Sunday, December 23, 2012

We Can Pickle That!

Lured by the siren song of a paycheque and a misplaced sense of purpose, I venture daily into the massive rectangular structure. Most of my waking hours are spent plugged in to the system, shaping thoughts and products that I hope will please my superiors. By way of swift and systematic feedback I become trained in their ways. Slowly, irrevocably, my thoughts become one with those of the hive brain; little by little, I am made one of them.

They let me keep my own face and stuff so that's nice, but otherwise it's pretty much the Borg in there. Resistance is futile.

One of the interesting side effects of my indoctrination is the inappropriate application of work concepts in every aspect of my life, "mitigate" being among the worst offenders: look like total arse in the morning? Mitigation measures include makeup; hair styling; artful use of cleavage to draw the eye away from the haggard face. Feel like total arse in the morning? Mitigation measures include more makeup; caffeine; handful of ibuprofen. (Crunchy!) Lousy day at work? Wash down your ibuprofen with a light sprinkling of tears and something chocolate. Supper looks like/tastes like/totally is arse, and/or too tired to cook at all? 310-0001. Plus ibuprofen.

The list goes on. No matter the problem, We Can Mitigate That! And if it can't be technically or economically mitigated? Well, it probably wasn't significant anyway, so, y'know, whatevs. Here, I'll show you how that beautiful piece of magic works:

"Oh, gawd, I'm dying to eat a slice of cheesecake right now. But it's too late at night for me to mitigate this slice of cheesecake with a workout, so I'd better evaluate the significance of any potential effects before proceeding with this poor nutrition choice. Let's see... based on the the basal metabolic rate of the ingestee; the gym membership she could (theoretically) deploy to healthful effect at any time; and the 5% Lycra in her clothing, it is concluded that this slice of cheesecake will have no significant cumulative effect. Dig in." Simple!

Note the sliding baseline (i.e., my 34-year-old physique with its decades of accumulated kummerspeck was used as the point of comparison) and the examination of the cheesecake effects in complete isolation of the larger dietary/lifestyle context. Contrary to what your gut feel on this might be, it's actually a strength of the argument, not a drawback: you can explain away anything in the entire world with this. It's the single most powerful piece of illogic a person can hold in their arsenal of self-talk, even more so than whatever my mother uses when she buys all those shoes.

And I wouldn't have learned it if it weren't for work. Thanks, guys! I offer up my humble blog for co-opting into the collective workplace mind in return.  

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