Torture Chamber of Commerce

Good soldier that I am, I arise at Oh-Dark-Hundred to prepare myself for a Tuesday morning  appearance at a local chamber of commerce, an evil coven of community, business, and government “leaders” whose idea of virtue and a good time starts at 7:30 AM.

I despise meetings like this on so many levels I don’t have enough space to list them, and it’s my blog, where I work with neither a safety net nor an editor.

Chamber meetings combine the worst elements of a praise Jay-sus hootin’ hollerin’ and stampin’-feet revival sessions, and sullen, desperate, dripping-with-disgrace  Alcoholics Anonymous gatherings.  There’s the plastic sheen of forced fellowship and wishful thinking from the former, and the sullen, I’d rather be dead than here but it’s this or butt-fucked in a prison cell vibe from the latter.  Nobody wants to be awake, dressed up, obligated to be charming, positive, and happy to engage strangers at this hour of the day.  It’s too early to drink, and too late to go back to bed.

Separated by mere inches, people valiantly attempt to network, breathing second-hand coffee into one another’s’ faces, powdered buffet eggs smeared on their incisors.  They hand one another the same business cards each has feigned admiring then tossed out the month before, and the month before that, too.  The men try their best to see something — anything — attractive in the women, while the women pity the unseen wives of the businessman whose eyes they avoid.

Interminable presentations are so achingly dull that flies fall from the air, landing lifelessly on cracked plates and stained table cloths.  Speaker after speaker arises nervously to identify itself — “Good — good morning.  I’m Red Acknoyd , new member here — ha ha! –and I have a can’t stand cream I mean an ice cream stand in the mall….” with all the panache and confidence of a foot fetishist confessing his weakness.  You can envision the poor bastard’s financial people pulling his strings and working his mouth like a marionette.

And just for the record, despite the date there was not one single mention of Flag Day, not even during the mandatory kick-off prayer and recitation of the pledge of allegiance, to show that god country, and profitable business are three sides of the same bonfire. 

Fortunately, I no longer need to attend these carnivals with any regularity, and given what I do these days I don’t need to duct-tape myself into a suit and tie and shoes and socks.  I’ve also learned not to eat anything — stay with just coffee — and never take snubs personally because their origin is the snubbers’ own insecurity and discomfort in a room filled with obsequious lickspittles who look around the room surreptitiously before daring to venture a chuckle at a bad joke.

Four hours into the day and it’s only 9:00 AM.  It feels like a day without air.  Have a nice week.

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7 Responses to Torture Chamber of Commerce

  1. ya' gotta' guessit' says:

    “Mandatory kick-off prayer”?

    A prayer!

    From YOU?? Fat chance.

    Your lips might have been moving, but you were invoking Quetzalcoatl, or Isis, or something, weren’t you?

    • Squathole says:

      My lips were curling, not moving. No, I never join either the prayer or the pledge, I just stand there quietly like a stuffed idiot.

      I don’t mind the pledge — it’s the fact that it’s mandatory. I’ll recite the pledge when I want to, not when some besuited businessman tells me to. As for the prayer, they make it clear that it’s only for those who want it, and lately I notice it’s pretty damn generic no matter who delivers it.

      I really don’t need this crap any time of day or night, let alone when my morning wood is still hopeful.

  2. I’m surprised you were there…by attending , did you break any leash laws?

  3. Red White & Blue says:

    Why do you hate America?

  4. Kim Chee says:

    “Interminable presentations are so achingly dull that flies fall from the air, landing lifelessly on cracked plates and stained table cloths”.

    This is very graphic and I like it but it makes me wonder: are you certain you were actually attending a Chamber of Commerce meeting, and not an exterminator’s pep rally at a cheap diner?

  5. Merkin Way says:

    I’ve been going to these chamber meetings for years. 99% of the time they’re a waste, but when something worthwhile happens it evens it out. Plus it’s just the fact that you go at all and can tell your clients and colleagues that you’re an active member.

    The glad-handers and out-of-their-element losers aren’t as obnoxious as the snobs. In Hollywood, where I was based for years, the chamber was filled with all three, and the director was a braying ass. He’s gone now. Dead, I think.

  6. Pingback: The Milky Way « Obalesque

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