For the first time in my Atari tales, I'm going to change a name to protect the innocent. Or whatever. There was a programmer who I didn't care for very much, and I wasn't alone in my opinion of him. I actually hunted the internets and found a picture of him and some information about his life since Atari, but I'll leave that be. We will know him as Mr. Enthusiasm.
Mr. Enthusiasm was always adding interjections into conversations. "Hear, hear!" was one of his favorites. He could also go off on long monologues that really didn't add much more information than "Hear, hear!" The presence of Mr. Enthusiasm at a meeting could add anything from five minutes to a half hour to the length of a meeting.
So it was meeting day. I was sitting at the long table next to Dave Johnson, and like sane people with work to do, we faced this next 45 to 90 minutes of our lives with a mixture of boredom and dread.
The meeting started and Mr. Enthusiasm was in fine form. There was a "Hear, hear!" or "Good idea!" every half minute or so.
Dave turned to me and whispered, "Matt, we are taking up a collection. We'd like you to push Mr. Enthusiasm in front of a train."
I whispered back. "Dave, I'd do it for five bucks."
We smiled wryly to one another, perhaps chuckling slightly.
The meeting continued and Mr. Enthusiasm quieted down some. At the fifty minute mark, it looked like the meeting might only last an hour. But then Mr. Enthusiasm got his second wind. Not just interjections, but he took the floor. He started talking non-stop and we could see no end in sight.
I was bored and just looking around, but Dave was staring. Staring straight at me. When I finally turned back to look at him, he took his wallet out of his jeans, still staring at me with malicious intent regarding the fate of Mr. Enthusiasm, took out a $20 bill and threw it at me.
"Do it four times!" Dave snarled at me in his best stage whisper.
We started laughing. Uncontrollably. Cackling like hyenas right in the middle of the meeting.
I slid involuntarily out of my chair. I was pawing at the ground trying to pick up the $20. I had so little control of my body, it was a blessing from above that I wasn't incontinent right there in that room full of colleagues.
When Dave and I were nearly back to normal, our boss Steve Wright, who I liked about as much as I liked Mr. Enthusiasm, quite fairly asked us what was so funny and could we share the joke with the room. This started Dave and me laughing again, though not quite as uncontrollably.
"Nope. I can say with confidence that we won't be sharing this joke with the rest of the room."
Though now, gentle readers, I have shared the joke with you.
And with that, we present today's Random 10, leading off with Lust for Life in tribute to Mr. Enthusiasm, but also with Mystery Train, in honor of the train I was supposed to push him in front of.
Lust For Life Iggy Pop
Black Sails In The Sunset Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Old Man On The Farm Randy Newman
Baby Love The Supremes
Stupid Girl Garbage
Senses Working Overtime XTC
Mystery Train The Band
Bad Girl Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
Lazy River The Mills Brothers
Gold Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Tomorrow: Farewell to Atari stories. (For now.)
Now playing: Iggy Pop - Lust For Life