At work one day, a friend and I were eating Chipotle in the break room when he asked, “So, if you had to get a gift for the boss, what would it be?”
I gave a moment’s pause before wiping my mouth and answering with a smaller question. “Brown-nosy, gaggy, or straight-up vindictive?”
“All three,” he said, shrugging his shoulders in a ‘why not’ fashion. Then, thinking for a moment, I gave another hearty bite and answered:
“Let’s start with the gag gift; I would give them something that gave some of the same satisfaction as the vindictive one without the same level hurt feelings, or the slight possibility of ending up in the hospital. I don’t know, something that says, ‘Ha, jokes on you asshole,’ but, you know, in a playful way.
“I would definitely give her a good coffee mug, but, unbeknownst to her, it’s gonna have pinholes in the bottom. It’s a win-win. Just think, she’ll either notice it beforehand and be cool, or she’ll be one of those boss’s that still have more than a few people in the office wondering, ironically, almost mockingly, why she’s still single, and she’ll sit this leaking thing down on her nice, paper-filled desk.
“At this point, there’s no more being a good sport but, chances are if you’re a tight ass who can’t take a joke, you don’t have many friends around the office anyway. I have plausible deniability over this situation because, seriously, whoever tests a coffee mug for leaks before gifting it probably shouldn’t be working in an office anyway. If they did and, let’s say, the copier went out, they’d probably have a mental breakdown and start calling in bomb threats. You don’t just stop at leaky coffee mugs, my friend. The whole office would back me up on this; you don’t mess someone’s coffee unless you have a contingency.”
My friend looks at me a bit perplexed, gave a brief smile and said, “I don’t see why I expected a simple answer. But, wait, what about the vindictive gift?”
“Oh,” I exclaimed, “I’d rig the coffee maker with a bio-metric fingerprint sensor for the boss’s hands and his hands only. This way, when he’s half asleep, pondering existence past this dead-end job, hoping for a miracle, and goes to pour that first liberating cup of freedom, BOOM!”
My friend’s eyes lit up as my hand came down on the table. He gave a brief jump, “so, what happened again?”
“Small explosion,” I leered, grinning all the same.
“Dude, you’re crazy. That could kill him. Why on earth would you–“
“Hypothetical explosion happening to a hypothetical person in a hypothetical universe,” I said questioning. “Point is, no one gives a crap about mister exploding coffee pot boss right now with the exception of you. Now, who’s crazy again?”
“Point proved,” I asked.
“Yeah, you got me there,” he said.
“What was the last one again,” I asked, taking another bite of my burrito.
“Oh, straight-up brown-nosing gift, what would it be?”
“Easy,” I said, “I’d just give them a good coffee mug.”
He looked perplexed again, “After all that, your idea of a tried and true brown nose gift is a regular coffee mug? Why?”
“They’re lucky to get anything at all. They get paid twice as much and you expect me to get them, what, a replica of the Mona Lisa? Nah, it’s either too far or it’s not far enough, that’s when you end up falling into the knick-knack category. Don’t ever be the guy in the knick-knack category. Hell, if anything, they have a job that’s just as hard or worse if they’re being forked over that much cash, and they have people breathing down their necks, too. I should just give’em a smile and a ‘good morning’.”
“I don’t get your work ethic, dude.”
“Better than a bomb in the coffee pot,” I said, sipping my cola.
“Touché,” he said.