Day in and day out, I am constantly reminded of the one remaining goal I have yet to achieve at NPR.
Every morning, I walk to my perfectly-situated corner cubicle, sit down at my desk, turn on my computer, and within 30 minutes, I am inevitably made aware, once again, that I have unfinished business at this company. I prepare myself to concentrate on my various pressing labors, yet without fail, just as I have focused on a task, the heavens interrupt my attempt to ignore my, uh, calling:
“Doug Mitchell, please dial extension 3644.”
I pause, direct my eyes upward, and survey the room. A ponderous silence.
“Doug Mitchell,” it reiterates, “3644."
Cursèd speaker box! Why will you not bid me my peace? Do you not know how I wish to occupy, to possess you, to abuse you for my own secret mirth? Are you so unaware of my sordid wishes that you must taunt me with your unceasing proclamations, imperatives, and fiats?
“Michel Martin, you have a guest in the lobby.”
No longer do I care that you, the reader, condone or pity my madness. Verily, I only ask that I may describe it, that you may begin to comprehend my squalid predicament.
Freely, I admit! My quest is thus: to say something funny on the intercom system. Ideally, it would be uproarious and side-splitting for at least a select few; more likely, it would be mildly amusing and easily forgettable. (It may involve a pun.) But laughs will ring out! For one moment, I will be the purveyor of merriment to an organization which, like all similar building-bound organizations, ought to be reminded once in a while of the fundamentally absurd posture of the office environment and its multiform communication technologies. Once I have delivered my simple, elegant stanza, instant gratification will commence for all! My heroism will be anonymous, courageous, and life-affirming.
Of course, the necessity or comedic inspiration has never arisen. But! I am imbued with the demented passion and resolve of a protagonist in a Russian novel: one day, it will happen. From Olympian heights, Renee Montagne will smile in my general direction, the opportunity will be granted me, and I will shine.
“Someone from All Things Considered please call 2110.”
O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt, thaw, and recite its piece through the fiber optic network! For the love of Robert Siegel and everything else that is holy in this non-profit corporate entity, I know of my depravity! But the flame in me burns magnetic, incessant, undeterred!
Furtively, I continue to plot my machinations as I fill out Excel spreadsheets and deftly manipulate the URL Dictionary feature in the Content Management System. Yes, one day, one glorious, resplendent day! I shall reach for the receiver, trembling, and breathe deeply; when the moment has come, my nerves will still, and calmly, deeply (but not too deeply), professionally, I will declare my joyful memorandum for the entire company to hear. I shall, I shall! [Ascending bugle fanfare.] And at least two people in Newscast will chortle, mildly distracted!
(Should the opportunity never come to pass, I will settle for a brief, witty all-staff ISO e-mail.)