8/24/01: You know, Iím willing to bet that thereís not a whole lot of people out there who donít enjoy a good turkey sandwich.

Like, if you had to order sandwiches for a bunch of people, Iíd bet you $5.00 that nobody would complain that they got a turkey sandwich. If you got roast beef, well, someone might not eat red meat. If you got ham, some folks might be unhappy because itís not kosher. But how many people do you know who say, "Oh Iím sorry, I donít eat fowl." Unless they have some freakish allergy to bird meat, they should be happy with a turkey sandwich. Granted, the condiments would need to be served on the side, because people do seem to be pretty passionate about their stance on the mustard vs. mayo debate.

"Bird meat." That is probably one of the funniest things Iíve ever typed in my life.



So this morning, a few people (including myself) had a meeting in the office of the President of my company, Mark. (Mark is the name of the President, not the company.) This was the first time Iíd ever been in his office. His office is what I would expect a company presidentís office to look like (think movies): a beautiful wood desk, paintings of his family, mini-bar, comfy chairs, books everywhere, curtains on the windows; you know, faux-homey (which is my rapper name).

Connected to his office is his very own meeting room (see diagram), which has a cherry wood conference room table that is 1% too big for the room. It fits, but it makes navigation around the table a little snug. Circumnavigating the table while other people are seated at the table is awkward and obvious. The meeting room also features beautiful woodwork, plaques of recognition, matted and framed newspaper clippings, as well as fine cabinetry that boasts a coffee service and places to store papers and food/beverage service items. Itís almost a pharaohís tomb; if the world exploded and Mark were forced to live in his office/conference room, heíd be fine for years (albeit pretty caffeinated).

On the center of the conference room table is a lovely basket with a sumptuous assortment of Italian pastries, Stella DíOro Breakfast Treats, mini-muffins, etc. Since this meeting was at 10:00am however, the attendees had already consumed their morning doughnut and coffee, so nobody was eager to pick at the munchies on the table or the coffee on the coffee-service cart... except Mark. Mark begins his meeting telling stories of some life-changing Christian missionary work he had just completed in Peru. He practically preaches, mentioning "the Lord" and "my Savior" quite a few times. [NOTE: normally this would irk me, but hey, itís his private company, so he can run it any way he wants.] Heís very excited and animated when he speaks; itís very compelling. And while heís talking, he is pouring himself some coffee into a beautiful gold-leaf glass mug.

Before I continue, I need to let you know that on Markís right sits Dave, who is a high-up person in the company, and has worked there for eons. He is a finance guy (I think), but also the companyís motivational speaker and orientation-giver-guy. Heís also American Baptist (most of the companyís managers are), so heís also very animated and in-your-face when he speaks. He is always smiling. I think Dave is probably a genuinely nice guy. It is clear that he is deeply moved and propelled by that stupid, overly-simplistic, completely unapplicable managerial book Who Moved My Cheese. (If you are ever forced to read it, be prepared for the biggest case of douche-chills youíve ever had.)

Okay, so back to the meeting. So Mark is still talking about his mission work amongst the Peruvians, and heís got a glass mug full of black coffee, and Dave sits to his right. As Mark speaks, he unremarkably reaches for the sugar bowl and creamer on the coffee service cart. He also grabs the exquisitely crafted antique silver sugar spoon. He instinctively spoons some sugar into his coffee, and dumps in some creamer. He is still talking, and the coffee-fixing process is totally unimportant to everyone in the room, as it should be. People are listening intently and nodding their heads to Markís revelations, which are certainly interesting and cool. Mark now needs a noun with which to stir his coffee, since he canít use the exquisitely crafted antique silver sugar spoon; so naturally, he reaches back to the coffee cart and grabs what else, but a plastic coffee stirrer. Thatís what people use to stir coffee. Coffee Stirrers. Nothing weird here yet.

UNTIL:

Dave sees that Mark, the President of the Company, is stirring his Freshly Ground Hand Picked French Roast 100% Kona Coffee in a Gold Leaf Handcrafted Glass Mug with a [GASP!] plastic coffee stirrer; so he very calmly and intuitively gets up, walks around the table (which, as you may recall, is 1% too large for the room, and is difficult to circumnavigate) all the way to the cabinet opposite him (see diagram 2) to retrieve another exquisitely crafted antique silver sugar spoon plus an extra gold leaf handcrafted glass mug, so Mark may put his exquisitely crafted antique silver sugar spoon someplace after he is finished stirring the coffee, because it would be unheard of that the President of the Company be forced to put the wet spoon on a napkin, coaster or plate.

All of this happens within seconds, and nobody else in the meeting notices. I, however, am mesmerized by this Smithers/Burns thing. I thought this only happened in movies or The Simpsons. I didnít know people were so <adjective> in real life.

So I havenít been able to stop thinking about this for days now. Iím trying to figure out exactly what makes a grown man, I assume who has some dignity, fetch something for someone without being told.

A)  Simple, Christian kindness. Maybe in the spirit of Christian Fellowship, Dave saw that Mark had a need (though the urgency of that need is certainly debatable), and he catered to that need without a word or a glance, because thatís the kind of Nice Christian Guy he is.

B)  Pure, unabashed ass-kissing. Maybe Dave is a major ass-kisser. Maybe Mark couldnít give a ratís ass if he drank out of a old Styrofoam cup he had laying around from yesterday morning, but just drank out of the gold leaf handcrafted glass mug because it was handy.

C) Other. Please give me some ideas, here!

Again, I stress to you that there wasnít a speck of communication (verbal or non-verbal) between Mark and Dave, neither before nor after Daveís heroic action. Mark didnít ask Dave to get him those things. Mark also didnít thank him or even nod, smile or acknowledge that Dave did it.

Did Mark simply forget to acknowledge Daveís helpfulness?

Did Mark just assume that Dave would do this for him, again, in that Smithers/Burns thing?

Was Mark just so wrapped up in relaying his Peruvian mission tales that he was oblivious to the whole transaction?

Why didnít anyone else in the room think it was weird?

Why am I thinking about this so much?

Iím looking to you, faithful readers (okay, Jeff and Quaf) to help me with this one.
Good night!