Upon observing several trays of catering being taken into the office’s largest boardroom this morning, interns Jamie Meir and Stephanie Love had staked-out the kitchen area, awaiting the leftovers soon to be considered “fair-game”.
Following the let-out of a noon meeting, the hungry hawk-eyed scavengers were reportedly seen descending quickly upon their prey.
As the clients and senior staff exited the boardroom chatting over their bottles of sparkling water, Meir and Love circled the partially-eaten plates, armed with empty plastic take-home containers.
After scoping out the full selection of free gourmet treats, Meir (the stronger of the two) swooped down on the mostly empty deli-tray of half-sandwiches, snapping up the last ham and cheese in his claws, leaving the wilted vegetarian options to his less aggressive hunter.
“As in nature,” explained Jennifer Stason of Human Resources, “it’s the survival of the fittest. When it comes to feeding, all must learn to adapt quickly, or suffer the taste of stale breads and pastries.”
Now pouncing on a picked-over fruit and dessert platter, the two foragers battled it out over the discarded remains of a large cookie, which upon closer inspection was disappointingly revealed to be riddled with raisins, and not the anticipated chocolate chips.
Their Tupperware now filled with enough muffins and bagels in varying states of decay to provide lunches for days to come, the vulture-like entry-level staff quickly depart from the scene, living to scrounge another day.
Boasted Love, pecking at the carcass of a questionable egg salad wrap, “This should tide me over until the next time the executives order too much sushi. Sometimes there’s even pizza!”
In a cavalier attempt at sounding humane, the agency looking to fill the summer internship also listed several ways in which the unpaid position offered “invaluable life experience”.
“Well technically all experience is life experience,” an insider at the agency (who wished to remain nameless) explained. “Especially the kind where you’re figuratively beaten into submission on a daily basis and expected to be grateful for it. You know, the kinds of skills that’ll take these kids far once they enter the real workforce.”
To divert the attention away from the fact that the position offers no other compensation than the alleged “free snacks”, the charitable agency made several references to the “open and fun atmosphere” of the office. Upon inspection of the premises, this was revealed to be two dusty beanbag chairs that sit neglected in an awkward corner next to a stack of outdated industry publications.
The three-paragraph posting went on to describe the ideal candidate as “a motivated team-player” with a “thirst for knowledge”.
“We’re looking for a real self-starter here.” said Human Resources manager Kelly Bagerman, “Someone with a can-do attitude who’s willing to go the extra mile for nothing more than a few measly pretzels and the occasional stale donut.”
Company head Roger Booth boasted the great opportunity as being a key launching point in these young people’s careers. “We even give all our slav-I mean interns a pre-written letter of recommendation upon completion of the 9-week laborious contract.” In a fit of humour, the altruistic humanitarian joked, “Really, they should be paying us!”
The position’s duties, which include loading paper trays on the printers and fetching office coffee orders, were conveniently absent from the posting.
It’s not looking good. The allegations against food are up in the thousands. Countless witnesses have come forward. They’ve testified against sugar, fat, carbs, and calories. The plaintiff’s claims range from acne to weight-gain, and everything in between.
The defamation plot began many years ago, when marketers realized they could profit from western culture’s growing narcissism. The inclination towards self-obsession and hunger for external validation that was spreading made targeting the insecure and weak-willed a simple 3-step matter.
1) Identify what people want.
2) Identify the fears that hold them back from attaining this.
3) Exploit the f#ck out of both.
The problem, in a way, was the lack of problems. An epidemic of too much time, and not enough real conflict or thought. For the first time, people were living in relative safety and comfort. There were no plagues, no world wars, no hardships to keep the population adequately distracted and focused on survival alone. Survival became a foreign concept; that wasn’t enough anymore. Why survive when you could THRIVE? Why just be okay, be average, be mediocre (the last two becoming synonymous) when there were others who were seemingly doing BETTER than you? The media was flooded with images of superstars, models, people who had it all. These idols we all must aspire to be. Suddenly good enough, just wasn’t good enough. What’s the point in living if you aren’t the best? If you aren’t envied by everyone for your wealth and beauty? Together we glorified these stars for their “perfect” bodies, tearing down any who fell from grace; gaining a pound or two – or, god-forbid, aging naturally. We branded this as weakness, as deterioration of their value and integrity.
What did they want? Well, what it all boiled down to was a basic need for acceptance (or rather, the illusion of love). Robbed of this, drawn into an endless cycle of comparison, competition, and ranking, people became determined to attain this unattainable and detrimental goal they never even knew they wanted, as a way to substitute what they were really missing: self-esteem and purpose. And there the marketers spotted the opportunity to cash in big time.
Cue the rise of the diet-industry. “Dieting” didn’t used to exist. Or rather, it didn’t mean the same thing. The word “diet” used to exist simply as a noun referring to the selection of food that a living species consumed for survival, before it became a verb meaning restrictive eating. People didn’t used to have that luxury, when they were just barely scraping by and food was a valuable commodity. There was a switch from not enough, to too much. Where people were starving, now they were eating for pleasure alone. Thus began the unhealthy worship of food, and thereby the need to control it. For after all, anything that can incite desire holds an innate power.
