CONAN, $uper $aver $upermarket head bagger, Omaha: “As many of you know, I was promised the prime-time 6-11pm shift years ago from $uper $aver $upermarket. Now, I’m the first to admit that not everyone ‘gets’ my style of bagging; I don’t always stack cans, I’m not a fan of double-bagging except when six-packs are involved, and once in a while I act out by ‘forgeting’ to ask the paper-or-plastic question. Sue me—I’m a little edgy, maybe too edgy for flyover country, particularly this Omaha branch. But I defy you to find anyone who can handle zucchini with more ironic sensibility. But now, seven months into my promotion to head bagger, the market brass is saying I’m not pulling in the right numbers from the coveted 35-to-49 female demo and wants to demote me. Hey, what’s the difference between a $uper $aver $upermarket executive and the butcher’s display case? The display case has more brains.”
JAY, bus driver, New York City: “I’ve been driving the graveyard shift M15 up First Avenue for years. Then they want me to drive it down Second Avenue at 10pm. Then they change their minds again, because the senior citizens find me a comforting presence. What does the MTA stand for? ‘Massively Terrible Administrators’! Get it? Because the normal acronym is replaced with different words that allow me to take a satirical jab at their behavior. These guys are so behind the times, they should be paying their fares with tokens! Tokens, see?– not MetroCards, which have been in use for about a decade. They make more pointless personnel transfers than the Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street station, which has the most possible transfers of any single subway station. Hey–who keeps ringing the bell to get off. Oh, wait, it’s me!”
DAVE, pharmacist, Dallas: “There’s some infighting over at the RX1 pharmacy across the parking lot. You may recall that I was once employed by that fine institution. (to apprentice pharmacist) Remember that, Paul? Anyway, sounds like someone forgot to slip the Xanax in the water cooler there and replaced it with testosterone supplements. What does RX stand for? ‘Rotten Xylem’! Hey–Who wrote that awful joke, Paul?” (throws prescription bottle to sound of breaking glass)
JIMMY, 8-12 employee, Fort Lauderdale: “Man, the way they’re jerking around our hours lately, the Slurpees have much more consistency. Anyone know what 8-12 stands for? ‘Eight Employees, Twelve Different Scheduling Configurations of Inventory, Stocking, and Cashier Duties.’ ”
CARSON: unemployed, itinerant: “Hello? Anyone there? Is there a joke I can make about the acronym for the Unemployment Insurance Program?” (long pause) “Guys?”
Teddy Wayne’s debut novel, “Kapitoil,” will be published by Harper Perennial this April.