Thursday, September 12, 2013

Outlook Hazy: Try Again Later, You Dashing Young Rogue

Work vendors are, as a general rule, pretty awesome. As anyone knows, having a vendor show up at your office means that, most likely, there is going to be a sweet treat for everyone in the building. They almost always come equipped with boatloads of swag for workers to take, which effectively means massive amounts of free advertising in the form of notepads and keychains. Make no mistake: it doesn't matter what you pay your workers or what benefits you provide or how you treat them; if you shove a free ballpoint pen in their hands they're probably going to have an awesome day. (As an aside, that's when I knew this last recessions was capital-S serious: the vendors stopped showing up with free gadgets and just handed out as many sad-looking pamphlets as they could.)

So, anyway, it was Vendor Day earlier this week. (I forgot to get a card! Again!) I went downstairs to get the standard required information about whatever thing they were there to display, but once the pitch was over I was all about scooping up all that free stuff. I made off with a pen, a small keychain, and...a box! A mystery box, no less! So I eagerly snatched it up, grabbed a baby carrot off the vegetable tray they brought to balance out the four chocolate chunk cookies I also grabbed, and ran upstairs to open my gift like it was Upside Down Christmas Morning.

I open it up and--it's a mini Magic 8 ball! On a keychain! Sweet!

So this was awesome. This is the sort of thing that gainful employment was specifically made for: not for salary, not for pride in one's work, not even for the satisfaction of a job well done. No, it's made for waiting years to have some random guy in a staff shirt show up with a miniature version of a toy you didn't have when you were a kid because you were too old by the time it came out. I was ecstatic. And it was like some sort of Mayan Prophecy: I had, in fact, been asking myself existential questions all morning long while running reports. Why am I here? What am I doing? When will Excel stop being such a little bitch?

And here it was, a modern-day Oracle, small enough to fit in a pocket, awaiting whatever pondering I chose to ask it.

I won't lie; the decision to make this Magic 8 Ball a keychain puzzled me. Who would need that in their pocket? Are people walking to their house, fumbling around in the dark trying to get into their garage, and suddenly have a burning need to ask, "Should I go for that big promotion at work? I should ask my keychain."

Anyway, I held the tiny ball in my hands and gave it a vigorous shake. I eagerly asked a question. (I hain't tellin'. That's bad juju.)  And this is the answer I got:

Wait, what? Let's try this again: I asked a different question. Maybe I didn't phrase it right the first time.

WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE? You're #1? Is this a Little League game? I hoped those didn't count as questions.

Son of a dammit.

Magic 8 Ball, you are one condescending prick.

I kept going, out of sheer curiosity. How far does this little ball of low societal standards go?

Was the Fake Magic 8 Ball making a pass at me?

Either I just got hit on by a Chinese-made promotional gadget, or else it turned into the partner on a 1970's television detective series.

That's some positive reinforcement. At least that's how I remember most of my dates growing up going. 

I didn't get a Magic 8 Ball. I got some weird bastardized dime-store version of a Magic 8 Ball that just gave random snippets of false positive reinforcement, like a shitty fortune cookie that you don't get the benefit of eating afterwards. I get enough false positive enforcement just from my regular human interaction, like "That haircut looks nice" and "You most certainly don't look like a horse licking peanut butter out of his teeth when you eat spaghetti." Here I was hoping that all of life's questions would be answered, but instead I got a series of primary-school everyone-gets-a-reward microsized pep talks filtered through some gross blue syrup.

And so I basically chucked it in the back of my drawer. If I can't get answers, nobody else will, either. I'll do everything I can to make sure no one's life-questions will ever be answered.

Oh, Magic Self-Esteem Ball, you are one sarcastic jerkhole.

1 comment:

  1. I was excited about getting a Magic 8 Ball app, but it sucked and lots of reviews for all the versions out there all said they were borderline malware. A TRUE Magic 8 Ball would have told me, "You will be disappointed."