybe you throw in some blessings to keep karmic balance... (I will draw up a business plan and get back to you!) hee hee hee.

Jen said...

you know what would be an even better band name? Envenomed Agony! Did you curse my spelling?? (looks suspiciously across internet...)

Martina said...

Yes. Yes, I did curse your spelling. I need all the practice I can get if I am going to go pro. :-)

Chris said...

Some people might guess that a Google of "Envenomed Agony" would put Shelley at the top of the list. But no, the new order is such that our Powellhurst Princess outranks him, and everyone else.

The domain name is available. It is, up for grabs by Poison Punk bands (if the genre doesn't exist, it will) or as the one stop for all your cursing needs.

Martina said...

That is kind of sad, Shelley should definitely outrank me! onOn the other hand, I always KNEW that gypsy magic book I checked out from the library a couple months ago would come in handy sooner or later!