meaning of life

about to be revealed, as I am shortly to turn the magic number from that Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series – 42 years old, once the clock strikes 2:45am or so. Like Ted Cruz or Ben Carson on the campaign trail (from what I hear), I’m prepared to be enlightened. Of course I’m more expecting the enlightenment of the Doug McAdams (Douglas Adams, per my fact checker, Google) rather than the biblical variety — that I need to first and foremost, not panic, and always have a towel on hand for intergalactic travel.

Speaking of galaxies, partly for my birthday tomorrow but also because Sydney has been anticipating the new Star Wars movie since she first watched the first six movies a couple years ago, we are seeing the new movie in the series tomorrow night! Normally this is one of the last places you’d find me, waiting in line and worrying about getting a decent seat to see a blockbuster movie the first night it’s showing. But if we’re ever going to do something like this, we figured this would be the movie to do it… good people watching waiting in line beforehand, no doubt. And there is something to be said for seeing a movie in a packed theater with everyone reacting to every scene. Should be an experience.

Feels like forever since I last wrote and I’ve had some interesting experiences of late. I had my first in-person interview with the FBI as part of the security clearance process for one of my projects. We started off a bit awkwardly as the agent showed up in a suit and I had to explain my attire with a nearly sheepish “casual Friday” comment, both of us then immediately saying in our heads, “more like this is what I wear/he wears every day.” Always good to lie upon greeting your FBI interviewer. We then sat down in what is called the “fishbowl” conference room at my office, since it’s near a central staircase and has glass walls. Immediately I knew this was a bad room choice, as my colleagues could now pay me back for the antics I had pulled in the past when I saw them in the same meeting room… like when I’d pretend to go down stairs that weren’t actually there outside the window (that old ploy), or even more impressively, when I’d pretend to NOT go down the stairs that were actually there. This would usually garner the attention of all of the meeting attendees, not just the friends I knew in the room, which would lead to an uneasy few seconds before my concentration was broken and I’d plummet, Wile E. Coyote-style, out of the air and down to the steps 6-8 feet below. I was warning my interviewer to expect all of this from the jokers I worked with before I realized I was lying to him again and he was making small black marks on his pad of paper.

But seriously, the interview was a bit intense. Some basic questions about past work and residences, a bit of studied concern on his part over the fact that I missed a place on the electronic form where I was supposed to put my wife’s maiden name. Then a series of yes/no questions about consorting with terrorists or supporting terrorism, all of which I aced. Then back to some questions he had already asked, trying to catch me off guard or in an inconsistency I guess. I expertly stalled for time on the tough questions by offering him coffee or tea for the second and third time and once, by asking him if he “needed to go potty.” I tried to explain that I had kids and didn’t mean anything by that last remark but it was too late — I was being pressed with near excessive force against the glass wall facing the staircase just as our company’s CEO was ascending with a small group of high-profile clients. She waved and immediately pretended to ascend a second staircase that wasn’t there, dissolving halfway into the act into a laughter which soon infected us all. The FBI inspector and I were wiping away the one or two tears that follows a good laugh as we said our goodbyes. And it turned out he did need to use the bathroom, which I was happy to guide him to, resisting the urge to make another joke and pretend to follow him in to the one-person powder room. Yes, fingers crossed, my clearance has not yet been revoked.

The Looney Tunes reference above made me remember that I recently had to take the annual sexual harassment training at work, and the reminder email we all got included a strange note in bolded text about the training also being available in French. This struck a few of us as immediately humorous. I suppose it’s possible that French is the second most common language spoken by our company’s employees, since our international practice does a good amount of work in French-speaking Africa… but it still seemed like a bit of a coded or targeted message. I followed up the training reminder email with an email to a small group we’ve dubbed “the underground” advising everyone that the French training was a real time-saver, since it consisted solely of a few informative pictures of French mimes toting baguettes. Baguette etiquette, if you will. I thought about making the joke that the training consisted entirely of a short Pepe Le Pew cartoon, but I stopped short on that thinking that unfortunately many of my coworkers are now too younfrenchmimesg to have seen those old classics. That’s what 42 feels like, I guess.

Oh, finally, so Karen signed us up for a meal train for one of the Patriots’ offensive linemen whose son was recently diagnosed with cancer… he’s married to a former YMCA employee and many other employees know some of the Patriots players too, being in Foxboro. Sad situation for the family, but I was happy to whip up a special batch of my authentic (Costa Rican-Baltimorean) rice and beans dish, which has been well documented in a previous email/blog. That was delivered this morning, and I guess before dinner time the entire tray — the amount I usually make for our family of four — was devoured by said Pats player, albeit with a bit too much rice left in my opinion. “Mix it with the rice, Nate!” I’d yell, if I were a safe distance away from him. No, so now it’s just a matter of time before I get the call from Belichick to be the team chef. Who needs that security clearance now, huh, FBI dude? I’ll never get investigated for anything over at Gillette! Oh wait…

beansandrice

Ok, so hope you all are having a great holiday season. Stay off those hover boards, and remember to keep it goofy.

-Eric

 

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About ericf73

A modern-day combination of Noah, Godot and Clark W. Griswold.
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