Tear down the wall

22Dec03

Imported from Ruddy Inc.

The world is closing in
Did you ever think
That we could be so close, like brothers?
The future’s in the air
I can feel it everywhere
Blowing with the wind of change

It’s a momentous occasion, albeit a sorrowful one. The time has come to tear down the Wall of Ruddy Ruddy.

Due to three new people being added to our department at work, there’s been a shuffling of the seating arrangements. For reasons that are as yet unexplained, it’s meant that I’m being moved out of my current cubicle into a new location that I’m not crazy about.

First, there’s no logical reason for me moving, and it even creates more work for those who have to move all the furniture around (which includes me). It is kind of suspicious, however, that the designer who drew up the new floor plan is movin’ on up to my deluxe cubicle, while I’m getting turned out and sent to the slums.

Second, I’m giving up a lot of badly needed desk space. I’ll have maybe half the space I have now. And although I’ve been remarked upon as having possibly the tidiest desk in the company, when things get really cooking — as they have been for the last couple of months — I use every inch of that space.

Third, I’m going to have my back in front of what may turn out to be a high-traffic area. It’s going to be kind of like an alley, and while we can hang out in it with a cooler drinking beers, we’re more likely to use it for actually getting in and out of our work area. This means that I’m probably going to be constantly distracted — perhaps even brushed against — by people walking by.

Fourth, it’s not only not private enough for my needs, but it’s in fact right in the middle of the three new arrivals (I’m more or less at the center of a triangle formed by their desks), whose business has little to do with me, so we’re going to be driving each other nuts.

Fifth, it’s closer to the boss, and situated in such a way that any sound from my area is likely to carry to him, meaning not only that I’ll need to start wearing headphones (which I was going to do anyway, as a result of item number four), but that I’ll have to keep the chatter to a a minimum, even if it’s about work. Needless to say, I won’t have a purpose for my guest chair anymore, even if I had the space. It’s a pity too — the guest chair set me apart as being someone.

Sixth, the wall behind me features a gloryhole. Let me explain that: There’s a desk behind me, and we’re separated by a hutch that has a little hole in it through which electrical cords are fed. However, the primary of this hole so far has been as an aperture through which one of my co-workers has been able to stick a metal ruler and gore me under the shoulder blade with a sharp corner, leaving a nasty, bloody scratch. (The office politics at my workplace aren’t bad, but there’s more backstabbing than I’d like.)

Last, I don’t have nearly as many blank walls to fill up, and with a new tenant due to arrive, the Wall of Ruddy Ruddy obviously cannot remain where it is. So tomorrow, on my last day before my Christmas vacation, I’ll have to take it all down so that the new guy can move in on the following day. I hope to bring it back in some form. Perhaps I can use the gloryhole wall, but I’m not crazy about all the traffic likely to be passing through that area. I could put it up on my hutch, but the heavier items have shown a propensity for falling down, and I’m not eager to catch any of them in the face. It doesn’t much matter, anyway — we’re changing buildings within a couple of months, so I may end up with a suitable display space once again.

All is not lost in the land of Ruddy Ruddy, however. In fact, today’s mail provided me with a rare double-shot of Ruddy Ruddy, and unlike the previous mail (which I’ve found a bit lacking in luster), these ones are pretty decent.

First, there’s a notice from our old friends at the Reader Service Center, who’ll you’ll remember as the people behind mailing me the Harlequin novels. I’ve noticed something new about these guys: They’re located in Fort Erie, Ontario, and yet they spell “Center” with the American “-er” spelling, rather than the Canadian “-re” spelling. So, patriots, they’re not. Cracking it open, I see that they’re getting anxious about the lack of payment from Ruddy Ruddy:

DEAR RUDDY RUDDY,

WE’RE FRANKLY SURPRISED — SURPRISED TO SEE THAT OUR LAST SHIPMENT TO YOU STILL HASN’T BEEN PAID FOR. IS SOMETHING WRONG? IF SO, TELL US AND WE’LL FIX IT.

IF NOT , PLEASE PAY THE ENCLOSED BILL. AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THE STATEMENT, YOUR ACCOUNT IS NEARING A “SERIOUSLY OVERDUE” CONDITION, AND WE CAN’T START SERVICE AGAIN UNTIL YOU’VE PAID THIS BILL. PLEASE.

