John Boston | Singed Underwear or How to Take a ‘Brief Survey’…

John Boston

A friend of mine noted that the devil never comes at you spewing threats and garlicky breath. Rather, he approaches by placing a friendly hand on your back, as if you were lifelong friends. And, sadly, you are. He will sigh and suggest: “Would you like to take a few minutes of your day to participate in a brief survey?”

I’ll respond to a question with a question: “Would you like to take a few minutes of your day to pull down your britches and wiggle your bare heinie onto the 11,003-degree unwashed grill at Burger King?”

Satan being Satan, he’d probably smile and answer: “I’d be willing to give that a try…”

If you work for an insurance company. If you’re at the checkout of a big box store. If you’re selling lozenges, llamas, Glow-In-The-Dark Hillary In 2020 Commemorative Rectal Thermometers, artificial limbs, dental floss, mental floss or a Special Two-For-One Lobotomy Sale at corner strip mall clinic, know this. I don’t want to take your survey.


Damn you.

I took a survey. Once. It was years ago. It was from a company where I had been employed as “Slave.” I put in years of hard work, made nosebleed profits for the mother ship and displayed staggering levels of proficiency and speed that would cause today’s alpha artificial intelligence robot to throw up his lobster-like grabbers and sob: “Oh, heck! What’s the use — I can’t compete with this guy!!”

After punting my carcass for the ongoing sin of competency, human resources from a distant part of America, the region where people don’t own shoes and got their derrieres handed to them in the Civil War, mailed me a sunny questionnaire. First query: “Now y’all don’t just flatter us. Share y’all’s feelings on what y’all thought of management running y’all’s company into the ground — be an honest Injun!”

“Well,” I said to myself, worrying an invisible moustache, “since you asked…”

I scribbled a ream of paper alone describing working for the owner’s son. I can’t quite recall the goober’s name. Something like Bobby-Dale-JimBob Jr. The Mutt. Wrote I:

“Behind his back and to his face, many pointed out that Jr. was dumber than a bag of grits. Au contraire says I. Junior was smarter than most bags. The grits? Jury’s still out. It was a monument to diversity in that I had never worked with a hairless albino human suppository before, although Jr.’s inability to stop the oozing of lubricants from his pores was both gross, sexually aggressive in an other-species kind of way and corrosive on the carpeting and cheap corporate furniture.”

I added that I just LOVED Jr. as that little Dobby gnome with the big pointy ears bouncing on the bed in the ill-fitting Gandhi diapers in the first “Harry Potter” movie.

Years later, I’m still waiting for that letter of recommendation from corporate.

And how come I never get ahead in life, I ask.

You’d think with my gift for unasked-for opinions, I’d be hanging around Yelp like a drunk outside a saloon. Businesses beg that I leave a fawning comment about them. I don’t think my favorite Siamese food diner envisions me reviewing: “OMG! There were people walking around this restaurant FROM THAILAND!!!”

Nor would my local dentist, Emir-Mowgli Rectoblatz, appreciate my helping hand on Google Reviews:

Dear Google Reviews:

Damn Dr. Rectoblatz to perdition! I went in for a routine cleaning and he put me under, painted my gums purple then forced me to have his baby.

Best wishes for your continued success,

Mrs. Rectoblatz

Oftentimes, sales personnel will adopt a sense of urgency, as if management will kill them if they’re docked one more less-than-perfect score. Fine. I’ll play.

Dear Acme Auto:

Despite all my pleadings, your alleged salesman, Bob (I don’t think that’s his real name), failed to sell me that generic white Buick on my sixth consecutive visit to your dealership. Worse, he used his laser pointer to draw lewd pictures on your big, intrusive portrait and told me not to whine, as many customers, because of a “new California law,” are required to pay 422 percent over sticker and take it like a man.

I admit. I got angry. I grabbed for his laser pointer. We wrestled. I got control of it and started shining it on his feet, ordering him to dance or I’d cut him off at the ankles. On the bright side, I’m giving Bob an “8” because he was enthusiastic and easy to dance to but just gets a “2” because I couldn’t understand his lyrics.”


Bob “I’m Going European” Kellar

I’m weary of being asked to take surveys. Buying shop towels, gum, Russian brides or an Allen wrench. Enough. No more surveys.

Mark my words. Soon will come the day when a salesgirl with a clipboard will cheerily crouch next to me to ask if I wouldn’t mind sharing a few hundred thousand words on my present experience.

Which, of course, will be at a public drinking fountain…

John Boston is a local writer. Who happens to be the most prolific satirist in world history. Right here in Newhall.

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