Thursday, November 3, 2011

A User’s Guide …

A User’s Guide  to interpersonal etiquette
at the Natural Zoography Administration:

Deutsch gefasst:


[Excerpts from the recently declassified official intake manual, Howdy to Newbies, chapter “Your First Day on the Job”.]

Welcome to the Natural Zoography Administration -- or, as we like to call it, “Z” Group!

Your very first impression as you enter the main building, will be the apparent plethora of Large Moving Objects;  there is the alarming possibility that, on closer inspection (not recommended), these might prove to be People.
This is not the place to rehash the vexed question of the Existence of Other Minds (naturally, we favor the negative, and are writing this purely for our own amusement):  suffice it to say that you will never have to deal with these creatures, whatever they may be, once you are safely ensconced at your workstation crunching numbers.  The whole problem lies in getting there -- running the gauntlet of Meatspace.  And the most trying passage of this ordeal  is your ride up the elevator to your floor (or down, if you work in one of the many sub-basements, which in your case is more than likely).  Here you will be trapped in an airless confined space, with no escape, packed in with alien and threatening beings who are probably ogling your personal deficiencies in sneering detail.
Here’s some advice from an old hand:  This is a great time to scrutinize the tips of your shoes !  These are endlessly fascinating, manifesting such qualities as form, hardness, and hue -- to name just a few.   You will spend many happy hours over the course of your lifelong career here at “Z”, becoming ever more deeply acquainted with these faithful fast companions.  They will become your best friends, more than making up for the absence of real ones.
How like a screen-saver are they  in their infinite variety !   Each day they are a little different.  See how that piece of gray lint  clings to the very tip of one !  And there -- behold -- a bit to the side, some dust-motes have clumped.   Count how many of these objects you find, on each foot.  Subtract the leftmost number from the number on the right.  Now do the reverse.  Notice how  collectively  they form a pattern.  That pattern may be meaningful.  Study it further, taking mental notes.  That pattern is trying to tell you something.  Something essential.  Something you desperately need to know.  Some formula that will protect you against those who mean to do you harm.   Aliens surrounding you right here in the elevator, beaming you with evil eye-waves.
Such reflections should smoothly get you through the ride.   [Note:  It is not intended that, thus absorbed, you should continue to stare at your shoe-tips as the elevator goes up, then down, then up, then back, all day long  till the sun sets in the west.]


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