PAULA MORGAN,
CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGER
READER SERVICE

I’m not surprised at all that no payment has been made. But in fact, something is wrong: Ruddy Ruddy doesn’t exist. What would frankly surprise me is if the Reader Service somehow made good on their promise to fix this problem. I also like the quotes around “seriously overdue.” Are they being ironic, perhaps? Are they really not actually “seriously overdue”? That would be my guess, since as far as I’m concerned, no one ordered these things, so payment was never actually “due.” Note also the lack of any real threat. They know they can’t send a collection agent after Ruddy Ruddy since none of this stuff was ever requested. The best they can do is pout and say, “You’re mean, Ruddy Ruddy!” and not send any more free stuff. They can threaten, “Pay us or we’ll be sad.”

On the actual invoice itself:

PAYMENT NOW 2 MONTHS LATE. IS SOMETHING WRONG? IF SO, PLEASE WRITE THE PROBLEM ON THE BACK AND RETURN. IF NOTHING’S WRONG, PLEASE PAY NOW. IT’S IMPORTANT AND CRITICAL TO BOTH OF US. – PAULA MORGAN.

I do appreciate Paula Morgan’s concern. I really do. However, Paula’s unfortunately way off base here. Making a payment to these rascals isn’t important or critical to me at all. I note that the back of this notice has a different take on things:

“… we want you to know that your continuing satisfaction is very important to us. In fact, THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT!”

While I doubt my continuing satisfaction ought to be more important than any number of weighty matters during these troubled times, I can certainly appreciate such a refreshing and agreeable perspective. They just want me to be satisfied, and that trumps all other concerns. You know what really satisfies me? Not giving money to the Reader Service Center. And while me paying them is important and critical to them, by their own admission, it’s not as important as my continued satisfaction, which can only be ensured by my not paying them. So, by their own logic, I should not pay them.

Reader Service Center (clicking and whirring): Processing … Processing … processing … sterilize! Sterilize! Sterilize! (self-destruct)

Spock: Logic … flawless, impeccable logic.

Moving on to the next piece of mail, I notice right away that it’s curiously constructed upside-down. The flap is on the bottom, but the printing and the window are in the right place. Also, it’s addressed to “Mrs. Ruddy Ruddy”, marking not only the first time Ruddy Ruddy has ever actually been referred to by a feminine courtesy title, but also the exciting news that she’s a married woman! That would actually make sense, in a way. My last name is Lynn, and if I were to marry a woman named Lynn, she’d be named Lynn Lynn (but only if she were too traditional or too retarded to keep her maiden name).

Oh yeah, and it’s from the Chicken Farmers of Ontario. This ought to be good. Let’s go through this one line by line, shall we?

Hello!

Thank you for requesting our chicken recipes!

What? I did no such thing!

You are now an official Ontario Chicken Lover.

Finally, my amateur chicken-loving efforts have paid off with recognized, official standing! And hey, wouldn’t “Official Ontario Chicken Lover” make a great T-shirt? It’s nice and vaguely dirty-sounding. Of coure, one could pair the slogan with an image of that Spaniard who got crushed under a rock while sodomizing a chicken, and it would work that way too.

This means that as a club member, you will receive free of charge, our new Ontario Chicken Lover WING magazine, which will be published twice a year.

More mail is always nice. In fact, Issue #2 came enclosed in the envelope, and it’s good chicken-loving fun.

The magazine contains easy, nutritious family meals as well as entertaining fare and exclusive contests.

Along with thinly disguised ads for chicken, one suspects.

Your trust is extremely important to Chicken Farmers of Ontario and you should know that your name will not be sold or traded to any other company.

Of course not. Why would I suspect otherwise, liar?

In fact, the only way in which you may become an Ontario Chicken Lover and have our literature mailed to you is either by personal request or a friend or relative may send us your name!

Wow! You have to have a reference from a friend or relative? So it’s kind of like joining the Freemasons! Except that you can just request to join yourself, which they say that I did, although I didn’t.

I would love to hear any comments or suggestions that you may have for future issue, so please feel free to contact me at our office by fax, email or postal mail.

These folks are getting much more brazen, in that they invite me to wreak vengeance on them personally. Plus, they don’t use serial commas, and they wave that fact right in my face.

Buon Appetito!
Chicken Farmers of Ontario

Linda J. Glendenning
Consumer Relations & Food Consultant

Okay, “Glendenning” sounds Scottish, and I imagine most chicken famers in Ontario probably speak English, and depending on location, French. So where’s the Italian coming from? It doesn’t matter. We’ll be in touch and I look forward to a lengthy correspondence.



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