A short while ago, the ever-gorgeous and insightful reader, 'River', expressed curiosity about my professed aversion to cardigans.
There are in fact, two reasons for this pathological distaste: one, the actual clothing item itself which I've always hated; and two, the types of people who have worn them throughout my employment history. I explained this a year or two ago, but for those of you who find my revulsion inexplicable, read on.......
Despite the fact that I belong squarely within the 'Administration' sphere myself, most of the administratum anuses (anii? anoose??) I have to deal with are just that - arseholes clogging up efficiencies because their fat filing fingers are up their own ........my brain tells me that you have the ability to complete this sentence yourself.
Perhaps I'm lumping too many of my fellow university administrators (whom I tend to refer to as 'Cardigans') in the same wastepaper basket, but - give me strength - I have yet to see any evidence to the contrary that most of them do not merely exist to ensure that I still have to wear my double-strength mouthguard at night in order to prevent cracking my crowns in teeth-clenching frustration. In fact, if I dared refer this blog to a certain bonehead on a neighbouring campus, she'd be likely to point out that the first sentence of this paragraph is far too long and I'd do much better to have a good read through the uni's 'Style and Formatting Guidelines for External Correspondence.'
The worst thing though, is that I have to email/nod/say "Ooh, that's helpful" really politely because without a successful liaison with these soul-sucking simpletons the thing I must get done won't get done without them. As with most large government departments, companies and corporations, these little dropkicks have created many intricate levels of task requests, online job logging, permission forms, account codes, invoice duplication, 'help desk' contacts and, perhaps most ironic of all, 'customer service portals' that even a naked, chocolate-slicked and willing George Clooney wouldn't be able to break through.
Any reasonable effort made to speak to a living, breathing Cardigan without formally completing the Delegations Directory is rebuffed or referred to voicemail where it lingers longer than a Christmas ham at a Jewish Vegan convention. Even when you do try your best to complete the hellish paperwork, they are always designed by Satan. Yes, Satan. On every page, in the greyed-out 'For Office Use Only' sections there are secret little compartments that spew your application back to you via internal mail (or via sea urchin, whichever is slowest), stamped in red with 'Incomplete data. Please include your unit's cost codes.'
On no account are these carcinogenic Cardigans ever prepared to explain to you exactly what information you left out or what they need to be able to help you. No, that would be robbing them of their power, wouldn't it? Let's face it - if you're single, 43, living in a flat with seven cats/chins and some plastic trolls blue-tacked to your computer monitor, you're not exactly a raging success in life, are you? Therefore, what better way to boost your self esteem than to possess the only key to the stationery cupboard and take an unpublicised flex day during a 3,000 strong survey mail-out?
Furthermore, you must never, ever make the assumption that their ability to excrete all over your executive existence only falls within office administration. Sadly, these post-it ponces will always fly into an email rage if anyone dares to fling out their tub of yoghurt that was dated before the first Bush got into office, moves their indoor fern ten centimetres to make way for a filing cabinet or leaves a coffee cup ring on the boardroom table. If they don't choose to chuck a tantie in cyberspace, they'll instead spend all morning designing a badly-spelled, printed sign to stick all over the offending fridge door/dumb waiter/vacant desk; thus avoiding having to work on the pesky things like the urgent phone calls from world-renowned professors stranded by militia at the Botswana international airport or the toilet now leaking into the reception area.
Sadly, there is no known, long-term effective solution to rid the universe of this determined breed of sub-human. All I do to cope is try to imagine a worse alternative. You know, something like having a puffer fish swim up my left nostril and inflate itself; bending over for a rectal examination in the middle of Rundle Mall during the post-Christmas sales or being forced to have sex with Philip Ruddock. It actually does help to reduce the pain a few notches.