What? You thought mommy had gone away forever? Nonononoooo. Mommy loves you! And even when she goes away for a little while, she carries each and every one of you in her pink petal-coated heart. Sweet pets.
So, I quit that hellhole of a healthcare job, thank God. I can finally stop using my Brother Label Maker to customize my suits with pithy sayings like, “Shoot Me” and “No, Seriously, Shoot Me.”
And I’m back in the ad agency world, which I never would have left in the first place, except that my paycheck was so alarmingly anemic, I had to hire two male nurses to transport it to the bank on a tiny canvas stretcher, which seemed a bit over-the-top—even for me.
Despite their inherent dysfunction, ad agencies make considerably more sense to my brain than the corporations they serve. And where needy and demanding clients drove me to the brink of sanity seven or eight years ago—they’ve got nothing on my two-and-a-half-year-old son, who, when I tell him he can’t go outside and ride his tricycle in the driveway after dark, will shake his fist in my face and say, “THAT IS THE WRONG THING TO SAY, MOMMY! My heart is HURTING when you say that. I am going out NOW.”
He is tough.
And I can take him.
Still, I’m told the last person who held my job at this particular agency suffered a nervous breakdown and quit “in an effort to salvage whatever scraps were left of his mental health.”
Trying to act real casual, I asked one of the graphic designers if he could confirm this.
“Oh, yeah, Trevor,” he said. “True.”
“Trevor? Actually, I was referring to someone named Ernie?”
“Ooooh, Ernie,” he cringed. “Yeeeees. I forgot all about Ernie. He sells globes to grammar school teachers now.”
When I tell coworkers which accounts I’ve been assigned, they gaze at me wide eyed, with that combination of pity and horror typically reserved for young widows. Tuna casseroles and hospice donations pile up on my desk. Perhaps this would explain the battery of psychological testing and handwriting analysis I underwent to get this job.
They’re building a bar in our conference room!
And when one of our junior account executives, who is prone to bloody noses, comes to a meeting with a Kleenex jammed in her left nostril, everyone around the table, including our CEO, jams tissues in their noses too—just to make her feel more comfortable.
And when I’m trapped on a conference call that will not end, I can flip on the speaker phone and watch a crowd gather around my desk as I fashion my phone cord into a noose and try to hang myself with it.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and roses. I have the enormous burden of hiring male models to feature in my clients’ ads. And when I find one I like, I have to sit and watch the photographers shoot the ad, and make sure the male model looks handsome enough.
Exhausting, I tell you.
And because I’m so fatigued from going above and beyond the call of duty in this manner, my dorkiness knows absolutely no bounds. I had a photo shoot yesterday afternoon, and I kept saying things to the model like, “Oh, you looked good in that last shot—but I guess you already know that! (donkey snort.)”
Cool I am not. But happy to be here nonetheless.