Last week, Bloomberg published a piece on Americans trying to get in shape before heading back to the office. It used the words “sausage casing” and explored how weight loss industries are booming.
It went over like an ice cube in hell. In no time, “Office Bod” was trending with resounding mockery, amid the last gasps of our moribund diet and hustle cultures. I celebrated the torching of these twin evils by opening a fresh Rice Krispies Treat and doomscrolling when I should have been working.
Some points of order on Office Bod:
If you have a bod and work in an office, you have an Office Bod. Congrats! Now, if you’re trying to achieve some perceived level of attractiveness in time to mix with co-workers, that’s a whole other thing. An entire movement born from this bad idea starts with “me” and ends with “too.”
Are we in agreement? We’re going to heal our collective fatphobia instead of cutting carbs to look thinner while making copies. We’re not going to comment on anyone’s body, even if Melinda seems to have grown an entirely new elbow in the middle of her head. We’re not going to drink scary diet teas that create fever dreams, like that time Tony Soprano ate bad mussels.
Still, there is room for improvement. Indeed, many are emerging from the Zoom cube more awkward and stupid than ever. Instead of worrying about bodies, here are some office habits to brush up on when facing a return to cubicle life:
Relearn to drive and drink Starbucks at the same time. You will definitely spill hot matcha latte on your gearshift. Be prepared with fast food napkins in the console, and wear long pants to ward off burns.
Your punctuality is amiss after commuting from bed to kitchen counter. Build in extra time. If you are late because you went to Starbucks, drink fast before you get inside so no one knows you’re late because you went to Starbucks.
Practice elevator small talk. When Horatio from accounting asks how your pandemic went, don’t reply that you’re still growing a scallion in a mason jar, and that one long scallion is crushing you under the weight of its symbolism. That repels others! Just say, “What a strange time,” and smile at the floor.
Speaking of food, do not eat anything on the community table. Sure, that bagel may look enticing, but it has been there since March 2020, and it is now a horcrux that will split your soul, and teeth, into several pieces.
Remember, you can’t turn your camera off. You have to look engaged the entire meeting. That means nodding in the manner of a possessed bobblehead. When called on to comment, say, “I’d like to piggy back on what Carl said,” and go back to nodding.
Comfort and safety are paramount. Find casual, friendly ways to discuss vaccination. Instead of “How about those Tampa Bay Rays?” try, “How about those Pfampa Pfay Pfizers?” Don’t forget to smile and nod.
Discuss current events with authority. Yes, you have watched Instagram videos of Pomeranians in bowties for a year, but no one needs to know. Billionaires are going into space, which is basically the same thing. You got this!
Remember, everyone else is awkward, too. If someone is smiling and nodding, return the favor. Just stand there smiling and nodding at each other until eight hours pass, then get up and do it again. After a while, it will start to feel normal.
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