Friday, March 4, 2011

Undercover Boss -- me!

I remember seeing the first “Undercover Boss” promos and thinking, gee, what a novel idea. I’d love to watch a show where the CEO is revealed to be a moron and emerges with a new respect for working stiffs.
And, of course, I haven’t watched even a minute of it. I watch enough mind-deadening TV that I don’t need to pump more reality sewage into the swamp -- and that sounds like the premise for “Undercover Mob Boss.”
Yet, I remain charmed by the concept and think how much fun it would be to have a role in the show.
Since I work alone, can’t afford to hire anyone and even coke-headed producers wouldn’t dream of putting a show like that on the air, I spent yesterday pretending I was the Undercover Boss of myself.
I auditioned the 23 or so distinct voices in my head and allowed one of them to step forward into the boss role to survey what I do, how difficult it is, and gain a new appreciation for the peon employee.
That’d be me.
Undercover Boss: “Morning! I’m here to work with you.”
Me: Welcome aboard. I’m prepared to share with you all my secrets. Ask me anything.
U.B.: “Let me start by saying how handsome you are.”

Me: "And let me start by saying what a fantastic start you're off to, my brown-nosing little friend!
Camera pans to a sign on the door that says, “All Guys Welcome! My Door is Always Open, My Toilet Seat is Always Up,” as I let him in to the shabby little office right above my favorite bar.
U.B.: “Quite an office you have here.”
Me: It’s like a little clubhouse. I told my wife a few years ago I wanted a ‘Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio’ poster for my birthday. She said, ‘What, are you still in the eighth grade?’ I told her no, but my office is.
Camera flash summarizes the first three hours of the morning with clips of me tossing wadded up pieces of scrap paper into a 5-foot high waste paper basket nailed to the wall 12-feet from my desk. The ones that miss, about 50-percent, I then thud chip into a lower waste basket with my pitching wedge (camera shows startled diners in the bar below spilling hot soup in their laps as the jarring noise sparks alarm).
U.B.: “Do you ever do any work here?”
Me: Not really. I try to avoid things that make me sweat or cause my brain to hurt.
The show segues to a shots of me expertly juggling three bean bags and swapping punch lines from movies like “SlapShot!” “Hot Fuzz,” and “Zombieland” with old friends on the speaker phone. The iPod blasts a lively playlist of Delbert McClinton, Todd Snider, Joe Ely and Kris Kristofferson.
U.B. “I packed a lunch. Do we eat here in the office?”
Me: Rarely. I spend so much time deep inside my own head, I really need to get out and see people. The isolation is the worst part of the job. So about once a day I pretend someone’s phoned in a bomb threat and I dash downstairs to the bar for safety and suds. Let’s pretend that right now so we can get good seats in time for the Showcase.
Cameras cut to me and the U.B. sitting on bar stools getting ready to ridicule goofy contestant bids on “The Price is Right.” After Drew Carey announces the winner to the Showcase Showdown and the comely supermodels wave the show to commercial, we watch the local news and return upstairs.
U.B.: “What’s the biggest misconception about how you work?”
Me: “That I’m drunk all the time. I joke about it a lot, but it’s surprising and a little disappointing how often I’m sober. But I perpetuate the myth so others can have vicarious fun.
The afternoon work session is a virtual rerun of the morning fun enlivened by a segment where I show the U.B. how I prank bar patrons in the parking lot by pushing my car’s remote panic horn button the instant they slam their car doors. Hiding behind the curtains, we both crack up at their muddle-headed confusion.
U.B.: “Well, after watching you work, I think you’ve earned a little bar time.”
Me: What a splendid idea! I think you’re going to work out fine here, kid!
The U.B.’s voice over concludes the show: “He doesn’t earn enough money to warrant a raise, but I can’t fire his lazy ass ‘cause he’s good for morale. He’s worked for me for nearly 20 years and still have no idea how the hell he does it.”
The picture fades to black after the camera pans across the stoic faces of the bar regulars looking on in disturbed silence as me and my imaginary U.B. yuk it up in the corner.
The phrase “Another day, another dollar,” would fit perfectly if you just subtract the part about the dollar.

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