Creativity Will Save the World, Pt. 2

What, is the speaker a total tool? A douchebag?”

Lisa shook her head. “He’s like the opposite. I mean, I took one look at him and I want to beat him up for his lunch money, you know?”

I snickered. The idea of five-foot-nothing pacifist Lisa doing anything more aggressive than being snarky was absurd in and of itself, let alone her acting like a high school bully in a bad teen movie.

“The guy didn’t even speak when they introduced him. The big boss just walked on-stage, gave a speech about how this guy was going to paradigm shift our dynamic and blah blah, and then called him out. And then the guy staggers out like he’s drunk or on drugs or something.”

I arched an eyebrow at that. The CEO of the company was notorious for being damn near humorless. Office parties were utterly staid affairs when he was around out of the fear that drunken antics might result in a pink slip the next Monday. I couldn’t imagine that he’d have chosen to present us with a speaker as seemingly incompetent as Lisa had said.

“So then what happened?”

“The boss claps him on the back and gladhands and all of that stuff, and then the guy walks off stage and they show us the video.”

“What was the video?”

“I don’t know. Some bullshit. I don’t even remember.”

Up on the stage, a mid-level manager I didn’t recognize was trying to lead the room in a cheer and failing miserably. After a minute of prattle and forced enthusiasm, she finally ceded the floor to the guest speaker, Dr. Wyatt Shine. Or “Shiny,” to his friends.

He was a small man, both short and painfully thin. Emaciated would have been one way to describe. Diseased. Worm-infested, even. He wore large dark-framed glasses that made his own eyes look sunken and hollow, which coupled with the pallor of his skin and the unflattering interior lighting to make his head look something like a skull. His clothes were painfully ill-fitting, tight in some places and loose in others and giving him the distinct air of being lumpy. Tumorous, perhaps. And just as Lisa had said, he swayed and stumbled on his feet, drunk or drugged or possibly just brain damaged.

Frankly, looking at the man made me feel insulted that the company was wasting my time with this nonsense. The dim awareness in the back of my head that he likely made four times my annual salary didn’t help, either.

“There is no way that man’s a doctor,” I muttered under my breath.

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