"Some would sooner die than think.
In fact, they often do."
D. R. Mendel
Rob Chiller has rediscovered the joys of speaking his mind after a decade-long stint in Corporate America.
When not behind a keyboard, Rob can be found offering his unsolicited opinions on life to anyone
who happens to be passing by his house.
The brisk autumn wind heralds the coming of our fear season. When dingy gray skies
allow merely a glimpse of a black cat darting across an overgrown lawn, we know
Halloween is near. And with the Eve of All Saints comes the influx of images we
use to frighten ourselves: The skeleton trees — branches angled out obscenely as
if reaching for you. The dark, abandoned house — seething with supernatural life. The man in
the shadows wearing a hockey mask. Vampires. Ghouls. Demons.
Each year, we bombard ourselves with these icons of evil in an attempt to elicit fear.
We spin tales of horror featuring inhuman acts. We retell legends of undead come back
to life. We stand in line to enter the local haunted house, where we hope some hideous
creature will jump around a corner and terrify us. We are searching for the perfect
But we may be looking in the wrong places.
Because no monster — no matter how grotesque or disfigured — can ever compare to the
sublime terror that is Monday morning, 8 o'clock.
Truly, the beginning of each workweek should have us shaking like crack-smoking
Chihuahuas. It comes quickly and mercilessly, ambushing us while we fight off our
weekend slumber, forcing us to face the world and the coming 40-hour work week.
And it doesn't even have the decency to wait until we get out of the house before
attempting to scare the bejeezus out of us. It stalks us, crouched like a hunting
leopard, waiting for us to switch on the morning news.
After a weekend blissfully removed from reality, what horrors await
us at the news desk? What grim tidings are we going to have to digest with our
breakfasts? More deaths in the war? Are we due for another terrorist attack?
Another SARS outbreak? A new Britney Spears album?
It's like starting each day with The Exorcist.
But we really don't even need Regis Philbin's maniacal cheerfulness to give us a
good fright in the morning. Casting a critical eye on our own sleep-deprived
operations in the kitchen should provide alarm enough. Where else can we find
the nail-biting suspense of a coffeepot glowing red because we forgot to put
water in it? Or the breathtaking fireworks of a metal-rimmed bowl placed in
the microwave? And there's always the chance that this will be the day our
Atkins-approved pan-fried bacon will earn us the nickname "Scorch."
Assuming we make it through breakfast preparation and the news without killing
ourselves, we face delicious uncertainty during the journey to work. As we dart
around the construction equipment and orange barrels that have sat untouched since
1987, we encounter all sorts of horror-movie characters…
There's "the Slasher," that maniac armed with a sports car who cuts through lanes
with the speed and viciousness of a blender.
There's "The Victim," that scared, white-knuckled driver who feels the only safe
speed is twenty miles under the limit.
And let's not forget "The Blob," the driver of the oversized SUV that can't pick
a lane, so decides to take up two of them.
Once we make it through this concrete obstacle course, it's time to face the
ultimate hair-raiser — The Office. The Dark Tower. The Death Star. The Fifth
Plane of Hell. Whatever you call it, this is where our daily horror show really
kicks into gear.
The scene may seem harmless when we arrive. Two of our co-workers sit at their
desks, happily instant-messaging each other, probably about their weekend exploits.
The UPS guy quietly unloads our weekly office-supply order. Our boss sits with his
usual dumbfounded look while staring at his computer screen. Next to him is a
festively-colored stack of papers, undoubtedly to be used to advertise the company's
upcoming Christmas party.
But take a closer look...
Are those co-workers really discussing their weekends? Or do their sideways glances
suggest some nefarious scheme against us? Perhaps they're planning to frame us for
the rash of pen-stealings that has plagued the office. Or maybe they found those
suggestive pictures we took in college, and are now strategically placing them all
over the internet.
And is that the UPS guy unloading all that paper? Or is it Marvin from Accounting,
delivering 17 years' worth of invoices that need to be alphabetized, collated and
filed by 3pm?
Now notice that the boss's expression is not at all his usual bewildered stare, but
instead a look of determined consternation. Has he discovered the long-distance
calls to Mom on the company's phone bill? Has he traced the Blaster virus back to
those cute kitten pictures our sister e-mailed us? Is he in on the pen-stealing
conspiracy too? And why do those "festive papers" next to him suddenly resemble
All this fear and uncertainty, and we've only been there 20 minutes. While a
good horror movie lasts about two hours, we are expected to live through a full
eight at the Office.
So, through buyers and clients and vendors (oh my!), we weave through the day,
dodging terrifyingly inane questions and torture-esque work demands. We're forced
to find new routes around the building to avoid that weird IT guy (the one who's
always muttering to himself and sharpening his letter opener.) We visit an alien
bacteria colony each time we enter the bathroom. We risk permanent disfigurement
retrieving jammed documents from the office copy machine, colorfully nicknamed
Yes, the average Monday can be harrowing enough to satisfy even the most hardcore
scare-seeker. Full of monsters and pitfalls, it contains more suspense than any
John Carpenter movie. It's a real-life horror flick, and we're the stars. And
our contracts make sure we appear in all the sequels: Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, and Friday.
So on this holiday of fear, immerse yourself in the magnificent fright that is
everyday life. Examine closely what you must go through daily, just to survive.
Observe the monsters that lurk in the "real world."
And be afraid. Be very afraid.
Copyright © October 2003 Rob Chiller and Low Carb Luxury
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