Written by P.M. Wortham
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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

image for Why I Didn't Write The Canadian Transport of Maple Syrup Results in Another Tragic Accident

Dear Naomi,

In response to your last E-mail which asked why I didn't respond quickly to your assertion that somehow, I seemed to be ignoring you. Let me say that there could be many reasons for a delay in response, none of which have anything to do with an intentional thumbing of the nose at your correspondence. You see, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

In fact, a plane crashed into our building yesterday. Since we are on the top floor, it was a bit startling, especially since I was in the 3rd hour of a much needed nap at my desk. Thankfully the noise interrupted my slumber just before the boss paid me a visit, and there was enough time in fact, to wipe up the drool from my desktop. The line embedded in my cheek from where I had rested my face into the pen still filling the palm of my hand, was another story. It looked like I had just finished acting in another off-broadway production of West Side Story in a scene where one of the Jets had "cut me". The red slash mark remained on my face as a temporary tattoo for the rest of the day. I wore it proudly. I found myself snapping my fingers in time with my footsteps on the way to the bathroom, just like, well sort of like a stroll through the darkened alleys featured in the play.

But, back to the plane. It had unluckily run out of fuel and was forced into a glide path towards an open field just past our building. He didn't make it. By that I mean the plane, and the landing. It was a small little two-seater that did apparently have some glide characteristics but looked home-made. Maybe it was just the duct tape he used to fasten the windows that made me think that, perhaps it was because the pilot, who dropped through the open hole in our roof unharmed, still smelled like airplane glue. A fact that would appear to be completely in context with model plane building and harmless to the casual observer, except for the fact that a real plane had crashed through our office roof and the pilot looked to be higher that Michael Jackson under a licensed doctor's care. Bloodshot would be an understatement. Calling him Whitney Houston would have been more appropriate.

The far left edge of the hole was positioned just above my desk, dropping some lightweight debris like the engine and the landing gear just behind my chair. I think it was the noise of the actual propeller that ultimately woke me, spinning like a carpenter's circular saw and chopping a good 2 foot section out of my fake Formica desk. That is really a telling sign of how you rate in the business world, by the way. It isn't that bad if you happen to jockey a fake wooden desk. At least there is some form of thin but real layer of wood on top of particle board and you can reasonably claim that you're a manager or executive, but fake Formica? Not even the thick brand name plastic layer for my desk. Just a thin, almost sprayed on finish that chips quite easily under the pressure of a normal writing instrument or an accidentally dropped cell phone.

My desk trim, you know, the rounded edge that is attached to the fake Formica so that you don't give yourself a paper cut, is held on with Scotch tape. This is the world from which a nap is a pleasant escape, but of course, I digress. The spinning propeller of death sadly missed my neck and destroyed the corner of my desk that I had just taped back together the day before. Esthetically, the jagged missing chunk of pressed paper board gave the desk a bit more character. It looked tougher, more experienced, battle tested and I owned it. The new desk look fit well with the temporary pen scar on my right cheek.

But that's not the reason I didn't respond to your e-mail. It was the maple syrup. You see, the pilot who was still wandering around the halls of our top floor after the crash, seemed to think in his chemically induced euphoric state, that he had made it to his final destination. He asked once or twice if he had actually made it to Middleton, a small town on the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin and known apparently, as the American hub for illegal import of Canadian Maple Syrup. Our stumbling pilot kept asking for a man called "Canadian Fred", or at least that was what we could interpret from his slurred speech while he opened a fresh tube of "Testers Plastic Glue" for another whiff.

By then a number of us had gathered in the hallway to see if the man was actually injured, and the sound of sirens could be heard off in the distance but getting closer. We were all amazed how the hole in the roof brought a little of the outside world into our own dank work area and despite freezing our asses off from the 34 degree ambient temperatures, we stood there looking up and out, hoping that soon we could be free from the shackles of our employer soon. At least for the day.

As I looked outward, wondering what the rest of the world was up to, hoping that another life was out there for us all, I found myself wishing that I could some day actually make it to the top of Maslow's damn triangle. "Self actualization", I muttered to myself, thinking that a hit off that airplane glue might provide me the temporary illusion of contentment and security, but my drama queen soliloquy was interrupted by a cold and sticky drop of something hitting the top of my head. The thought of a better job and a better life would have to wait, in fact so would any correspondence typed from my computer, because the syrup had started to run out of the plane, through the hole and across my desk.

It looked surreal at first. A semi-clear golden shiny liquid had covered my fake Formica desk and everything sitting on top of it. My mini desk-fan blades were still turning but at a speed reminiscent of the ship propeller that destroyed the mahogany speed boat in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. My red stapler, a gift from a former boss because we both liked the movie Office Space, was dripping from the pancake dressing as was my phone, my calculator, my scissors, and my garden, nay not garden, but appropriately sized desk gnome. Slow motion action continued, but with visual cues that turned all colors a bit pastel through the golden filter. It looked like a Monet painting rescued from a heavy smoker's house and sent through a touchless car wash, as the colors ran across the desk and dripped down to the floor.

It took a minute for the sugar to reach the most sensitive components of my computer. To this day, I'd still like to meet the guy who coined the phrase "mother board", as if that was some sort of tribute or worse, a substitute for attention and stimulation he never got from "mommy". There wasn't any smoke, or any spark, or anything to indicate an electrical failure at all. It looked as if my 2 year old had found the keyboard and was holding down the "F" key. A ribbon of "F's" was starting to fill my screen. Pleasant and unobtrusive, the monochromatic repetition of perhaps my favorite consonant, or at least the consonant that begins many of my favorite words when I describe my workplace, continued on until the screen went dark.

By then the police and firemen had arrived, and save for an arrest of the pilot and a massive hole still in the roof, the drama had already played out. Surprisingly enough, the pilot was carted off not for crashing, not for illegally importing Canadian Maple Syrup, and not for being high, but for flying an aircraft without shoes. Who knew that was a FAA regulation. Maybe in Canada, the shoes are no big deal. I have family over in Canada, and can appreciate the laid back approach they often take to just about, or is it aboot, everything, except hockey of course. Perhaps shoes are optional during international flights, if you're a pilot, from Canada, sniffing airplane glue.

We tried to salvage as much of the syrup as we could, filling empty soda bottles, flower vases, coffee mugs and trash cans until we noticed bits of roofing material and seagull excrement mixed in with the otherwise pleasant tasting ooze. Perhaps it was just best to watch it drip, cover expensive electronics and give us a break from the work day.

So you see, there can be many reasons for a lack of immediate response to your e-mail, not the least of which is a destroyed computer, covered in Maple Syrup, spilled from a smuggler's plane, crashed through the roof at work by a shoeless pilot high on airplane glue.

So in response to your question my dear, No, I am not ignoring you.

I'm just having a typical day.

Bestest Regards,
Reggie Milktoastin

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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