Saturday, September 4, 2010

I Never Said It Was A Van Gogh.....

We are in the midst of renovations at the Firm. I say "we" as if I am the one carrying (a) tools; or (b) the checkbook, which are the only two implements necessary to pull off the task at hand. I am neither of course, which if you are familiar with my level of "handiness" (I think from time to time my brother Kelly still drives past buildings that I helped build when I worked for him twenty-plus years ago just to make sure they remain upright) is not displeasing and if you are familiar with my level of frugality is not surprising. I am simply one of the folks in the office who has served as the audience for the past several weeks as Project Metamorphosis has taken place around us.

OK, so as far as I know it is not really called Project Metamorphosis or Project anything for that matter. I was hoping that slapping a "Project" title on it might have encouraged Heidi Klum to walk the long hallway in the center of the office just one time, do one convincing "I'm a Super Model" whirling dervish spin before disappearing from our line of sight. On a not wholly-unrelated subject, if Super Heroes have the Justice League, then what League to Super Models belong to?

My gift for observation is.....well it is not always especially well-honed. For instance, I am the world's worst husband when it comes to the "haircut" test. Guys know the test of which I speak: the missus gets a haircut without telling you either before or after and then (usually a day or three later) asks you how you like the haircut, knowing that you had no idea that she had gotten one and could not - upon the threat of physical harm befalling you - tell her when she got it. I am so bad at it that years ago Margaret stopped testing me. It was no longer fun for her. (For me, it was like a flashback to Calculus my senior year in high school. I knew that somewhere in the darkness there was an answer. I simply had no idea what it was.) She tells me on regular intervals prior to getting it - including the "moment of departure" call as she heads out the door - and then mentions it on similarly well-placed and consistent intervals after she has gotten it. All of which function as something akin to roadside flares - little beacons in the darkness that I can follow.

Apparently for several years at the Firm we have had a painting affixed to a wall somewhere of a large sailing ship on the sea. The ship has three or four large sails, all fully fluttering in what I presume is supposed to be a healthy, steady and favorable breeze. I say apparently because while I had never noticed it at any time prior to Thursday, I have seen it quite often since and given its present location I presume that even I would have noticed it earlier had it always been there.

Since Thursday, the painting has been leaning against a wall in the third-floor men's room. An odd place for artwork? Perhaps. Although I assure you that the intrinsic value of this particular piece is not affected one iota by its present placement in a gallery short on subdued lighting and soft music and long on paper towel dispensers and urinal wafers. On Thursday it was on the far wall of the bathroom, visible upon opening the door. When I got to the office on Friday, it had been moved. No, not out of the bathroom altogether. Its new home is right next to the urinals.

I have historically had difficulty discerning the difference between irony and coincidence and again - in the case of our bathroom artwork (I do not know why we simply do not scribble graffiti on the inside of the stall doors as we did in high school instead) - I am stumped. Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps instead it is the tip of the spear of a new, holistic health care plan we are implementing. Now, to improve the prostate health of our male employees instead of approving visits to a urologist, our health insurer has decided to treat "go/no-go" issues subtly and in an understated manner through the use of imagery that reinforces the notions of (a) lots of liquid; and (b) that liquid moving from one place to another. We are out here walking on the razor's edge I tell you. The razor's edge.

I am interested to see if it works. And even more than that - presuming Phase One is a success - to see what paintings end up on the stall walls.


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