Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm a Sucka Trick Broker

My company's holiday party was last Friday night. You might notice that I ditched the Old Lady Thrift Store dress. Talked myself right out of it. Maybe it was the pleated, puffy shoulders that only work with a Lucy Ricardo set and press. Or maybe the mustiness especially around the pits. Or the bare-thread crepe that I believe revealed my panties. Sigh. After rejecting the dress, I then clawed -- tore away in a panic -- through my tight-ass closet until I found this old thing. This old grey-brown BCBG strapless bedazzled in sequins which was crammed behind the Salvation Army Give Away bag. I had bought it three years ago for a night wedding after reluctantly stumbling into BCBG in yet another dress panic and found it on the 50% off rack, my exact size the only left.

This year's party was similar yet one-upped from last year because brokers like to do things drenched in over-the-topness. The dinner was conservative and wedding-reception pleasant. This is when we warm up, do side bends and quad stretches for what's to come later in the evening. This is when we comment -- a lot -- about how we all clean up well, because it's true, and this is when our two bosses give speeches with Oscar-winning sincerity: We are a Team, a Family (eyes glisten). Our sales are up 66% because of YOU, Team, exceptional workers, you. But -- here comes the fine print -- there will be no raises in salary or bonuses this year; in fact we're slashing your commission under the guise of corporate restructuring and adding new, evasive incentive (*wink*) programs (aka, we're gonna pay you less no matter what you do). All this in spite of that sick spike in sales and profit because we'll be putting the money back into the company by hiring pricey, fumbling middle management that do the corporate tap dance superbly (to the untrained eye) and we will be investing in a monumental software package (whether it's more efficient or not) oh, and we're also getting two "company" cars, a Porsche for Boss 2, a Mercedes for Boss 1. (If you think this is hyperbole, ho ho ho, then you don't know brokers infected with greedy-guts broker syndrome.) We clink glasses. "Here's to 2007!" And more mad growth on the backs of you, exceptional workers! Bottoms up 'cause we might as well enjoy the blinging party and generous open bar.

I actually didn't know the exact bahumbug details of the company's new Corporate 101 changes until after the party; a couple days ago in fact. I've been nauseous ever since. I feel like a sucker. A trick that's taking a pay cut from her pimp.

The gluttonous call of broker money is intoxicating. I'm not going to lie. I've lounged around it for 15 years. I've run my fingers through its hair. I've condemned it plenty though many times I've secretly wished for more of the pie. Mostly, I wish I would just chew my leg free from the trap already. But any whiff of it makes me fiend a little; makes me panic when I remember living off of generic hot dogs and worn-out clothes and one pair of shoes for the year and fucking food stamps, and I regress to a less-enlightened Madness. Broker money is so manipulative that I forget my true self sometimes and this is when I feel most like a trick. The gushing siphon of ludicrously high-margin deals where scrappy hustlers -- who could just as well be scoring 20's from three-card monte on the subway -- find themselves with piles of money. It fuels the fire, the piles. If there's one pile, there must be a nest of piles lurking. There always is. Then spending the piles becomes sport. Throwing it around in the most ostentatious ways is a must on a broker's profile. But then they pull the purse strings at the most perplexing times. A hustler wants to be known for the things that their piles can buy; they want to be known for their erratic and over-the-top generosity. It's like they throw wads of 100's in the air and we suckas scramble on the floor to retrieve them, but a raise to cover practical cost of living increases is a greedy request on our part. Deep inside a hustler is always thinking that someone's out to hustle their pile. Control the pile, no matter how illogically, and control the people hovering around the pile. This is the driving logic.

So, the party . . .Brokers know how to rage, even if they are the machine. They don't worry about how embarrassed they'll be in the morning or about the bruises their antics will leave. They are only concerned about the full-tilt satisfaction of the exact moment. And that makes for a good party.

It's not a broker party until the following things have happened:
* Someone has fallen
* Someone has caused another person to fall
* We've crashed a large corporate party being held at the same hotel at the same time
* We've taken musical instruments off the stage of the crashed party and played them until they are taken away from us
* We've taken other peoples clothing and/or hats and paraded around in it for at least a half hour.
* We've torn clothing
* Hit on another person's wife
* Someone's thrown up
* We've danced the patented back-bend, raise-the-roof, bite-the-bottom-lip dance
* Given away expensive, electronic gifts in our annual Steal the Best Present from the Little Guy Game
* We've complained about every aspect of the party
* We've put underwear on our heads

I might've missed a few.

