25 November, 2011

An allegory in green

We recently changed from a supplier we'd been using for several years, which means someone else will be getting a million dollars or so over the duration of the next supply contract.

A week later, with Christmas starting to loom Putin-like over the horizon, suppliers are dredging through their databases, pulling out our contact details and sending us token gifts to remind us of their existence, and that we're still valued clients. In the past some of these gifts have included perishable items eight months past their use-by date and heavily-trodden boxes of chocolate, so it's not without a sense of amused cynicism that we look forward to this time of year.

A gift from our unsuccessful suppliers arrived: an extravagant serving of toffee-like confectionery wrapped in a range of seasonally-coloured foil. La Mondaine and The Invertebrate pounced on them immediately declared all of the colours except red to be inedible, and then proceeded to try to eat the rest anyway (declaring the green ones to be the worst).

Now ... what follows really tells you everything you need to know about my team-mates.

The Stress Fiend returned to work a day or so later and joined them, although in her typical spirit of contrariness she declared that The Invertebrate didn't know what he was talking about and the green ones were fine - as she then demonstrated by munching down as many of them as she could until reality struck and she realised that, in fact he was entirely correct. Which amused me, at least.

The Invertebrate then decided that the best way to deal with the green ones was to keep eating them and them alone until he became desensitised to them. This wasn't a great success, so he tried to eat a green one and another colour at the same time to see if he could cancel out the taste. Keep in mind that none of the flavours were actually pleasant to eat - the green ones were simply the worst of a very mediocre selection.

Over the next two days, the Stress Fiend and The Invertebrate continued to plough their way through the poisoned toffee. Really, I wouldn't have been surprised if the toffees had been hand-delivered by an ancient and cackling crone bearing a basket of too-shiny apples. They were that bad. But not eating them simply never occurred to my team-mates. Even separating out the green abominations wasn't an option. I suggested doing exactly that so we'd have something to offer visiting clients or management, but when the others realised that by this point they'd have almost no non-green ones left (a good thing, surely?) they decided this was going too far.

(During all this, the Stress Fiend went through her daily ritual of buying the same kind of toxic hamburger from the cafeteria each day for lunch, muttering her version of Grace before eating it - "Oh, I'm so going to regret this. I just know it will come back on me later" - and then spending the rest of the day moaning about heartburn. Can you see a pattern emerging?)

And in the latest installment (post heartburn-burger) the Stress Fiend declares loudly "Those green ones really are the worst." She sounds suspiciously like she's chewing.

"Are you eating another one?"

"I have to. There are too many green ones now, and I need to even the numbers out."

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