Wednesday, June 16, 2010
The Intern, The CEO, And The Diarrhea
Imagine you have chronic diarrhea. Something's wrong on the inside but you don't know what. You've taken medicine to thicken things up but you're still waddling off to the restroom at inopportune times. It's embarrassing. You've read books on diarrhea but they only help a little. You go on a cheese diet and that works for a while, but eventually the squirts return.
Finally you quit your job and enter poop therapy. You learn about what's happening in your intestines and how you can tell when it's safe to eat. Everything gets better. You return to work and stay splatter-free for a year. But work gets busy and you stop paying attention to the rumbling intestines. Before you know it you poop your pants in the middle of an executive presentation!
You're humiliated. Standing alone at the white board, marker in hand, with two dozen eyes gawking as a pile of sludge collects at your ankles. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," you stammer, in utter disbelief. "Please forgive me. I'll resign." The bosses are surprisingly sympathetic as they wipe your mess off their shoes. You don't know how they keep their cool.
Then, out of nowhere an intern bursts into the room. "What stinks?" He screams, scanning the room for a culprit. His eyes fall on you, still frozen in horror and shame. "It's you!" He points an accusing finger. You nod and shift your weight; a juicy squish breaks the silence.
You expect him to leave but he stays. He marches toward you and looks you in the eye. "You realize that this mess is YOUR fault, don't you?" He seems to genuinely wonder if you know.
"These people are enabling you," he continues, glaring at the executives before resuming eye contact. "If they don't point it out you'll probably do it again. Or worse, you'll blame us!"
Then, without warning he grabs you by the hair, pulls you to the ground, and plunges your head into your own diarrhea. "See that?" He holds you under while your nose burns and neck strains. "You stink and it's your fault! Now apologize!"
"I, I did." You sputter as you gasp for air and paw at your eyes. After a few seconds you open them again. You look around the room and the angry intern has disappeared just as suddenly as he came. The room is quiet and you stand solemnly before your bosses while poop oozes down your forehead.
Someone coughs awkwardly, signaling people to filter out of the room. Just you and the CEO remain. He lowers his aging frame to the floor and begins to pick up your crud. The two of you scrub in silence. Hours pass on your knees with the big boss. Your mind is spinning. You sense that he wants to say something but is waiting. You look up at him.
He's still crouching near the floor. Sleeves rolled to the elbows, tie loose, piercing gaze fixed on you. His clear eyes are full of ferocious strength. You force yourself to return his gaze, waiting for the anvil to fall. "I..." he begins, pausing for you to catch the depth of his words. "Understand." He searches your eyes, hoping it will sink in.