Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It Would Have Been Funny...Part 3

All those that know me, know I don't mess around when it comes to my food.

I like having three square meals and I want them on time. Delay my chance to eat, and I guarantee my crankiness level will increase exponentially until I am fed.

This next shining moment of mine happens at a particularly vulnerable moment. I was at a job I didn't feel qualified to do. I was trying desperately to seem put-together and confident. And yes, I was ready for lunch.

And then my boss has to feed me...

If you haven't noticed, these are pretty much weekly installments.

Last week held a true jewel of a humiliating moment. A real gem of hilarity...if only it hadn't happened to me.

It all started with my company's United Way campaign to raise money for the Meyer Center - an amazing organization that provides help to 2-7 year old children with developmental disabilities.

I was all for our field trip to read to the kids. I was all for donating a portion of my check to go to the United Way. But this one facet of the campaign, well, it delayed my lunch and simultaneously vaporized any self-confidence I possessed.

For this special part of our campaign we met for lunch one day in the conference room. I kind of had a bad feeling about it from the start, as it was promised in the email invite to be an "eye-opening experience."

Yeah, "Eye-opening experience." That's a euphemism for "Sit back, relax, and get ready to feel like a total idiot."

As we sat down to delicious Two Chef box lunches, Erin, our campaign coordinator, handed out little note cards with our disabilities listed.

Yes, it was an "empathy" lunch, much like Pi Kappa Phi's Spaghetti "Empathy Dinners."

Well, I was delt a real card, I'll tell you that much.

While other members of our staff were fortunate enough to get "autism" - only allowing them to speak in words of 3 letters, or "blindness" - how hard is it to fumble around for your sandwich? puuulease! - I was given the card of all cards. The only one in the stack.


So, Erin tied my arms behind my back.

"Awesome," I thought. "I'll just wait it out until the game is over and I'm allowed to 'take off' my disabilities. Then I'll eat."

I wasn't going to ask for help. I wasn't going to smash my face in my salad and dig around like a squirrel rooting for acorns.

No way, no how. I was keeping my dignity in tact. And I planned to do that by holding my own fork.

Or so I thought.

Lucky for me, I was sitting beside my boss, who happened to have Cerebral Palsy. This meant that his fingers were taped together like crab claws. Also lucky for me, my boss was totally into playing the game.

So he wasn't going to let me off the hook.

No, he was going to help me eat.

In other words, he fed me.

It started with my water bottle, which he poured generously into my watering trap with his crabby claws. Since that didn't work, he got out a straw and put that in the bottle. Alas, the straw fell down into the bottle and we couldn't get it back out. No fingers, remember? So, he poured the whole bottle - straw and all - into a cup, which allowed me to sip unassisted.

Not to be set back by our first mishap, my boss takes my roll and stabs it with a knife. He then proceeds to play "airplane" with me, forcing me to take a generous bite.

I chew it as long as I possibly can, trying to delay the inevitable next bite.

Then we go for the salad. He really piles on the bite here, and drenches it in my side of balsamic vinaigrette, so that dressing is dribbling down my chin while my cheeks are stuffed like chipmunks'.

He proceeds to wipe my dressing-drenched chin with a napkin clutched by his crab-like claws.

The paper napkin gets stuck to the tape on his fingers, however, making for a really awkward situation all around.

Moral of this story:

Keep a pocket-knife in your boot like MacGyver. If anyone ever tries to tie your arms behind your back before lunch, you'll be able to escape.

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