It’s official: I am now Milton Waddams.
"Did you try rebooting the computer?"
After careful evaluation of my situation, it was obvious.
1) My office is in the basement.
There are windows in the classroom outside my office, but I can’t see out of them and sunlight doesn’t reach me. I have air conditioning, but from time to time the condensation drain backs up and blows chunks all over my desk (even now I have fine black grit all over my desk from the last eruption). My server equipment is so loud, I can’t hear what’s happening outside my office, including the fire and tornado alarms. And yes, I’ve been left in here during at least two drills. My office tile is asbestos, and the wheels in my chairs keep wearing them down.
2) I just took a pay cut.
Now that the insurance company, the great state of Illinois, and the local county government are all done playing their games, I’m down $80 a month. However, given I’ve been told I’m replaceable and I’m lucky I have a job, I guess I should be thankful somebody hasn’t fixed the glitch that keeps printing me a paycheck.
3) My comfy chair is my red Swingline stapler.
My old hand-me-down chair from a secretary is coming apart, so yesterday I picked up a new one.
"Fetch... the comfy chair!"
I got it on sale and used a merchandise card for a store the school wouldn’t otherwise shop at. I spent less money on it than I would a toner cartridge for a teacher’s desktop printer. It’s not the most comfortable chair ever, but it’s got nice lumbar support and a thick seat cushion.
And if somebody takes it away from me, I just may have to [redacted in case some idiot takes me seriously].
4) I get hosed on food.
Remember when Milton didn’t get any birthday cake? At least they told him there was cake to be had. I work in three different buildings and sometimes don’t find out until after the fact that food has been brought in for some event or another.
The best, though, was when I got hosed on teacher appreciation day last year. Every year in the Spring the home ec class takes teachers’ orders for a lunch consisting of a sandwich, chips, candy, dessert, and drink. They make a big production of it, and the teachers are brought in and generally treated to a nice lunch. They generally take care of me, too.
Until last year. While everyone else was raving about their fresh sandwiches, I got a random sandwich pulled off the shelf at the local IGA (and it wasn’t even what I ordered). Instead of the chips I asked for, I got half a greasy Ziploc bag of whatever the student had at home. I think I got a candy bar, but no dessert, and the teacher had to go down to the vending machine and buy me an apple juice because I didn’t get a drink. Meanwhile the teachers around me have bags of chips, chocolate pies, cheesecake, sundaes, and even goldfish. I’m not talking Goldfish Crackers, I mean live goldfish swimming around in little cups or bowls, which the teachers could then take back to their desks.
And while everyone else had theirs served up in gift bags, wire baskets, and even with bouquets of flowers, mine was laid out on a square of paper towel. While my co-workers got treated to the Ritz, I was handed the roach coach special.
In other words, I got hosed.
So yeah, Milton. Guess I better start changing my byline.
Observe my awesome PhotoShop skills.
About Mike Oliveri
Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. His Bram Stoker Award-winning first novel, Deadliest of the Species, was just reprinted by Evileye Books.