Monday, November 10, 2014

Men in Black

At the laboratory where I work, we are about to complete a $350 million upgrade to the facility. As this effort was supported primarily by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, you can imagine that there are colossal levels of government bureaucracy involved. Not only has every penny spent been endlessly reviewed and inspected and questioned by swarms of humorless government bean counters, they have inflicted on us regular celebrations of our successes. Whenever one of the suits from Washington comes to visit, we are forced to pack our auditorium to welcome them. We are briefed beforehand on the acceptable ways to clap like overly caffeinated baboons and to emote such radiant joy that people can actually tan in our presence.

It is funny that whenever Mayor McCheese or Senator Rooty-tooty appears on the scene, they are proceeded by immense entourages of automatons in black suits. Swarms of confidants and inner-circle schmoozers and hangers-about who are afforded reserved front row seats. It is hilarious to watch their practiced and measured hijinks. After every two sentences uttered by the policitian du jour, they spring to their feet and cheer with such unbounded glee that actual tears begin to spontaneously run down their faces.

"... Is my microphone on? Testing ... testing ..."

(Rabid applause, gutteral animal-type screeching and carrying on) "Four more years, four more years"

Anyway, our most recent enforced celebration included a brief address by the governor of our state. As he read his prepared speech that was clearly written by one of his staff, there was some technical jargon involved. After the governor, who spoke very loudly and smiled in such a way that every tooth in his mouth was clearly visible from miles away, rattled off one paragraph of scientific-type goobty-gook, he shook his head and admitted that he had no idea what he just said. It was the one moment of genuine response and humor in this painfully choreographed spectacle. Of course, the men in black thought that these were the wittiest words ever spoken by any man, ever.