Signs Your Co-Worker Might Be an Abiogenetic Hybrid of Laura Ingalls Wilder and A Can of Pringles
She brings her lunch in a metal pail, jumps rope during lunch hour, and eats the same lunch every day which includes a misshapen biscuit, an apple and possum meat. Additionally, she is fond of saying, apropos of nothing, “Once You Pop You Can’t Stop” during department meetings.
She immediately identifies a woman named Nellie who works in Marketing as her archnemesis. Also, she comes in a variety of flavors including original, pizza, sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese, BBQ, jalapeno, and salt and vinegar.
She does not park her car in the parking garage because she doesn’t have a car. Rather, she ties her horse and buggy to a post on the office building’s front lawn. Also, she frequently chastises bagged chips for being greasy and easily broken.
She has a sister named Mary who became blind after contracting rheumatic fever and then getting kicked by a goat. Furthermore, in 1975 the FDA ruled that she could only call herself a “chip” if she included the phrase, “potato chips made from dried potatoes.” Rather than adopt such a lengthy moniker she decided to call herself “crisps.”
You compliment on her dress. When you ask here where she got it she looks at you confusedly and says, “Ma made it.” Plus, her tall iconic cylindrical packaging makes her perfect for stacking approximately 100 crisps.
On her desk she has a dish of horehound candy, a picture of her pet raccoon Jasper, and a jar of what looks like lotion but it’s not lotion – it’s an emulsified blend of wheat starch, vegetable oil, salt, and other seasonings. She rubs herself with this emulsified substance regularly, telling people it makes her more addictive.
When you ask her what she’s listening to on her iPod she says, “Bringing in the Sheaves” which you believe to be an old American Gospel song inspired by Psalm 126:6 and used almost exclusively by Protestant Christians. Additionally, she tells you that soon she’ll be available in a new pickle flavor!
She declines health insurance at the new employee orientation and instead, volunteers that Doc Baker is my primary care physician and he can cure anything and asks for nothing but a loaf of Ma’s molasses bread as payment. “Besides,” she says, “unlike other chips, which are made from fried potato slices, I am made from a puree of slurried potato and corn flour and thusly rarely require a visit to my PCP.”
Her husband’s name is Almanzo. Also, she weighs 37 grams and contains 200 calories, 3.5g of saturated fat, 200 mg of sodium, 150 mg of potassium and 2g of protein.
She’s often tardy because her sister Carrie has fallen into an abandoned mine shaft. She also has her own mascot, an oval-faced man with a big bushy mustache and a red bow tie she refers to as Julius.
She once abruptly resigned because she and her friend Jonah thought they found a sizable amount of gold nuggets in the creek. She came back to work after the banker told her that it wasn’t gold – it was Pyrite. Moreover, rather than getting offended when you ask about her unique shape, she boastfully volunteers that her crisps are mathematically known as “hyperbolic paraboloids.”
In lieu of a desktop computer she uses a slate and chalk to perform most of her daily tasks. Not to mention, overseas she comes in flavors like curry, lamb and mint, black bean, paprika, seaweed, grilled shrimp, and cheeseburger.
Her father, who she refers to as Pa, is a farmer with dubious and limited agricultural acumen who frequently loses his wheat crop to grasshopper plagues, hailstorms and fires and whose barn frequently burns. But through fiddle playing and perseverance he has shown your new co-worker the meaning of unconditional love. Also, she crunches when you bite her.
When you ask her where she went to school, she says, succinctly, “Walnut Grove” then quickly changes the subject. Also, when she hears you and your co-workers surreptitiously referring to her as “Laura Pringles Wilder” rather than report you to HR, she smirks and excuses herself to use the outhouse.
Gary M. Almeter is an attorney who lives in a quaint and cozy neighborhood in Baltimore, MD with his wife, three children and beagle. His short stories, essays and humor pieces have appeared in McSweeney’s, Writer’s Bone, the Good Men Project, 1966, and Splitsider. He is the recipient of the Maryland Writer’s Association’s 2015 Creative Nonfiction Award. His first book “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” will be published in March 2019.