Posts Tagged ‘Don Draper’

When Twitter first made an appearance, I thought:  “big deal.  You can only write 140 characters.  It is even possible to say anything meaningful in such a short space?”

Apparently, given the popularity of this social networking tool – it is.  Having such a tiny space in which to share stuff has provoked a lot of creativity.   I’ve subscribed to a lot of humor writers, both professional and hobbyist, and when there’s not enough time to read a chapter in a book, I’ll flip over to Twitter to read the latest stuff. 

The latest craze on Twitter:  people who have portrayed themselves as TV show characters, all interacting with each other.  Notably, the series “Mad Men” and “True Blood”.   So satisfying to see that they’ve actually managed to stay true to their characters too.   “Mad Men” of course is a little more grown up than “True Blood” but both shows are entertaining.  And this open character interaction on Twitter makes it seem as though another episode is playing, right before your eyes.

The best part is that you as a regular Tweeter (Twitterer?) can interact with them, sometimes with unexpected results.

The irony of characters from the early 1960’s using 2008-2010 technology to talk with each other doesn’t escape anyone either.  Still, they manage to stay true, and it’s as if they’re actually talking with each other over the phone, and not via the computer.

Take this one exchange, between myself and one of the Mad Men characters, named Rebecca Pryce (played by that gorgeous  actress Embeth Davidtz):

Rebecca_Pryce:  “Oh, sometimes I loathe dining all by myself. But I shan’t indulge on self-pity.”
– via Twitter for BlackBerry®

(Noticing that she had posted it from her Blackberry, I thought it would be neat to note it, without noting it.  By pretending she was talking about the fruit, not the messaging device)

Wolfshades:  “@Rebecca_Pryce I love how you say ‘shan’t’.  Noticed the ‘Blackberry’ thing too.  Aren’t they delicious?”

Rebecca_Pryce: “@wolfshades God, yes. And terribly practical to boot! With this handheld thingy I can be connected anywhere! Even the tube! It’s fabulous!”

——————-

And so just like any good improv sketch, she turned something I intended into something completely different.  A grown man saying that any kind of electronic device was “delicious” …..well you know how it goes.  Don Draper would have surmised that I was “light in the loafers”, probably.

Still, it was hard not to laugh.   

There is one character on Mad Men who is just as funny on the show as her fan-created character is on Twitter (or vice versa).  She’s a crusty old broad, Miss Blankenship – known as MissB_SCDP on Twitter –  who is very set in her ways.  Although she works for Don Draper, it’s hard to tell who’s the alpha in that relationship.   I’m frankly at a loss to describe her.  She seems to defy explanation.  She’s abrupt, completely oblivious to subtle nuances (I don’t even think she knows the meaning of the word “subtle”) and is likely to blurt out your worst secret to the entire staff.  Innocently, of course (or is it?).

You can lose yourself for hours, visiting all of these tweets.   Twitter turned out to be much more entertaining than I thought it could ever be.  It helps too that you can put in web page links to your posts – thereby cheating the 140 character rule.

And then there’s Facebook.  And its necessary companions:  Failblog (http://failblog.org) and Failbooking (http://failbooking.com).  The latter contains posts that were made on Facebook that probably should have been set to “private” – or better yet, not posted at all.  Failblog contains photos that portray life failures.  Today, I posted a couple of these to my Facebook account:

Now I ask you:  is this the work of a zealous but incompetent store owner?  Or is the final act of a desperately bitter clerk, on the last day of his job?

And then there’s this one.   I looked at it at first in horror.   Then I realized what the intent was, and couldn’t help thinking about how absolutely stunning a failure it was.   For those who care: it’s a dental aid, designed to assist children in understanding how their teeth work, and what it takes to keep them healthy.

I’d like to congratulate any child who would not run away, screaming its fool head off after seeing this one.

(P.S. Credit where credit is due:  both pics are hosted at http://failblog.com – as you no doubt guessed from the caption in the bottom left corner of each pic.  You should read some of the reactions there too)

Both sites are listed in my “Funny” blogroll list to the right.   Be warned: they can suck away all of your spare time if you aren’t careful.

Panic in Paradise

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

After sauntering into work and hunkering down in the cube farm that I call “life at the office”, I fired up my email and cherry-picked what I thought would be the more urgent emails to read first.

Including this one (paraphrased):

“I know you meant the best here, but someone dropped the ball and that device should have been sent to a different department, not back to the vendor.  And now we are behind for about a month because of it.  Maybe our two groups should meet to talk about best practices?”

I sat back.

Read it again.

Sat back again.

I didn’t need to see my neck to know that it was glowing a subtle shade of red.  I could feel it.

Ever have one of those times when you’re so angry you don’t know what to do?   When you know that if you say anything it’ll be wrong, mostly because there is *so* much you want to say, all of it equally important, that it will get lost by the time you utter the words?  Where you know that the nothing would frustrate you more – not even the slight to which you intend to respond – than not saying exactly what you mean to say?