The diet-industry, smelling an opportunity to make money, began to tout products and lifestyles that would solve this perceived problem in the form of fad diets and buzzwords on packaged foods. The same way they idolized certain people and bodies, they demonized certain foods. First creating fear, then offering safety with their “healthy” alternatives. Suddenly, the market was saturated with mixed messages: fat is bad! No, wait, sugar is bad! Hold on, fat is good, eat nothing but fat. Now carbs are bad, don’t eat carbs. Count calories. Take vitamins. Take supplements. Eat this, not that. Eat that, not this. Listen. Despair. We are right, your body is wrong. Ignore it. Listen! We know best, trust us.
There was no escape. Of course, people still need to eat to survive. No escape. Mixed-messages everywhere. Confusion. What was once “good” is no longer good. Eggs? Awful, don’t eat them. Gluten? We don’t need no stinken’ gluten. Confusion. Shame, shame everywhere. Yet the promise of no shame. Heed! This product labelled “Guilt-free”! At last!
But wait, since when is eating a source of guilt? It’s something we do to survive. Sure, some foods are more nutritious than others, but in moderation, we shouldn’t feel bad about what we choose to put into our bodies. Even if we do over do it, there’s no use feeling guilty. The food didn’t murder anyone, did it? No, it’s harmless. But perpetuating this idea that some foods are evil and we should deprive ourselves simply because they are “naughty”, will only cause us to develop a toxic relationship with them. It’s the same with foods labeled “cheat foods”, as though you are committing adultery on your diet. What you eat isn’t a covenant like marriage…it’s just food. It’s not a life-long commitment; it will be digested and defecated out of your body within 48 hours (with the help of our good friend fibre). It’s a short-term relationship. Eat some chips or a cupcake? That’s a one-night stand. Except unlike one-night stands, you stand almost zero chance of picking up any weird diseases. Maybe you regret it afterwards when you feel a bit bloated, but in the moment you were like, “what the hell, it makes me feel good”. It’s nothing to feel guilty about, because again, and I cannot emphasize this enough: It’s. Just. Food.
Those low-fat-sugar-free wannabe-cookie-abominations you choked down whilst trying to convince yourself they tasted half as good as the real thing? They weren’t “guilt-free” like the packaging claimed, because get this: they weren’t guilty to begin with.
Have you ever been in a coffee shop or something and someone you don’t know asks you to watch their stuff while they run to the washroom?
I always love that they trust me, a stranger, to protect their expensive shit from other strangers. The logic here is that after sitting silently next to me for five minutes, I am more dependable than someone they’ve sat silently next to for zero minutes. Meanwhile, they’ve basically given me a timeline for their absence, so I know exactly how long I have to steal their laptop. I wonder if they also tell strangers when and how long they’ll be on vacation, for the duration of which they will be leaving their doors unlocked and their security system turned off.
When I leave my stuff alone, I don’t tell anyone anything. Am I going to the washroom? Number one or number two? Am I going to order another coffee? Am I going outside to take a lengthy phone call? They can’t know. That way, I could return at any moment and catch the thieving bastards. What I’m saying is, it’s important to maintain an air of mystery and also to never trust people, ever.
Also, I’m not really comfortable entering into this agreement with you, stranger. I didn’t come here to get tied down. This is not in my sitting-here-drinking-coffee job description. I will not sign any documents or abide to this social contract you are proposing. Does that make me afraid of commitment? Sure, maybe. But I’ve never seen anything wrong with rejecting commitment when it’s not mutually beneficial. I commit to my career based on the understanding that I am compensated through my salary. What am I getting out of this arrangement of being your bag guard? A warm sense of community?
Then again, if I said no to these proposals I wouldn’t have all these free laptops, would I?
It’s bad enough that your newsfeed is constantly being bombarded with endless photo albums of that girl you talked to once in high school’s newborn as everyone applauds its ability to blink and poop, now we have to see it on the news?
Instead, here are some “fun” factoids to wake your brain from the Duchess doldrums.
1. It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
How crazy is that? This means, even if pigs could fly, they wouldn’t be able to watch each other. Sad. Why are we wasting our time caring about the birth of some infant who doesn’t even have the new iPhone, when we could be building some sort of system of mirrors for pigs to correct this injustice?
2. A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.
What? First of all, how many ducks are ever in a position where they would even encounter a possibility of an echo? Are cave-ducks a thing I didn’t know about? Secondly, why are we not studying this phenomenon deeper? Get some scientists on that STAT.
3. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.
This is why we have earwax, fortunately. It secretes out of your ear canal to flush out harmful bacteria, similarly to how your snot works. Fun stuff, no? Your ears are smart and self-cleaning, so be careful not to push that Q-Tip in too far or you could very well puncture your eardrum, dummy.
4. Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different.
I’m not sure why this is particularly important or useful information, but it’s worth noting, in case you are ever involved in detecting a series of tongue-related crimes.
