There are no other dads at the elementary school drop-off corral, it’s a maze of mini-vans and stress-masks with encouraging signs near the choke point closest to the school reading “Synergize”: the sign says synergize. In other words, be nice people and it will all work out.
But people aren’t nice, they’re stupid. They slow down right in front of you to read and respond to a text message right away, or they’re using voice recognition apps with their phones and barking into them in that urgent but self-conscious way like a crime scene in Hill Street Blues.
I know what synergize means even though it’s not a real word, it’s one of those corporate words made up by some DB like Steven Covey, as our school has adopted the 7 Habits and carefully knitted them into the kids so they’re ready to start making checklists and serve on cross-functional teams, to perform.
The irony is that I should be able to get people to do things as a former project manager but just like at work, no one listens to me at home either. They require lists and regular stand-ups to review their progress. And when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do it’s your fault, the project manager.
What started out innocent enough with my free time — to get closer to my dog — is slipping into something different now, as I’ve been talking more and more to her and believe she really understands me, is starting to govern my thoughts.
Last night I ran a search, “man turns into dog” to see what would come up, and learned about Therianthropy. I also developed a rash on the small of my back which I assumed was from my backpack rubbing me raw there, but when I got back into a deep spinal twist to examine it and could just about reach it with my chin, I had the urge to bite it for some reason. It seemed the rash was alive, colonizing.
As I was getting into the hot tub, Dawn said she’s concerned about me and wishes I would put down the David Foster Wallace and pick up something nice and fluffy, like Mitch Albom.
But I worked on a Mitch Albom project at work, which catapulted me back to conference rooms and schedules, and a lot of eye-rolling and sighing from the over-taxed people who had to come together and support a Mitch Albom initiative, which was to carry books in Starbucks stores, host reading events, and make sure no one fucked anything up because we were spending PR money on it, or maybe Mitch was, and the goal was to sell books and keep the condiment bars clean which is near impossible, like living with kids.
But I gave him a chance and read the book about people you meet after you’re dead and it’s true: the book couldn’t offend anyone, so millions of people read it and it sure was easy reading alright, which can make you feel proud you’ve accomplished something, you finished the whole book with nary a need to look anything up, but can’t remember anything BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED.
And so for my days and my writing nothing is going to happen either, but you can be damn sure you’ll feel different after for better or for worse. Synergize.