Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Part 2

My first real post-college job was in a giant university library's "Technical Services" department. As the only non-AARP member in the office, I got to perform some truly interesting job functions in addition to the daily drudgery of cataloging chores. The best part of my job involved hunting for hours among the seven stories of stacks for books that had been miscataloged and long-lost since the 1930s or earlier. Since most of my co-workers were born before that decade, they apparently didn't feel up to this stair-climbing, stack-hawkeyeing detective gig. For me, it was an awesome opportunity to get the hell out of my cubicle and roam whenever the wanderlust struck.

Across from my own department's gray grid of cubicles lay the impressively named "Recon" office. While I later learned to my great disappointment that their awesome title simply meant "Reconciliation" (of the old card catalog with the new online catalog), my initial fear of these library badasses was heightened about a thousand-fold by the most intimidating of their troops.

The gentleman I came to know as "Keef" looked to have just dismounted a war charger on the Mongolian plains after riding with Genghis Khan's hordes and pillaging the Central Asian steppes. His Sebastian Bach-like locks hung all the way down his back, and his already hateful appearance was accentuated by a long, devilish goatee seemingly not unlike that of the dark prince Satan himself. I caught glimpses of Keef's frightening scowl from between the walls of my cubicle as he stalked in and out of the office in between running small children and elderly women off the streets with his giant Harley, and I shivered quietly to myself.

After a few weeks in the office, I realized that my original impressions were almost the complete opposite of the real Keef. His intimidating manner was only a reflection of deep hatred of his current job, and as two of the only employees there not already eligible to draw Social Security we became good friends.

As it turned out, in addition to being a multi-media artist of the highest caliber--acting, singing, playing guitar, stand-up comedian-ing--Keef was also a hugely talented graphic designer. I learned this one day when returning to my humble cubicle after an hours-long reconnaisance mission through the stacks to find an 8" X 11" image of my head on David Lee Roth's body. Apparently Keef had absconded with my employee ID badge and, after some trial-and-error experiments with the office copy machine, perfectly matched my melon's dimensions to Diamond Dave's hard-rock-posing body.

Thus began the most artistically inspired few months of my life. After retaliating by affixing Keef's head and my own to an Indigo Girls album cover and hanging it on his desk after hours, the battle was joined. Whenever our respective supervisors were away from their desks, we would rush to the copy machine trying to match our employee ID photos to images of the Beastie Boys, Fleetwood Mac, and most horrifyingly in Keef's case a full-size Rolling Stone magazine cover photo of Shania Twain's body with his own leering mug attached. Before long both our cubicles' walls were papered with disturbingly doctored images of our own faces that our co-workers regarded with fear and suspicion. Keef even branched out to "borrow" other employees' IDs for incredibly ambitious projects that began to resemble the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Far too soon the day came when I had to leave my beloved library job and move on to a new gig. I knew I had to leave Keef and the office with a final masterpiece to remember me by, but that spectacular tale can only be told in "The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Part 3"!

2 Comments:

Blogger Adjective Queen said...

I hope you kicked the habit, and no longer copy employee ID's to paste over the heads of photocopied bodies. Or did you? Hmmmm.

7:55 AM  
Blogger gouldie said...

Were you Amy or Emily?

7:20 PM  

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