A few years ago, my workplace sent out a memo reading something like:
“We will have a secret visitor on Monday. For security purposes we cannot disclose their identity, but we ask that you please make sure your area is clean and that you dress appropriately for our guest.”
I immediately jotted this information down in my special notebook of things I don’t give a shit about:
However, most of the company began to lose their minds at the thought of who it could be. You could hear so much heavy whispering, it sounded like bitches were casting spells-n-shiz. They couldn’t handle the secrecy. “Who is it? Who can we ask? How can we find out? Who do you think it is?” And so on, and so on.
I became inspired from all of the buzz. I quickly enlisted the help of my cubical neighbor – a crazy 3d developer named Stephen. We both worked in the graphics department, which they keep very dark to minimize the glare on our monitors. This cloak of darkness was the perfect setting for my ninja-like hijinks. First, we began sneaking into any unoccupied cubicles and loudly “whispering” conversations on the phone with no one. The script was loose, but it went something like this:
Whispers: Hello? Yeah, so I totally found out who ‘YOU-KNOW-WHO’ is going to be… *pauses to provide dramatic emphasis for the surrounding ears*
Well, if I tell you… you can’t tell a soul, promise? I could get in trouble, okay? Promise? Okay. It’s… Prince… like the musician. *Pauses* I know I’m totally excited. I love his music too… okay I gotta go!
Amid our cubical tour, Stephen and I would take detours into the common areas and just start a conversation like: “OMG did you guys hear who the visitor is?! *looks both ways to make sure no one is coming as if we are about to reveal top-secret info* It’s totally Gary Coleman.”
(Please forgive me, Gary Coleman was alive and well when this happened. I even met him later in the same year, oddly enough. Along with the twin brothers from Harry Potter and The Fonz. If you want to know what magical setting facilitated meeting all of those people at the same time – it was in the butt crease of carnivals known as the Central Florida Fair – which took place in a farty dirt patch somewhere near downtown.)
Please pretend this is a tribute photo of poor lil Gary C.:
Anyhow, people would immediately say:
“Really? Why the hell would Gary Coleman be coming here?”
To which Stephen quickly responded “I think cause the owner is a fan or something and Coleman is coming to town because he’s starring in Mr. Bojangles, so he’s doing a tour of the joint for us to make him some posters.”
(Please note, at this time the company really only created government simulators and training for the military type graphics, not posters for former child-stars.)
“What’s Mr. Bojangles?”
“Dude, get out from under your rock- it’s only one of the most successful touring shows ever, it’s got dancing and passion and great music.”
“Really? Gary Coleman is a dancer? I didn’t know that.”
“Oh yeah, he’s like a classically trained ball room dancer or something. That’s how they found him for Different Strokes, actually, at a dancing thing.”
“Wow. I totally didn’t know that…”
It was a short time later we could hear people conducting friendly whisper arguments about how one side knows it was going to be Prince while others heard it was Gary Coleman.
When anyone asked what I was going to wear for the event I said, “I totally have a purple crushed-velvet outfit – I’m wearing it just in case, cause it’s a 50% chance that it’s Prince!”
Needless to say, Stephen and I ended up staying late to finish the work that we had neglected during our shenanigans campaign trail. One of the executives approached us when he saw we were still at our desks…
“Yeah, since it’s officially after hours, and so that you dress appropriately on Monday, I just wanted you guys to know that the governor is our visitor. Please keep this information to yourselves. I am telling anyone that’s here because, for some reason I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Gary Coleman and Prince, and I just don’t want anyone showing up with their collectable Arnold action figures or Prince albums.”
Stephen and I began to giggle. To which the department head, Rob, said “What’s funny?”
“Well, they kinda maybe might have gotten that idea from us.” We disclosed our full story to Rob. By the end he was laughing so hard that he literally slapped his knee. He seemed most amused at the made up Mr. Bojangles the musical part.
Monday came, and the governor (Jeb Bush, who may or may not be part Cyclopes) showed up. Meh. He was tall as shiz. I think he was nice, but there was a camera rolling the whole time, so I can’t be 100% certain. I could totally spot who was a Republican that day though, because they were all rocking Jeb Bush boners.
There were a few people in our department that actually felt a little let down that Prince and Coleman were a no-show. I wonder if the governor picked up that vibe off of anyone. Most of our victims were highly amused, and approached us like “I thought it was odd, but I totally fell for it. Is the Bojangles thing happening?”
A side note worth mentioning: that same day, a dude got in trouble for having porn-like material on his monitor during the governor’s visit. True. Story.