The Hess Report


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Black is White and White is Black 

I've been having a really bad week at work. Not the usual kind of bad where everyone else sucks and management is clueless and no one wants to take responsibility for anything. Nope. It's a very different and new kind of bad for me.

This week, I suck.

I've made the same stupid mistake several times and missed a number of other things that I normally catch. Fortunately, the goodwill I've built up amongst my coworkers with my sparking conversational charisma has let them care enough to catch my gaffes before they turn into disasters. Thank goodness. But I can't figure out why it's happening. I'm not unusually tired or distracted. It seems that I just plain suck.

And it may be spreading.

At first it was confined to a certain aspect of the accounts I usually work with. But this morning, it metastasized to the procurement of coffee. Our plant has a coffee machine. You feed it $0.25 (or $0.35 if you want the BIG CUP), push a couple of buttons, and it gives you something that is sort of like coffee. It claims it can make cappuccino as well, but I tried it once, and I think they just put 3-in-1 oil in that part of the machine. So I popped in my $0.35, pushed the "extra strong" button, pushed the "12 oz." button, then pushed the "Make coffee" button. The machine kicked out a dime and started to pour the coffee.

What? Oh crap. I said I pushed the "12 oz." button, but apparently I hadn't. The display on the machine (it's genius!) shows two digits and some other little symbols to indicate what kind of coffee you're going to get. 12 oz. regular extra strong is indicated by two specific numerals and a "+". My brain saw the ".35" for how much money I had put in and told my hands: "Hey hands! There're two numerals on the display! You must have hit twelve ounce already! Back off, dude. You're done!" If you don't hit the "12 oz." button, the machine defaults to "8 oz.".

After you've hit "Make Coffee", there's no way to undo it, and I didn't even have another fifteen cents for another small cup. I had a penny, but we all know that pennies suck, unless you're three years old. So I was stuck with my measly 8 oz. cup of crap coffee. Time to add creamer. Yeah, it's the powdered stuff. But if I want to drink the cheap coffee, I have to use it to cut the acidity, or it'll burn a whole straight through my abdominal wall just like the nasty saliva in Alien.

I pour a little and mix it. It doesn't change the coffee's color.

Hmm. Pour some more in. Stir. Still no change. WTF?

I dump in a whole pile, just as I notice that the substance I'm putting my coffee is crystalline, not powdery. Sugar. I'm not a big fan of coffee drinks that taste like lollipops, so I was less than thrilled with this development. Sullen, I put the sugar carton back down and picked up the creamer. I double-checked to make sure I wasn't about to pour crystal Drano into my cup. The label said "Creamer" pretty clearly, so I poured and stirred, and it worked. I walked back through shop, looking forward to drinking the syrupy, puny fruit of my suckitude.

Yeah, it's spreading. What will I do next? Drive on the wrong side of the road going into one of the many local tunnels? Accidentally walk into a mosque and slander both Allah and Mohammed? Yikes. If you see me coming, walk on the other side of the street. I won't be offended. Seriously, it's for your own good.

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