Talking Out Yo’ Ass (Corporate America, Round 2)

Remember, Human Resources is not "resources for humans," but rather "humans as a resource." On to the story!

Remember, Human Resources is not “resources for humans,” but rather “humans as a resource.” On to the story!

For those who aren’t personally close to me, I took up a job working for a major corporation again about a week ago. There were lots of factors that led to that decision, most of them having to do with having the money to afford that sweet “American with health insurance that works” lifestyle, but the simple reason for it is that freelance pays when it wants to, and in my experience that timeframe is between “rarely” and “never.” I have a bunch of tales to tell from those strictly-freelance days, and am excited to eventually get to them, but this feature is something I want to get to first because it’s quick and immediate. That way, I’m actually writing a real thing or two on this blog each week, instead of pretending that I have a blog and then disappearing for a month at a time while I think of the next long-ass entry to write. Hopefully, entries like this will occur with a bit more frequency.

And what are they? Simply put, these are simple contrasts between the corporate world I knew 4 years ago and the one I’m getting to know today. They’re things like “people have forgotten how to shake hands” or “this company has switched to Mac products solely to make itself feel better about its own irrelevance.” You know, simple stuff.

And so, without further ado, here comes the first entry of this thing. Enjoy!

All the love,

-XJ

Four years ago, I used to work in the Age of Mildew. The building where I worked had a pipe leak in between floors, and I guess that mold & mildew remediation weren’t top priorities for a company that was going to eviscerate its production department in a matter of mere months, so we were stuck smelling like the inside of an Edgar Allen Poe poem. If you weren’t getting shitcanned that month, it was likely you wished your name was at the top of next month’s list…and that was the optimist’s view.

Fortunately, things weren’t all bad. For example, if you didn’t want to have the smell of lingering, ancient death blowing out your nasal cavities all day, you could get a brief respite in the restroom, where the air smelled of someone’s beefy ass instead. Like mysteries? Well, “Guess my Breakfast” was one of the more exciting ones a person could play in the claustrophobic, sweaty bathrooms.

50 cent taco night at the ol' Brew & View? Don't mind if I do!

50 cent taco night at the ol’ Brew & View? Don’t mind if I do!


Far too hot to inhibit bacteria, these bathrooms were incubators for all of the bad things in the world. Fascism had a field office in these bathrooms, as did the bird flu, sequestration and Bobby Flay. And you could be sure that you’d end up with the stink of the last guy’s 7-course McDonald’s dinner somehow stuck in your mouth. Whether he let loose 5 minutes ago or before the extended weekend, it was practically a lock that his abdominal maleficence was going to let you know that it once thrived and fed the robust economy of his ass.

These days, thankfully, are done. There are a lot of contributing factors, highly notable among these being that I no longer work with this one dude who had IBS & Crohn’s at the same time that he ate nothing but potato chips and roasted heads of garlic. It’s also true, though, that the new building just happens to have better ventilation in its restrooms. Sure, you can still smell your neighbor’s cookout, but you no longer feel like you’re being forced to attend it. You can politely acknowledge any offensive odors without being forced to keep it company until it goes through a few hundred half-lives. I don’t care where a person starts in a company; that’s an instant promotion.

However, this world is give and take. And it seems that we have a number of hypotheses regarding the change I’ve noticed between the 2009 corporate world and that of today. That number could land in the 100s, easily, but I’ve narrowed it down to the top three suspects, which are

1) the increasingly health-conscious diet of the middle-class metro-area urbanite has come to include many more legumes and aromatic vegetation,

2) the company for which I work has done an amazing job at getting across the idea that we should support one another like family, or

3) people just like farting around each other way more in the Smartphone Age.

"Hold on 'Cilla. I gotta take this shit in my pants here right quick, and then we can get back to the duet."

“Hold on ‘Cilla. I gotta take this shit in my pants here right quick, and then we can get back to the duet.”


I’ve noticed this every single day I’ve been back in the corporate world, but today it almost seemed like some unseen force was being insistent that I understand that folks at my job love farting and love doing so with great aplomb. Based on what I’ve seen, this new culture is one where someone’s shoe makes a fart sound, but unlike the real world where we can’t recreate the sound and so we giggle, the sound can be reproduced repeatedly and on a whim. This culture has had me on the verge of laughing tears, but then I realize that no one else is laughing. This is normal business, folks.

Yes, this is all occurring in the bathroom; I don’t think the same gimmick would play as well on the actual production floor. That would make one think it’s completely normal, right? No way, sir! I have never heard such an array, let loose with such frequency and reckless abandon, as I have in the 2nd floor bathroom. Maybe they’re being polite on the 1st floor and following the Carlin “20-30% of the total fart” rule, but the 2nd floor bathroom might as well be an overdrugged, underpaid face in a bukkake video…for farts.

Do you like to talk and fart? How about fart, stand to piss in a stall, then sit to fart & shit? Do you like to fart just because you’re in a room with a closed door? Ever fart just because you like the feeling of your little quivering butthole? All of the above and then some go on in this methane-filled den, each fart lingering like the Ghost of Lunches Past.

“Don’t eat the Everything pizza,” they say. “The lemon meringue pie is too rich,” they say. They say a lot, maybe too much; the jury’s still out on whether or not anyone hears them.

I know, it’s the restroom and this is where these things are supposed to occur. I know, it’s a natural bodily function. But I think there’s a point where a fart is just too fucking casual for its own good, and 4 years removed from a corporate paradigm, I’m finding that these farts are flying too fast & loose, undisciplined and without consideration for the rest of the “I can’t piss in public and your farts are absolutely destroying my concentration with their inherent comedy” professional community.

There’s no solution to be sought here. Surely, no one is talking about the legislation of bodily gas. We don’t need a tax, or a petition, or a Kickstarter campaign. The uptick in the farts-per-second doesn’t necessarily need to drop. I’m just curious as to the precise moment in time that it started to rise. In a world full of questions, that more than any other is the one that grips me tonight.

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About xtopherjacques

I'm an unreliable narrator, which is supposed to be the fun of it. I'd imagine it's a lot more fun to be led off a cliff if it feels like a circus until it happens. Oh, I'm an average guy; I respirate and dream. Here, I'll talk a lot about both. There will likely be too much talk about bodily fluids of varying viscosities for one's liking, but I refuse to change that until it bores me. Thankfully, I also have healthy obsessions with foods (it might get weird), body washes and obscure media. I also talk a lot about my house being haunted and possessed, neither being true. All of those things should keep this all interesting enough. I sure hope so.

Posted on 07/22/2013, in Tales of The Corporate Underbelly, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. As I first started to read this I thought…has this guy written a book yet? I read quite a bit of YA lit (usually because it is better than regular ole adult fiction), as well as some non-fiction and you really are talented. Not sure what the interest level for flatulence increase is, but I’m sure you can pull something together with your raunchy wit and unique descriptions (i.e. the reference to smelling like a Poe poem, lovely). So…what I’m saying is, continue to make that corporate “cheddah” but also seek getting published because your writing is far superior to many.

  2. Team awesome

    Love your description of where you used to work!

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