What do you do when you love someone but cannot be with them?
This most recent Yuletide gift-giving holiday was different in our office. In years past we have exchanged gifts at an annual gathering, during which some elected to attain the drunkenness sloppy, and others to avoid the par-tay altogether, and disenvelope their givings the next morning. Post-exchanged, carols would be sung, then trees hallowed and carved into the forms of jolly old Jack of the Lantern. But the gift-giving was always problematic. Gifts were given that offended by their cheapness, by their expense, or by what the presentation of the gift implied about the relationship between giver and receiver.
Exempli gratis: 2004, Rob gifted unto Molly the peek-your-boo lingerie set in the satins and lace, pink and black, respectively.
Example further: 2002, Rob gave unto Devo the gay pornography, "Vanilla."
Example even further: 2006, Rob bequeathed upon the traitor Sang a ten dollar coupon for The Red Lobster.
This year I resolved it would be different. This year, instead of interpersonal gifts which might offend or shock, we decided to give gifts the entire office might enjoy. My current lab director (and erstwhile vice president Americanum), Molly, organized this effort with German efficiency, despite her tottering Irish blood. Spreadsheets and ledgers were employed. She may have even donned a green visor. Leeks diverted capital at my behest into a general "slushing" fund to be used for general office improvements. At the darkest hour of the year's darkest night, we gathered in treacherous Sang's spacious and dusty office, piled the furnishings, art, and meticulously catalogued collection of The Economist in a great pyre, and set them a-flame. We gathered about the bone fire whilst Devo, nude to the waist, circled us thrice, smudging our binding ring with sage as Rob chanted an ancient prayer in halting, sloppy Hebrew. Fire alarms were triggered and promises were made unto the Detroit Fire Department regarding the burning of desks within enclosed offices without a permit.
Over the following week, Sang's office was aired and painted, then furnished as a grand den for entertainment. One wall was demolished so that my tank might overlook the frivolity, while another wall was covered with a large LCD HDTV that Devo had modified. Although this "home theater system" was incredibly expensive, the picture quality is truly wondrous; quoth Jarwaun, "that flat screen so tight you can see the fat titties Hannah Montana can have next year." Rob — who "knew a guy" — was placed in charge of securing a sound system at reasonable cost, and located a Dolby 5.1 surround sound system that also played DVDs, VCDs, MP3s and other acronyms. Molly selected furniture of surpassing style and comfort (I am told my weight and the necessities for a highly-pressurized environ mean that I do not get to enjoy the couch or the sofa or the ottoman empire foot rests. Trael opined that, when his family had owned a dog, it was likewise not permitted to sit upon the sofa's couches, on account the dog was possessed of "the stank ass", but he was summarily shushed afore I could take the full sense of his tale. Such a gnomic little lad). Trael and Jarwaun hunted down video game systems and provided "the hook-up." They also, evidently, "knew a guy," although their "guy" was a different "guy" from Rob's "guy."
And so by way of a Yuletide miracle, the most hated office in our building was turned into a den of pleasure. Surely this is how Kubla Khan felt in Xanadu.
Tuesday is now Movie Night, dear readers. Two nights past we did enjoy the fourth disc of the BBC's Planet Earth. This disc covers the forests of your searing, dry Upworld, and also the verdant benthic Depths of my youth. Watching this on our highly-defined wall-o-vision with the gain of sound system set to its maximum was quite like being there, although the resolution was somewhat higher. It was, in fact, more like being there than being there. I found myself bumping my tentacles against glass when tasty tuna or rainbow runners crossed the screen. I camouflaged myself against the sea floor when sharks were near, and inked the waters at the sight of the blue whale, juggernaut of the deep.
Fortunately, as I am positioned at the back of the theatre, none noted my frantic waving as I worked to dispel the fearful ink miasma in my tank.
Movie nights have a rotating selection. Thus far we have watched:
This may not seem germane to your question, Jennifer, but not: During the Planet Earth film there was a moment when the British submersible located a cousin of mine. Vampyroteuthis Infernalis, the so-called Vampire Squid From Hell. He is a dear and shy creature, blessed with poetic grace, and fleshly beauty, and pockets of bioluminescent bacteria at his fingertips. Such a card he was at family functions, always quick with a smile or a jest. He gave succor in times of trouble, and lent his strength in battle. He was the first to congratulate and the last to chide. Never a finer being have I known, but it has been years since I thought of him, decades even. Seeing his luminescent dance upon the HDTV screen was too much for me to bear. I keened in pain. My skin roiled and churned. If I had tear ducts to produce tears with I swear to you, Jennifer, that the salinity of my tank would have increased measurably. It was a devastating blow of homesickness and nostalgia wrapped in fidelious surround sound.
At my behest, Jarwaun has located the very video footage, stored in Your Tubes of the Internet.
So what do you do when you love someone and cannot be with them? This question seems impossible to answer, Jennifer. You tear at your flesh and craft a dress made of ashes and bitterness. You drink deep of life and quaff intoxicating liquors and wish they could be with you. You stare longingly at their photo- or videographic verisimilitude, wishing they would turn and smile at you and say Yes, yes I know. I feel it too. You learn to live so long with the empty ache in your gutsack that it becomes part of you, a new base-state. The scale of your soul has been tared and a new zero has been found.
What you should not do is watch videos of them cavorting freely and happily without you, for that is too much to bear.
I Remain Caged and Alone,
Your Giant Squid
Love the Giant Squid? Buy his first book.
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece
Poor Mojo's Tip Jar: