Sunday, July 06, 2008
Better Than Sex
At work today, a coworker brought me a piece of cake. "We have two birthdays in the office this week!" she said. There was one birthday on the 3rd and the another on the 4th.
I take the cake and the fork. She stands there smiling, expectant, watching. We exchange short, false laughs. I stick the fork into the cake and cautiously pick off a bite. Her eyes tracked the bite into my mouth.
She: It's got sponge cake, pineapples, whipped cream and ... I crushed the nuts myself.
Crushed 'em herself. Why it is that everything this woman bakes contains crushed nuts? Is it just me? I mean I've seen the Rachel Ray on the Food Channel, and she's very easy on the nuts.
Still She stands there, with a curious, expectant smile. Not sure of exactly which "lesser included" social misdemeanors I'm guilty of ... so rather than asking, I chew. The cake isn't bad, in fact, it's kinda good, not that I am an expert, you know, at distinguishing between flour, sugar, salt, and ... arsenic, but the frosting is really good.
She: It's called "Better than Sex" cake. Well, is it?
I choke and come up gulping like a grouper yanked out of the icy blue depths. Like what! Seriously? Oh Gawd no, does She mean ... by myself, with someone else, or please no ... not with her.
It occurs to me that maybe (please God, I don't ask for much, just make it so) that She is speaking metaphorically. We are all professionals here. This is a staff office in the Evil Corporation. We have reputations to maintain after all. I look into her anxious eyes, and then down to her hands, to the bare palms she uses to crush nuts ... and an idea comes to me.
Me: Yep, the cake is good. The only thing that is better is to get your cake ... and cookies too.
She giggled right loud, slapping her hands together, approvingly. So I just went with it. George Karlan was right, it really is impressive just how many euphemisms for *IT* we really know. For a moment, there we were in a Garden, with snickering little similes and metaphors, butterflies, fluttering between flowers of innuendo that crown the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Gradually the smile on Her face faded into a dazzled puzzlement. Her hand slipped off the unpicked Apple. She frowned and turned away.
We weren't alone anymore. The cubicle-dwelling Corporate Morlocks were laughing and singing, evening offering a few euphemisms of their own. I stifled my evil hench-people (think whip and chair you lion tamers) and set them back to work.
Lost in thought, She was walking slowly back to her cubicle. Then She stopped and turned back to me, raising a finger. She looked me directly in the eyes.
She: What kind of cookies?
She really didn't know. I have never felt more sad.