Yesterday, at 4:31pm, I got called into my boss Sheila's office. I sat across from her as she stared at me from behind her desk.
SHEILA: What you're wearing today might be considered inappropriate.
ME: Really? What's wrong with it?
SHEILA: Well, for starters, you're wearing a T-shirt. You should be wearing a shirt and tie.
ME: My bad.
SHEILA: And what's written on your T-shirt... it's upsetting people.
ME: Oh. I wasn't aware. This T-shirt was given to me as a Christmas present.
SHEILA: It says I hate Derek. Derek... doesn't really know what to make of it.
ME: Must be a popular T-shirt. Big seller, I guess.
SHEILA: It's handwritten in black marker. And Derek is spelled wrong. You have two K's and three R's.
ME: It was given to me that way. Probably an import.
SHEILA: Who gave it to you?
ME: Secret Santa. We pick names from a hat every year in my wife's family. So really, I have no way of knowing who wanted to upset Derek.
SHEILA: Eric... do you hate Derek?
I paused then, as Sheila stared straight into my eyes. I felt stuck. Cornered.
SHEILA: Do you?
ME: How I feel about Derek and what's written on my T-shirt are two completely different things. Really, I don't know why Derek is making such a big stink. I really don't like that guy.
SHEILA: I'll say a word. And then you tell me the first word that comes to mind.
SHEILA: I want you to go home now. And I never want to see that T-shirt again.
ME: What? You don't like the color? Too much maroon?
SHEILA: And that gold medal you're wearing. Derek won that at the Company Olympics. I want you to return it to him.
I clutched my gold medal.
ME: This is the only thing I've ever won in my life.
SHEILA: You return it, and then go home.
ME: Can I ask you a question? Do you hate me?
ME: Be honest. Who would you marry? Me or Derek?
SHEILA: Get out.
ME: Would you have Derek's baby?
ME: Are you and Derek having dinner tonight, and then laughing behind my back?
SHEILA: I'm married. Get out. Now.
ME: Fine. Say hi to Derek for me, when you see him tonight.