A Journal of my adventures in the world I inhabit while I'm asleep.
|I just got hired to work in an office at a major manufacturing company. A middle management drone position with good pay and benefits. I had to sign an agreement to get this job, maintaining good health was a condition of my employment. I figured I'm in pretty good shape so I signed it without reading the fine print.
My first day on the job I get there early. I'm talking to another employee, Dave, an athletic guy a few years younger than me, when I see the manager pull into the parking lot. He's driving a '60's vintage Volkswagen Beetle, black and silver, in mint condition. He gets out of the car and starts walking purposefully towards the door. A trim, older man with a small mustache, he's dressed in a black suit, black overcoat, black Homburg hat, a classic German businessman.
Dave looks out the window, chuckles, and says "Der Fuhrer has arrived."
The manager walks in the door and says to me "I'm pleased to see you are here on time, Steve. Step into my office."
Dave rolls his eyes at me as I follow the boss.
Inside the office I see an old fashioned doctor's scale. The manager motions to me, "Step up, lets see what you weigh."
I oblige, somewhat uncomfortably, as he adjusts the scale. "You're twenty pounds over your ideal weight, Steve. You must begin the company diet immediately if you wish to remain employed here."
"Isn't that discrimination, I mean about my weight?" I say.
"If you read the health agreement you signed, you'd see that's part of what you agreed to," he says. "All employees are weighed once per month. I refuse to have employees on my payroll who are overweight. Excess weight leads to diabetes, heart disease, and increased costs of medical insurance premiums for my company."
"OK, I'll start the diet. What do I need to do?"
"It's a diet plan where the company provides all your meals, the cost to you is one thousand dollars per month, deducted from your salary until you reach the required weight. You should be able to do this in three months, if you don't cheat. If you do cheat, or claim you have "low metabolism", you will be allowed to continue the diet for up to five months to lose the weight. If after five months you still have not lost the required weight, you will be terminated."
"A thousand dollars a month is pretty high, can't you just give me a list of the foods to buy?"
"The thousand dollars is more of an incentive to take this seriously, Steve. The actual cost of the food is minimal. Your meals consist of three beverages per day: a berry flavored breakfast shake, and two vegetable and protein shakes, one for lunch, one for dinner. Here's your first one, for your lunch. You may want to leave it out on your desk, it tastes better if it's warm."
I leave his office with the can of diet beverage in my hand.
At lunch time I open the can and take a sip. It tastes disgusting, like cold cheap chicken noodle soup that's been through a blender. I ask my coworker "Did you go on this diet when you got hired?"
"Yeah, it took me almost the whole five months to lose my weigh, I cheated, at first... But once I lost the weight I've been able to keep it off. I don't ever want to have to drink those terrible chicken smoothies again!"