Three “Cool” Things My Workplace Is Missing, Thankfully

pong-picDo you wish your workplace was cool? Like, you could walk into the office and be greeted by a robot offering you an expresso? A quick stop by the break room on steroids, where you consume free bonbons from a magical chocolate dispenser and put on special glasses because the morning news report on the projector screen is in IMAX. And then on to your desk (just past the game room, entertainment room, and relaxation room) where you ensconce yourself in a La-Z-Boy recliner, have Ana the Swedish supermodel massage your shoulders into soup, and begin sorting your emails as “gift certificates from boss” and “gift certificates from boss’s boss.”

Yeah right.

But it’s 2014, most of us don’t work at a paper mill anymore, and we millennials and Gen Yers expect our workplace to have a few toys. But I’m hear to tell you that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. I mean, yes, a ping pong table at work sounds ethereal. But when you’re playing ping pong at work at 6 on a Friday, you’re still AT WORK AT 6 ON A FRIDAY.

And there are lots of things like this, things all of us assume would be neat to have at work but really just blur the lines of the office and home. So here are three “cool” things my workplace is missing that I’m OK with:

1. Video Games- This is a really good idea for an office setting never. You can’t have something that fun so close to activities that can be rather mundane. Either I can fill out the TPS report or I can go pretend to fight a monster. Well unless I am allergic to having fun, I’m going to go fight a pretend monster every time. And when I’m not fighting him, the mundane task will seem that much more life-suckingly cumbersome. Plus, gamers have no self-control. If you give him, like, his favorite thing to do in the whole world he is going to abuse it. Yes, the office will be more fun. But when you swing by the entertainment room and see Zach and Dylan noshing Doritos, pounding Five Hour Energys and stinking like stale gym socks, you’ll realize why nothing has gotten done in three days.

2. Beer- It might surprise you to hear that I wouldn’t want beer at my workplace. But if there is time for a beer, then there is time to go home. Or a bar. Or somewhere I can relax without hearing my inbox ding. And there would probably be a rule like you couldn’t have one until after 5. But that’s like sitting in a bar all day and not being able to have a beer.

3. Dog- There’s nothing like a furry friend to keep us company and serve as our resident mascot. But am I willing to put up with a dog at home and at work? I’m really not interested in being late for a meeting because I stepped in something. I don’t want to tell a customer she needs to speak up because Fido is incessantly barking at a Spandexed man riding a scooter outside. I don’t want to be on the brink of an epic idea and lose it because of an unexpected and forceful snout into my crotch. Fido, STAY home.

Do you wish your workplace had something cool? Let me know what it is so that I can depress you back to reality. That’s why I’m here.

When Having an Idol Isn’t Cool Anymore (#FantasyFootball)

Have you ever wondered why you love fantasy football so much?

I sure have. I was a fantasyholic. And when I discovered why, it was one of the main reasons I stopped playing two years ago and became a recovering fantasyholic.

First though, let me be clear that one of my reasons to stop playing was not that is wasn’t fun. In fact, perhaps it was too fun. There was a time when few things exhilarated me more than watching my flex RB run for 150 and 2 TDs on a Monday night to eke out a fantasy victory. In my head I would throw a little party celebrating this dreadlocked, steel-muscled machine of a man who was great at carrying a leather ball and running away from angry men. I ate that stuff up like Refrigerator Perry at a calabash buffet. But why was I so enamored?

The easy answer is pride.

I pick better players than you. On draft night while you were scouring your cheat sheet for top-10 kickers I was taking a flyer on a rookie wide receiver and pasting your tail with him in Week 8.

I also start the right guys. Every week. I sat my number one receiver because he was gonna be on Revis Island, and I started a waiver wire white boy named Pete Pickles who went for 179 and a score. I own you like a Jerry Jones oil field.

So pride provided some fugacious happiness until I lost and had to make excuses for what went wrong. They stacked the box against MJD. Foster had a groin flare. My whole starting lineup was on a bye week and I had to start a guy on my bench who happened to be missing a leg. There was almost always an excuse for not winning; my pride was at stake.

Yet pride was not what drove my complete attention to this little game. Sure, it was a factor in why I would obsess over my lineup right until the 1 o’clock kickoff. But there was a deeper, more insidious problem I had with playing fantasy sports. This problem actually made me think about fantasy sports 24/7.  If pride was the hors d’oeuvre that readied me for my fantasy meal, this problem was the midnight buffet binge on the Carnival cruise.

Some of us may jokingly refer to this obsession as a man crush. Rightfully so. But a more serious label, that defined my experience, was idolatry.

Well what does that look like? For me, it looked like staring at my roster and admiring each athlete for his special talents for minutes on end. It looked like watching a game and not taking my eyes off a player, no matter where he was or what he was doing on the field. It looked like watching one of my guys get hurt and having my heart sink with fear and worry of losing his talents (points, really). It looked like sitting in bed and contemplating my players’ greatness, and falling asleep to visions of Megatron dancing in my head. Frankly, it looked like sitting in church on Sunday and fretting over my guy being a game-time decision. I was worshipping the Father, Son, and Adrian Peterson.

So who cares? A few man crushes are pretty harmless, right? Not for me. And maybe not for you, either. You see, I found it very natural and exciting to become so infatuated with a hero. I am so driven to praise something. Yet, how empty I felt when my guy went down, when my team lost, when the season ended. Once again, my idolatry ended in disappointment. It wasn’t wrong to praise something. That’s innate with all of us. It’s praising the wrong thing that is wrong. It was praising everything I wasn’t meant to praise while ignoring the one Thing that I was.

I’m not tying to get you to stop playing fantasy football (as if you’d listen to me anyway). In its purest state, it is a harmless, fun little game. My problem was I couldn’t keep it that way. In a world replete with things to praise, I chose something (or some men) who were unworthy of the cloying admiration I heaped on them with my heart. No amount of fantasy points was worth that.