Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Text Message Roller Coaster

Yesterday was a particularly boring day at work, and since I no longer have access to facebook on my work computer, (thank you hospital IT assholes), I decided that I would conduct a social experiment. I picked 10 random friends in my cell phone and sent them a series of text messages. But, instead of the usual, “Hey, what’s up?” message, I decided to get a little more creative. The messages I sent started off as innocent, but quickly escalated to strange, then to concerning, and then finally to down right ridiculous.

My first message came across kind of silly, but otherwise pretty normal:
Employee evaluations are today. Do you think it would be conspicuous if I asked what I’m supposed to do here?

Here are some of the better responses:

“Good! Get a raise!”

“Good luck!”
“Not if you ask it inconspicuously…”

“Watch out for them. I got canned at my evaluation.”

“What does conspicuous mean?”

I had now set the stage for what would be a wild ride on Johnson’s text message roller coaster. I decided I would use the next message to push the story into a more comical place…

The Boss asked me what I do for our company. I snarled at him and said “What DON’T I do for this company?” (I’m nailing this.)

Here were some of the responses:

“Maybe you should be professional and stop texting. That doesn’t tend to look good.”

“That’s not a good way to get a raise.”

“What are you doing?”

“Seriously, what does conspicuous mean? Is that a good thing or bad?”

After a few more texts about how I was sabotaging my career, I decided it was time to take this from comically awkward to completely ridiculous.

Boss asked if I had any ideas for company growth. I pointed at my crotch, smiled and said “Give me a minute.”


“What the hell is going on? Are you insane?”


“I’m starting to think you’re trying to get fired.”

“…Okay is this really happening? Because I’m pretty sure that would make you a prick.”

My next message furthered the idea that I was slowly losing my mind.

Boss asked why I charged a $500 jet pack to the company. I blamed it on terrorists. He said he was going to investigate. I need to find someone who looks like a terrorist and pin it on them.

Jet packs...the next big step in medical advocacy.

At this point the responses started coming in a lot quicker. Most were confused as to how I charged a jet pack to my company…

“Seriously? How can you even pretend that’s a business expense?”

“Did you try and cover it up as something else? Like $500 worth of pens?”

“What website did you find it on? Can you buy a jet pack online?”

…but some were more offended.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU. You want to find someone who looks like a terrorist? What like a Muslim? That’s so racist. I’m very disappointed in you.”

“Johnson, seriously I think you need to turn yourself in. You could get in a lot of trouble. You’re beyond fraud at this point; you’re talking about framing someone. Call me man, let’s talk.”

“You have a jet pack and you didn’t tell me? That's it, our friendship is over.”

I assumed at this point everyone would realize this was a joke, and have a good laugh at my boredom attacking their naivety. But, because I don’t know when to leave well enough alone, I decided to keep going. I discovered that not everyone realized this was a joke after my next text.

Boss caught me watching The Dark Knight instead of working, and asked me to explain myself. I asked if he wanted to see a magic trick. He took all the pencils out of my office.

I thought it was clearly too silly to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, I found that some people have no sense of humor when it comes to Heath Ledger.

“Johnson, the Joker is not someone you should look up to. I’m getting worried about you. Do you want me to come up and visit?”

“If the whole jet pack thing doesn’t get you fired I’m sure blaspheming Heath Ledger will do it. Have you no respect for the dead?”

“All you do is rip off movies, I’m so sick of it. You try to come across like you’re original but you constantly steal other people’s material. I hope you die.”

It's just a text message folks...why so serious?

I realized that I touched some sort of nerve with the last message. I decided it was time to wrap this little experiment up with the following text…

Boss asked me to give him a reason for him not to fire me. I responded with “Give me a reason why you SHOULD.” He then gave several…I was not expecting that. On a completely unrelated topic, does anybody know of any job leads?


“I would never recommend you for a job. You would get fired and it would reflect poorly on me. I can’t believe you got away with us much as you did.”

“Yeah I have a job lead…it’s called being a jack ass. Good news, you’re the only one eligible.”

“Ha! Good luck loser.”

“I still don’t know what conspicuous means.”

What did I learn from this experiment? Not much really, other than which of my friends are the easiest to mess with. Feel free to use this experiment yourself, I promise it will alleviate boredom for at least a couple of minutes.

Happy texting!

1 comment:

  1. For your information, you were annoying me when you did this. I was just like wtf, which is why you got limited responses out of me, but just so you know, mine were the funniest. haha.