Art Unveiling

Monday, 25-Jan-1999, 9:20am

I arrive at work. A last-minute inspection is performed.

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Monday, about 10:00am

Art Clarke arrives. He'd been planning to work at home that morning, but a strange message from a department admin asking people to "please not move the cabinet around" told him that all was not well. He knew he was in trouble when he walked into the building and saw signs directing people to his cube.

As he makes his entrance, I hop up on the work surface and scream, "ART'S HERE!". (I used to single-handedly announce the arrival of Waiters on Wheels to an entire building back when we were a mere startup... I can be pretty loud.) I hop down, power up the Radio Free Ethernet on the Sun workstation, and start talking to the gathering crowd through the amplified speaker inside Art's cube.

After going through a little routine ("you're listening to K-ART... all Art, all the time") I switch plugs and play the opening bars of Body Count's "Evil Dick" (a song, I assure you, about a malignant individual named Richard). Switching back, I commence a play-by-play of Art's activities. At a couple of points I stop and "check on Art's progress" by dialing his extension on a speakerphone. Art's rather silly phone message, which claims he's having his nails done and will be back when they're dry, draws laughter and applause.

As expected, Art goes straight for the northwest panel, standing on the work surface of the cube next to his. He gets a full view of the "BITE ME" sign, and tries to lift the panel. Whoops, tied down. He steps down, borrows some scissors, and he's back in action again. Whoops, duct tape, and it's tied in more places than he realized. I think having a crowd of 30+ people watching is spoiling his concentration.

He finally works it loose, and gets a clear view of the cube contents. Boxes, boxes, boxes. He locates the Holy Consolation Prize, which I had ineptly wrapped with the box upside-down, and proceeds to try to open it. By cutting open the sealed end. I point out to him -- and, via the amplified speaker, to most of the people on the top floor -- that turning the box over would be easier. He does, and the can of Spam is held up for all to see.

Art decides it's time to start clearing out the cube, so he vanishes inside and starts throwing boxes out. Three or four boxes come flying out of the cube, and then suddenly Art goes to lift a box... and its neighbors come with it. He's still got the scissors though, so after a brief yet well-publicized delay, he's back in the box-throwing business. For a couple of minutes, there's no sight of Art, but boxes keep flying over the edge.

Eventually the boxes are cleared, and Art cuts the remaining roof ties from the inside. With a little help from bystanders, the ceiling is removed. Art moves the printer paper boxes, swivels the cabinet, and at long last breathes again as a free man.

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Monday, 10:45am

Show's over. The candy barbed wire remains, and a few pieces of twine still cling to the cube walls, but the rest of the materials have been cleared out.

The jar with the brain remains on the shelf as a souvenir.


[ Pictures courtesy George Hartzell, digitized from 4x6 photos on a flatbed scanner. ]