5. On average, half of all false teeth have some form of radioactivity.
This is great to know, as it may account for grandpa’s strange behaviour, and give you a credible excuse not to kiss him this Christmas. It’s also the reason why old people glow in the dark. Does the Royal Baby have radioactive teeth? No. She doesn’t even have teeth yet.
6. Every year about 98% of atoms in your body are replaced.
This means, in theory, every year you become almost a completely different person. Which is nice, because most of us are probably kind of dicks to begin with, so we could definitely use a refresh. This is always my New Years resolution, so it’s nice to know that my body is taking care of it so that I can focus on more important things to me, like perfecting my text-ignoring skills.
7. The porpoise is second to man as the most intelligent animal on the planet.
You hear that, dolphins? Nobody is impressed with your fancy jumping skills. Porpoises deserve some credit, the same way your ugly cousin deserves some recognition for getting first place in the science fair. They may not be as glamorous, but at least they don’t need someone to change their diapers. That’s why I have a porpoise tattooed on my ankle, with the caption “believe”. That, and I was really drunk.
8. The lifespan of a squirrel is about nine years.
I’ve lived over two squirrel lifetimes. Isn’t that something? Certainly more interesting than a woman at the peak of her fertility fulfilling her genetic obligation.
9. A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top.
I can’t confirm this, because I would never buy raisins (or as I call them, fruit jerky), but if you drink enough champagne you can pretend to be interested in the announcement of another addition to one of the millions of infants that are born every day.
10. On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.
So let’s all agree that, while it’s great for Kate Middleton to be making a family, we can’t even be entirely sure that this kid IS hers, so maybe we should focus on more important things. Like designing a pair of less disgusting headphones.
Never Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Can Put Off Until the Day After Tomorrow
‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’
– Douglas Adams
Procrastination, or the act of putting off or delaying something until a later date, gets a bad rap.
Your teachers in high school lectured you endlessly about the importance of developing “good work habits”, and for the most part, they were right. Ignoring a task completely can reap dire consequences when the time comes to present your accomplishments and you have nothing to show for it. However, putting pressure on yourself to be productive can have the opposite outcome as intended. In fact, sometimes putting off your task until later and doing something else can be a more valuable use of your time! We’ve all experienced it: the dreaded blank white screen or paper. Maybe you have writer’s block, or just aren’t feeling creative. Maybe you’re too occupied with other thoughts and can’t concentrate right now. Maybe the task seems so daunting you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. We’ve been trained to see these hesitations as obstacles to overcome, when in actuality, sometimes it is better to surrender to your inner slacker.
Don’t force it, dummy.
When you spend too much time trying to force yourself to create, you’re not doing your brain any favours. It’s healthier physically and psychologically to indulge in that downtime when you need it, rather than be constantly pushing yourself to do things that your heart just isn’t in. In other words, if you don’t feel like it, that could be a good indicator that you shouldn’t! Right now, at least.
Put it on the back burner, baby.
Don’t underestimate how much you are actually getting accomplished while you are taking some much deserved time off. From a creative standpoint, some of your best brainstorming is actually being done without your knowledge. You know those “aha!” light bulb moments? A lot of that happens because your subconscious is busy at work organizing facts and making connections. Do some of your best ideas occur to you during your morning run or shower? That “laziness” or downtime is similar to the rest and rejuvenation your brain soaks up during sleep every night (and also during what we like to call “power naps”). Where do you think the expression “sleep on it” came from? Just wait it out, and eventually inspiration will likely strike.
Space: the Final Frontier.
Putting a half-formed idea on your mental backburner gives you time to process and gain perspective that you might otherwise overlook. Avoiding a problem for a little while may give you the distance you need to come back with a fresh outlook and a solution that you never would have come up with before. It’s important to take this time and space when needed, lest you lose sight of what you are actually trying to accomplish. If you stare too close at a painting for too long, your view will be blurry…sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to see the big picture.
It’s the reason so many ground-breaking creative projects come together at the last minute, and why sometimes your boss will give you the most important and creatively charged task last (much to your displeasure, I’m sure). But there is reasoning behind this, and it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. How often are you given a new task with a generous work back schedule, and promptly lose it under a stack of more urgent or just more interesting papers? Or, the keener of us who start early on a project will often find at the end that much of their work was thrown away. Giving yourself or your team more leeway than is really needed will almost always result in squandered time that expands to fill the amount of time allotted it. On the other hand, if you wait until the last minute to complete a task, you are forced to focus and hone in on the crucial, most important parts of the project. Priorities, priorities! Though the stress may be slightly unpleasant, working under pressure can jolt your mind and body into overdrive, creating a machine of a person that works at peak efficiency.
Take it from an expert in procrastination and laziness herself; it really works! However, take this advice with a grain of salt; constant procrastination is not a sustainable way of living and will eventually catch up with you. When it comes down to day-to-day living, proper planning and good time management are good skills to practice, if you want to reduce a stress-induced hernia from one too many panic fuelled overnighters.