If a visitor comes into the building where I work they are required to be escorted by an employee who trails them everywhere and makes sure that they are not stealing anything. Babysitting visitors is a boring thankless job that everybody hates doing; a job that I had no idea even existed until a few weeks ago when I was sitting in my cubicle doing productive work and the receptionist gave me a call. She told me that there is a technician who I needed to escort to the server room. She said that usually this job is performed by one of the guys that actually works in the server room, but since none of them were in the office, I was the person she called. I went up to the front of the building and I walked the visitor back into the server room and asked him, “Is this all that I have to do?”
“Yeah, they usually leave me alone in here,” said the technician as he began typing away at one of the laptops.
Figuring that my job was done, I went back to my cubicle and continued my work. There I sat, feeling uneasy, debating with myself and wondering if I did the right thing. After a few minutes of listening to that stupid little voice pester me about leaving a visitor alone in the server room I decided to call my boss and ask him if what I did was okay. He told me that I needed to be in there with the technician until someone else gets there. I went back to the cold noisy server room and for over an hour had absolutely nothing to do but sit and stare. Each second slowly ticked away as if it lasted a lifetime. If I was being tortured like this, I would have confessed anything after about five minutes. I'm weak. I admit it.
After the agony of sitting in the server room finally ended, I made an oath to myself to never again answer the phone when the receptionist calls. It only took a few days for me to break this oath. I get phone calls so seldom that I can't help but be curious about why someone would call. I made a point of it, however, to reveal to her that I had planned to never answer the phone again when she called and that I had just broken that very pledge. I figured she would appreciate the gesture; that even after anguish I suffered in that server room, I was still willing to answer her phone calls.
The actual result was quite the opposite of what I had anticipated. I seem to have encouraged, rather than discouraged this sinister sort of behavior. Last week we had a demonstration of the spiffy new conference room gizmos. Before the conference started, the receptionist walked up to me with a big smile and asked if I can do her a favor. You should never agree to do a favor when someone asks if you can do them a favor. You must wait until the actual favor is revealed, or else you will surely pay. I, unfortunately, broke this rule of life and agreed to do the favor during the favor set-up.
After I agreed, she told me the favor, which was to babysit the guys giving the demonstration afterwards and then escort them out of the building. I had been had, hoodwinked, bamboozled. The receptionist walked out of the room a person unreservedly proud of herself, taking each step with a cadence of victory.
Thankfully, a friend stayed with me afterwards and alleviated the certain boredom that would have ensued. But the damage was done. A man can only take so much abuse before vengeance must take place. I gave her a warning shot across the bow and said, “You will pay for this day.” She scoffed and pretended to not hear me from the other side of the bulletproof glass—which is oddly surrounded by walls that are very unbulletproof. Hence, I give you Operation Superchicken.
The primary objective of Operation Superchicken was to place a Superchicken antenna topper on the mark's car antenna; the mark in this case being the receptionist. Just for clarification, Superchicken is actually Whataguy, the mascot for Whataburger. I had actually planned this operation to occur last week, but it was temporarily delayed since my cohort and I had already conducted an Operation Superchicken the day before the infamous conference room incident. In the previous operation we had put Superchicken on our boss' car. I was going to grab it off his car the next morning, but by that time he had already discovered the caped poultry and liked it so much that he took it prisoner. My boss now holds it captive on his dashboard. As a result, the initial objective of Operation Superchicken was to, in fact, secure another Superchicken antenna topper.
I have never eaten at a Whataburger before. I barely know what in the hell one is, much less where I can find one. After a few days of lackluster searching, I had given up hope and began to devise other ways to avenge the conference room incident. That was until my wife and I made our way up to Gainesville last weekend. We were driving along Newberry Road and passed a Whataburger when I saw him: The Superchicken.
Superchicken takes out a speed limit sign and nearly destroys a passing minivan
There he was in all his glory, waving to passersby, flexing his wings, pummeling speed limit signs, and looking rather bored the rest of the time. There was also a bright orange tent outside the fast-food joint so some promotional event must be occurring. My wife said that if I ever wanted to find another Superchicken, now is the time. After pondering the absurdity of this statement and wondering what my life had become, I decided that she was of course correct and went back to the Whataburger.
Superchicken is now bored with his lot in life
I went into the orange tent and asked the man where I could get an antenna topper. After filling out a contest entry for God knows what, and spinning some wheel in which I won a free hamburger, the man finally revealed to me that all I had to do was go in and ask. They would be happy to give me all the antenna toppers I wanted. Like a complete fool, I went inside ready to ask for my prized Superchicken antenna topper. I felt guilty about going in and not ordering so I placed an order for chicken strips and a soda even though I had just gorged myself on Chipotle guacamole not 30 minutes beforehand.
After I placed the order, I asked if I could have an antenna topper. The cashier looked at me as if I was the dumbest primate to ever walk upright in the history of the planet. She had no freakin' clue what I was talking about. Sensing that my mission was about to result in complete failure and that I had wasted $5 on chicken strips I had no intention of eating, I tried to explain to her exactly what the much sought after Superchicken actually was. I truly believe she was frightened of me, a grown man, giddily asking for a little plastic Whatachick'n that I'm sure she assumed was destined to top the antenna of my own car. She quickly raced back to find a manager to deal with me. I'm not entirely sure, but I could have sworn I saw her mouth the words, “Don't make eye contact. He's crazy.” The manager asked me what I was looking for. I again described the Superchicken antenna topper and the manager realized that they had actually had a bucket full of them and they were trying to get rid of them. With a nervous laugh, she said to take all that I want. So, I took six and went on my merry way.
This morning I gleefully revealed my haul from Whataburger to my fellow programmers. Now that we had secured more Superchickens, our next objective was to figure what which car belonged to the receptionist. For this objective, I employed a friend who specializes in surveillance, reconnaissance, and intelligence gathering operations—he's a good eavesdropper. He volunteered to strike up a conversation about one of the cars in the parking lot with the guy who sits next to the receptionist and segue into a discussion with the receptionist about her car. The conversation did not work out as planned, so my friend just flat out asked her what kind of car she had. Sloppy, leaves a trail back to us, but the objective was achieved nonetheless. We decided to head outside and deploy the Superchicken on her antenna around 1400 hours.
Superchicken antenna topper at pre-deployment
The time for action had arrived and we walked outside only to be met by a monsoon. It would continue raining for another hour before we had another chance to head to the parking lot. We made our way to the parking lot and located her car. I went to set the Superchicken on her antenna only to realize that the antenna was about as thick as a marker. The hole in Superchicken was only big enough for thin car antennas. We went back inside the office defeated. We regaled our tale of woe to a co-worker who happens to carry a knife. He then volunteered to gut Superchicken with his blade to make the hole wider. We went back outside and finally deployed Superchicken on the car antenna.
A successful Operation Superchicken
A closer view
Now, we wait and see how long it takes the mark to realize what lies upon her car antenna. I'll follow this story with an epilogue detailing the reaction. Will she put the pieces of the puzzle together and curse us out (our reaction of choice) or will we have to hint a reaction out of her? Tune in next time.