VD: Not Just an STD

In offices across America, there is a day that is full of hopes and fears, the pinnacle of dreams and cruelest of realities…“the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.” No, I’m not talking about the annual softball game against those assholes at Carlton Precision Components. I’m talking about Valentines Day. It is a study of cutthroat, ruthless competition, possible lives (boyfriends, bike messengers) at stake, and once-rosy, brimming-with-lifelong-potential relationships added to the funereal pyre of failure.

It begins at 9AM. Some women try to beat the system and bring in flowers “I just got as I was on my way out the door, didn’t have time to put them in a vase, so ha-ha-ha guess they came to work with me!” This smacks of dirty play and of desperation, possibly purchased at a supermarket or worse, a subway/busy-intersection street vendor. Once these deceitful dames are given the brush-off, the wait begins. Clocks are set and elevator banks get more eye action than Beckham’s bulge in an underwear ad as the first deliverer of relationship redemption makes his way towards reception.

“Square vase with creative/artistic use of plant leaves as wrapping, onyx stones at base, liberal use of ivy instead of baby’s breath, avant-garde arrangement of roses and bird of paradise – must be Winston’s.”

Ah, the Tiffany’s of florists. The recently-highlighted blonde bobs nod in approval. Necks crane forward as the receptionist, suddenly The Most Important Person In The Entire Company™, takes her sweet time to open the envelope, trained in the art of suspense by the likes of Jeff Probst and Chris Harrison. The tension is nearly unbearable until her flat, equine-like bellow announces, “Jennifer Taylor!” Jennifer, one of the identical blonde bobs, squeals and jumps as if she’s just won the washer-dryer combo on “The Price Is Right.” She nearly takes out the mail guy as she makes the 10-yard dash to claim her prize. Hmph, sniffs the blonde bobs haughtily. Amateur. Amanda will show her how it’s done.

Amanda is the queen bee, the former model who decided to be a PR executive, the Uptown-born and summers-off raised beauty queen-now-vice president who never, ever is without a date, a boyfriend, a fiancé, a husband, a giant rock on her finger, and of course, some sort of altar offering on that most hallowed of romantic holidays. Her delivery is next, simply because they had to bring it from the loading dock. It takes two bike messengers and one security guard to huff it to the reception desk, only to be told by The Most Important Person In The Entire Company™ that she is sure as hell not going to carry that thing, she already knows who it’s for, she’ll sign on the way out, just bring it to that office!

So the bobs ooh and ahh and think murder-suicide fantasies as the poor minimum wage guys huff and puff and rethink their career choices and the Ark of the Covenant is carried in slow procession to Amanda’s office. Amanda is lost in her work; paperwork is up to here! She’s so busy! She hasn’t got a moment to chat or anything! And it’s not until the guys are in danger of placing the Empire State Building of floral arrangements on top of her Burberry laptop case that she FINALLY looks up with surprise, astonishment, a carefully-calculated widening of the eyes as she exclaims OMG! OMG! she had! no! idea! what! day! it! was! The bobs laugh too loudly and wonder silently whether poison would diminish the visceral thrill of seeing her blood spurt redder than those damn roses all over her LV Cirrus PM bag.

Like the Kentucky Derby, the crowds tend to disperse once the winner has crossed the finish line, and the poor horses and the losers who bet on them shuffle off to their respective watering holes. Indeed, the watercooler and the coffee pot are eventual receptacles of post-delivery discussion from those on the lower end of the totem pole: who got what, and who’s going to The Cheesecake Factory later. For those that haven’t even crossed the finish line, and indeed may be in danger of never reaching the end, the day could not be more blackened with shame. They hide out in cubicles, furiously checking their phones, and every time the receptionist gets up to go to the bathroom the Pavlovian response is instantaneous. The Most Important Person In The Entire Company™ loves to tease her minions, getting up so often that one may wonder about the incidence of a UTI. She casually ponders the idea of dumping the floral deliveries of those who don’t pay her the proper respect, but unfortunately her trash can is too small to hide the evidence.

There are some loopholes to the delivery of romantic redemption:

-if you have even a modicum of doubt, have flowers delivered to yourself; if you end up with two, you look like a rock star. Or possibly a cheating slut.

-if your boyfriend/significant other/man paid to act like one shows up with armloads of roses and champagne, and of course chocolates for the girls, he is a winner and will receive the congratulatory blowjob in the office parking lot.

-if your guy shows up at 4:57PM with a handful of wilted carnations bought on the subway, he is deemed a failure, gets zero points for effort, brings great disgrace upon his betrothed’s name and all of his belongings are found somewhere north of the I-5 that evening.

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