During the Steal A Present Game, the brand new CFO (the paint isn't dry on his office walls yet) stole the prized XBox from an employee that has worked at the company since the beginning. My girl Teri was appalled that an officer of the company, that's only been with us a week, would take the best present from a veteran no less, while, sadly and classically, the rest of us thought, Nice move, rich New Guy. Portable DVD's were swiped and the finest digital cameras and iPod stations. I happened to open (see above) a hot dog griller fashioned into a mini carnival cart. I got the mini Weenie Cart with Bun Warmer covered in a red and white striped canopy. YAH! Everyone nearly fell on the floor at the irony; no one likes to smoosh my veganism in my face more than Orange County brokers. Oh they howled (though it was pretty funny, especially the look of horror on my face when the wrapping came off). Every TofuDog joke in the world spewed my way. Pats on the back went to my husband congratulating him on maybe finally getting some meat in the house. Deadpan, I said, "awesome." Then in an act of kind, anti-brokerism, Teri stole the hot dog griller from me so that I could choose another present. Bless you, T. I then picked an iPod Shuffle and I squealed with bamboozled, drunk-on-broker-fatness-again joy. I am a sorry-ass sucka.

Here are some party pictures as I contemplate my sobering review that's coming next Tuesday. This is when my cuts will be made official and when I may have to draw a line in the sand between the brokers and the real Madness.

Raise the roof, Ma!

Take it, Trick

Not his coat

Not his wife

The beautiful Ma and I winding down. I noticed I was doing that security-blanket thing with my thumb.

Whatever happens, I'll always have him. 'Til the wheels fall off, Papi.


Melinda said...

Wow, am I first? I'm never first.

"Brokers know how to rage, even if they are the machine." Hee! You so funny.

Chris said...

Quit. Start writing.

Anonymous said...

Chris took the exact words out of my mouth. You should be writing full time. My heart is actually *pounding* right now....

bettyboop said...

TAKE IT, TRICK!!! ha, ha, hilarious! those bastards! i say, tell 'em, "no raise, no madness!" and watch them backpedal.
you looked gorgeous, by the by.

acumamakiki said...

I can't believe you ended up with the weenie wagon and what a girl Terri, to take the weenies and get you a shuffle!
You and your man are so hot Madness, truly. I love the goatee, it totally suits him and you always look amazing girl.
I hope your review goes well although it sounds like it's going to be a song and dance and I think in 2007, big changes will happen because of it.

Anonymous said...

you two are hot! i hope you start writing too. i am glad you didn't take home a weenie machine :)

Maven said...

Sheeit, you *work* for the weenie machine. At least you looked like a fucking star. I'm with the rest of these cats. As soon as it's feasible, get your amazing self out of there and write for a living. You can do it.

madness rivera said...

HHAHAHAHAH - yes, I work for the weenie machine.

Thank you for the encouraging get-your-ass-writing words. I take them seriously and to heart as I have when my in-the-flesh friends tell me the same. I'm eliminating fear now and things will be achanging soon.

Kathleen said...

"til the wheels fall off, papi..."

that is the best.

and you two are aDORable!!!!!!!

feliz navidad, beautiful, gorgeous, talented lady. xoxo

and yes. writewritewritewrite.

Anonymous said...

Your experience of an evil corporate Christmas party rings completely true. as I have attended my share. Unjust enrichment, screwage for the rank and file, celebration of crappy management and their nefarious Bush-like schemes -- it's the same in every (male-dominated) industry, from aerospace to security.

Skip this crapola and just write, or teach people how to eat better. I earned more money than I'll ever earn again in my life at those shitty late-90's jobs, and it just wasn't worth it. The money's gone -- it always goes -- and I am much better off as a writer and editor. I think the same will be true for you.

Bless you, Madness.

tina said...

How pretty are you? Very, very pretty.

Ward Jenkins said...

Ah, this is great! Great post, madness. (I concur with the writing thing. You are a natural.) And it's wonderful to see your bright and shiny faces at the end there -- Andrea and I miss you guys and hope to see you again soon!