That’s the time when it’s best just to hang back, and let that little piece of heaven that the guy left for you in the offensive email just percolate a bit longer.  Let it steep in your gut, until there’s a sense that you want, need to expel it.

Some will read that quote up there and not understand the offence that was given.  That’s understood.   In today’s world, the political man will not out-and-out call you a dumb fucker.  Not like Don Draper would anyway.

He’ll find a way to say it with subtlety and style.  He’ll say it in such a way that you and he both know he said it, but the words he has chosen won’t allow you to grab hold of it.  You in effect have no visible proof that he said anything even remotely offensive.

That’s what this was.  What’s more, he cc’ed the rest of the world on it too.  He didn’t want just me to know I was a dumb fucker – he wanted everyone else to know it too.

One of the guys who works for me saw it, and he knew exactly what it meant, and he called me.

“You know – I went back to his original email.  What he said wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right.”

“Yeah, I know.” I replied. “I was going to respond to his email but it probably would have been a mistake.  I need to cool down a bit first, at least, before replying.  Nothing worse than inarticulate rage.”

“I agree.  Anyway I just wanted you to know what I thought.”

“Thanks – I appreciate it.”

***************

The day went on, and I forgot about it.  Or thought I did.  There was other work to do.  And besides, sometimes when someone sends an idiotic note to you in anger, the best thing you can do, the thing that will drive them around the bend, is to fail to respond.

My brother used an even better method:  when someone sent him a hateful email, he replied back but didn’t say anything.  It looked as if he wrote it, erased it, *MEANT* to write something but forgot, and just hit “send”.

The person replied back, wondering what he meant to say, and he again replied with an empty response.

He did this several times, while his correspondent became livid with rage.

I loved it.   There’s a reason I admire my little bro.

Eventually the end of the day came, and it was time to leave.  I took a last trip to the washroom (bringing my iPad with me, because you can’t leave that thing just lying around anywhere).

Then I came back, packed up my stuff, and started to walk to the elevator.

Then I realized that my subconsciousness had been working all day on a reply to him.  I wasn’t aware until it all came together.

So I rushed back to my desk and started to write it out.  It felt good.  It was subtle but the message was quite clear:  “you need to get your head out of your ass, buddy.”

And as I sat there, trying to find the perfect way to end the email, a thought dawned on me:  I couldn’t remember bringing the iPad back from the washroom.

I jumped out of my chair and ran all the way down the hall to the washroom.  As soon as I opened the door, I knew it was too late.  The floor had been washed.   That meant the cleaner had been in.  And sure enough – my iPad wasn’t there.

I saw another cleaner (one who empties the garbage, but doesn’t wash any floors) and I asked her if she had seen him.   She could hardly speak a word of English.  I don’t know what she said but I raised my voice a little and spoke slower (why do people always do that?  They’re not deaf, and English is still English no matter hooooowwww slllloooooowww youuuuuu  gooooooo).

She shrugged and pointed up.

“Oh – he’s washing the upstairs washroom floor?”

She nodded, still pointing.

I wasted no time.  Instead of waiting for the elevator, I ran up a flight of stairs.  Breathlessly, I opened the bathroom door.   The floor was dry.  He hadn’t been there yet.  Which meant he was still on his way.   There was time.

There was also another washroom on the same floor but at the other end of the building.

I ran.

Sweat trickling down my shirt, I slammed open the bathroom door.  The floor was dry.  He hadn’t made it to this floor yet.   Maybe he was on the original floor but at the opposite end of the building from the original washroom I’d been in.

I barreled down the steps and, got to the washroom and…..there he was.

He smiled at me, in a completely unEnglish-speaking way.  (I knew it, as soon as I looked at him).

I gasped and wheezed, trying to get my breath back.  “Did you clean the other washroom?”

He looked at me, puzzled.

“Other washroom?  Clean”  (Dear God, did he know ANY English words?)

“Oh jes!”  He nodded, grinning.

“Did you see my iPad?”

He cocked his head sideways and just stared at me.  He seemed interested.

“iPad.   You know – iPad?”

The puzzled look remained.

Suddenly I had a thought.  I reached into my pocket and pulled out my iPhone.  “it looks like this – only four times bigger”

Puzzled look.  Then, he shook his head “no”.

I gave up and walked back to my desk.  I’d already decided to remotely wipe the now-stolen iPad clean of all files.  (Yes, there’s an app for that, and it exists on my iPhone)

I sat at my desk and looked over at the bag I was carrying when I had first decided to go home.

There it was.  The iPad was in the bag the whole time.  I had panicked for nothing.

It’s a focus problem, you see.  In that, I don’t appear to have it.

September 21 is the date I’ll get the final evaluation; the date they’ll tell me whether I have ADD or am just plain scatter-brained.

But at least I still had my iPad.

Suddenly, that offensive note didn’t seem like such a big deal.  If I had sent that note and gotten emotional catharsis out of it but lost the iPad, it would have sucked badly.

I shut the computer off and went home.