I had just completed culling my in-box and checking the newswire when an automatic reminder popped up on my screen. I’d forgotten about the staff meeting. It normally began at ten but had been pushed up on account of Marcy. My memory lapse was probably my subconscious’s doing—I knew what was in store.
I took a deep breath, straightened my tie, and walked to the conference room. My colleagues were already sitting around the rectangular table, requiring me to situate myself in a chair along the far wall. Jay shot me a look of feigned outrage, peering down at his watch. I discreetly gestured another injection.
Mortimer, who headed Marshland Cooper’s New York office, kicked off the meeting with a few words of welcome. “You’re in for a treat this morning. Without further delay, let me turn this over to Marcy, who has a few announcements about an exciting new initiative. I’m sure that, as ever, her guidance will prove informative. Marcy?”
“Thank you, Morty,” Marcy replied with an effortless flip of her hair. “Good morning, everyone. I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend. I know I did. I want to talk briefly about what we’re calling the Eco-Excellence campaign.”
A Valley Girl straight out of central casting, Marcy stood nearly 6 feet, was skinny as a stork, and had long blond hair worn swept back from her face. Her flat nose, sloped forehead, and small, snakelike lips gave her a slightly elfin look. Many of my colleagues found her attractive; I did not. She personified the corporate handmaiden, taking on characteristics approved by others for her assimilation. She was a hodgepodge of personas created for the satisfaction of those in a position to judge her. I clearly held a minority opinion. Most everyone else bought her shtick.
“You’ll recall that our goal by year end is to implement a priority list of office energy-efficiency enhancements. ‘The triple Es,’ as I call it. But before going further, I want to underscore how proud I am to be working at a company with a genuine commitment to being green.”
I could tell her pep talk was falling flat. Everyone sat lifelessly, staring ahead like corporate automatons downloading the day’s marching orders. Perhaps Marcy’s excessive toadying inspired the milquetoast response. Or maybe her audience was too preoccupied with its job security, given the lousy economic climate. Mortimer, for his part, smiled broadly at Marcy.
“As I was saying,” Marcy went on, her voice reaching a crescendo, “this week we are going to formally launch the Eco-Excellence campaign. It’s spring, everyone, so let’s spring our consciousness forward.”
I suppressed a groan.
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