The Geek Trip
Scene and Setting: High School Physics, between 15-20 years ago. Second semester senior year, 7th period. I decided to take a break from my usual routine of smoking a bowl after lunch and going bowling to make a cameo appearance in class. I was in luck. The teacher was taking us outside for class to demonstrate some physics concept. Two guys held out a picnic blanket stretched out like a backstop but with some limited slack in it. The teacher then gave a raw egg to this fat geek named Norman and told him to throw it at the outstretched blanket from about four feet away with all his might. Before Norman threw the egg, the teacher went around to all of us and asked if we thought that the egg would break or if the blanket would absorb enough of the energy to keep the egg safe. Then he told Norman to throw his best fastball.
What happened next, I’ll never forget. Norman commenced a very aggressive and aesthetically displeasing wind-up, summoned all of his power, and threw the egg. Turns out Mr. McCabe had asked us a trick question. The egg never made it to the blanket. Not even close actually. Fat Norman accidentally spiked it no more than 18 inches away from his feet, comfortably two feet shy of the blanket. He overshot his release point by about 60 degrees. After this sorry display everyone was either giggling or laughing hysterically (like myself). My buddy ran up to me, slapped me on the back, and said we should stop going bowling cause class is apparently more fun. Heck, even Mr. McCabe had a huge smile on his face and had to dig deep to maintain some level of professionalism. To this day I wonder: If we had told Norm to spike the egg at his feet, would he have thrown a perfect heater into the blanket? Or would he have actually thrown the egg backwards?
I hadn’t seen such slapstick comedy since then, that is until a few days ago when my client re-opened their office. About 8 feet away from my desk the Agile Development douchebags were having some brainstorming meeting led by the head agile nerd – a geeky, Persian-looking guy with an annoying, intellectual self-confidence to him and a plump, soft constitution: He’s built like a gunny sack full of mashed potatoes. Armed with masking tape, post it notes, and a lot of agile attitude, they were “collaborating” very loudly as if trying to impress half the office with their awesome techniques. When the head guy got particularly animated, I turned my head to glare at him and was promptly rewarded. While pacing back and forth from one post-it note to another he tripped on the big screen TV’s power cord. He stumbled three-four feet, getting progressively wobblier with each step. The TV fell behind him, and best of all, as he was falling, he tried to grab the side of the desk but instead latched on to a big box of donuts hovering off the side of the desk. The donuts of course offered no support, rather, after he fell tits first on the ground the donut box flipped and about half of them landed on his back. It was absolutely amazing: The Persian Humpty Dumpty prostrate on the ground with donuts on his back like polka dots. So Agile! Like a Puma!
Here’s the problem. Times have changed and people are freaking lame now. I start laughing uncontrollably. I’m trying to bury my face in my palms but my whole body is laughing and I can’t quiet the noise I’m making. I’m a one-man laugh-track. Meanwhile, it turns out a select few other guys are quietly giggling but most of the folks are either rushing to Humpty’s aid or looking on indifferently. The only person who sticks out almost as much as him is me cause I’m having such a ball at his expense. I quickly grabbed my laptop, bit down on my lip as hard as I could, and then ran outside the building to continue laughing for another 15 minutes. I was fighting back giggles for most of the day.
If I get in trouble for laughing like a hyena at the client’s lead Agile Manager, I’m gonna offer to make amends by organizing some sort of lame, outdoor team-building events between my company staff and the client folks. Ropes courses, a scavenger hunt, and definitely, definitely an egg-toss.