Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Power to....The People

In the last hour of work today I was wrapping up a few small tasks. It was a pretty slow day. Courtney sent over a link for a couple of YouTube videos that she said were hilarious and I of course had to watch.

It only slightly worried me that the first video was called Penis Power and the second was called Vagina Power. Not that I couldn't handle it, and not that I didn't have headphones, but I wasn't entirely comfortable with the words appearing anywhere on my work screen. So I pulled up an Excel document and looked very busy with it.

To be clear, these videos aren't hilarious because the woman in them is making jokes. They're hilarious because she is crazy. She definitely has a no-nonsense approach to addressing the female need for, ahem, attention, but it is also equally clear that this woman has been hurt. Played. Made a fool. These are angry PenisPower words. Disgruntled VaginaPower words. And yet the all-knowing tone with which she delivers her monologues makes one want to believe that what she is saying is fact.

I was halfway through the second video when I got an instant message from one of our engineers. He asked me a question that I didn't know the answer to, but I resolved to pretend like I did anyway. He asked me to go to a particular URL. I had to search through my email to find the link, and since that always takes forever I opened up a new tab in the browser in the meantime and searched my internet history.

The woman in the video had just said "What the fuck does that shit mean? What does Easter and damn Jesus rising up have to do with each other?" and all of the sudden the engineer was in my peripheral vision. He snuck up on me like the Pink Panther. I ripped the earphones out of my ear and said "Oh, I don't have the URL, I have to search for it." But he was already pointing to the second and blank tab on my browser window.

There is not a doubt in my mind that this co-worker, this conservative and sort of quiet Indian man, in that instant saw the first tab of the browser. The tiny, itty bitty little label at the top of the page that said:


I knew he had seen it because that is just what happens when you are looking at someone else's computer at work. You don't mean to eavesdrop, but you can't stop your mind from reading a word like you can't stop it from thinking a thought. So Lord help you if you have something ridiculous up when someone surprises you.

I'm not sure what was more uncomfortable: the moment I knew he had seen the words, or the ensuing two minutes wherein we both pretended that he hadn't. Either way I swear to God he was backing away from me as we talked.

If it were me walking up to his computer, and he had Penis Power somewhere on the screen, I would not have been able to keep it a secret. It would be just too good. But in my case, there may not have been a better person to catch me red-handed. He is most likely far too mortified to mention it to anyone.