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Monday, January 11, 2010

Chairperson Of The Board

Doing my best imitation of a seasoned executive, I slid into position in the lunchroom turned boardroom , my sheath of columned numerical sheets in hand. Jars of dusty, second-hand cookies and duct-taped vinyl chairs swathed in scents of familiarity seemed obviously staged to lull and romance naive recruits into the lair of the inevitable.

The Review of The Budget.

Sheets and sheets of tidy columns, notations, disbursements, and parituculars which predictably elicit an unparalled adrenalin rush for type A accountants and strike cold, hard fear into the heart of the artist. Not unlike a grade six math drill with brainy Barry breathing down my neck on one side and the six foot twins Lydia and Linda on the other, I nearly yearned for an extraordinary response to stress like, say, profuse sweating, or heightened mental alertness. Some antidote to the familiar dull panic instantly saturating the left cortexes, swelling my fingers into thumbs of unmanageable girth, slowing my cat-like reflexes to excrutiatingly slow motion. As if in chorus, personal pheromones began to multiply at dizzying rates, secreting the unmistakable odours of terror and mathematical uncertainty into the underventilated space. Its organic fear-omonal messages rapidly filling the sensory regions of the board's treasurer.

As I shuffled my papers, the odour of my mathematical malfunction hung heady in the air.

Sighly heavily; He began......."Financial statement for the month of December.......Joyce. Are you with us?........ column 1- current month...........describes the Current Month. Unlike column B: As you see..... YTD indicates Year To Date.... Are you with us?........... Have you located the correct sheet of notations and balances? Is this clear? It is imperitive to understand- we'll be doing comparative assessments of these columns in following months."

My stack of loose sheets in disarray formed a sharp contrast to the orderly binders around me. I'd been duped.
Romanced into a board with little idea of its gruelling expectations. No one had ever grilled me on multiplication tables or spreadsheets. There had been no request for back copies of early years report cards. It had all been shrouded in a mysterious cultural ceremony involving "firsting", "seconding", and something about motion or notions.

And it was the notions that really sealed my fate. Line twelve of disbursements; (Financial Statement for the Month of December, 2009): Fabrics.

Aha! (thought I) A dim light in this labyrinth of mathematics. There were questions to be asked about the purchase of fabrics, the long term projections for the store's craft corner, the life expectancy of the current member in charge of buttons. The possibility of discarding mcc's lifelong compulsion to painstakingly card every matching button onto carefully snipped swatches of recycled greeting cards? The possibility of placing jars of mixed buttons on the shelves for discerning consumers not unlike myself?

A palpable chill swept the facility.

Button Lady peered at me over her spectacles; profuse twitches developing rapidly.

The secretary's neck began to vibrate and pulsate.

The treasurer shuffled his unwavering, dependable vertical arrangements of figures.

It had been tried.
The jars had sat there.
And sat there.

Button Lady's eyes shot sparks from behind those low-slung specs and her body began to rise every so slightly out of her chair.

I feared a levitation.
I feared a personal board breach of Levitical proportions.

I'd been symbolically thrown off the button board before I'd quite begun. That one small oppurtunity to endear myself to this seasoned aristocracy of Thrift Politics had been sullied to extents well beyond the bounds of charity and redemption.

Button Lady, Treasurer, Director, and Secretary sat well protected behind their credentials and binders while I reached carefully for my $1.00 purple thrifted coat and blotched accounts receivables. Wary in the knowledge that The holy grail of Board Etiquette had been overthrown by this novice beurocratic illiterate, I edged toward the exit; visions of board member grandeur brutally, unceremoniously, permanently aborted forevermore.


Anonymous said...

Gosh you are talented. If you write a book, I promise I will buy it, no matter what the topic is. We did take English together, right?

Donnw/2nz said...

Hopefully you will not be taken aback by the notices that the Board posted around town announcing your candidacy for a shunning.

I like your odds, the only other two Ladies in the running are pretty lame-o. One rolled through the town Stop sign... she said "'cause der wor too mahny hans on her dashboard", pfft!

The other candidate was caught watching "Markin Idulls" on a display TV at WalmartS...
she said "but et wahz en Franch?"

So chin up! They can take away your basic human Rights, but, they kahn't braak yer spurret
unless you let them?

Anonymous said...

It is sad when you are not welcomed with open arms to a new committee. The Fair Committee on the other hand plans elaborate parties for our new recruits. Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Donnw/2nz--I'd buy your book also. I even understand the lingo as it runs thick at family gatherings in mockery or even uddervize. Why are you people not formally published?! I am all for freedom of cyberspace, but let us not forget about good old fashioned paper.

Judy said...


gophercheeks said...

I feared a levitation....... hahahaha.

Joyce, this is good stuff. Sorry about your luck.

Anonymous said...

ha ha
I needed that!
VB 'B' right!
and of course,
Ginny votes jars - but of course you know that!
jars for Ginny

Anonymous said...

Oh Joyce, my hopes rose as I read - could it be?? buttons in jars??? not sorted by colour or size or assumed value?? Be still my heart.....but, alas, it is not to be so. I am forced to continue my travels to other, more 'elightened' thrift stores to satisfy my need for MORE BUTTONS!!
P.S. You truly are my hero Joyce! Let me know when the next board meeting is so I can pray!
P.P.S Did your little one get the spy camera?