I work in a marketing firm. About a year ago, I sold my bosses on a new brand campaign, complete with a shiny new hashtag for the social medias. I promised them it would be a great way to engage with their audience and establish a distinctive brand and everything else they pay me to tell people.
So when the bosses asked us to start tweeting with the hashtag I created, I felt a little bit obligated to jump on it. They were offering a $25 gift card to whoever wrote the best tweet by 5pm on Thursday, ahead of a conference we were hosting.
Unless you have the memory of a goldfish, you know how this part goes: I won the contest.
I immediately felt horrible. I searched the hashtag on Twitter to see who else wrote a tweet. Almost no one. I wrote two and my boss wrote some (she’s a hell of a lot more prolific with her “professional” twitter account than I am with mine) but for the most part, no one else had submitted a tweet. Really, they didn’t have a choice but to hand me the prize. I won by default–which is the only way I win ever.
No one else may have tweeted, but that didn’t stop everyone from crying foul. And it got ugly.
Jim was the first to jump. He replied to the company-wide email announcing that I would have $25 worth of branded caffeine on the company with “I’ve seen more eloquent words tattooed on a hooker’s infected crotch.”
Then I walked into a presentation I was supposed to give with Kirsten. As soon as I did, she said: “Oh yeah,” slowly clapping, “the guy who invents the hashtag wins the contest to support the hashtag. BRA-VO! He’ll just use the Starbucks gift card to get $25 worth of PSL’s because he’s a wuss!” Short pause.”You and YOUR hashtag suck!”
The client was on the speakerphone at the time and jumped on “PSLs? What a pussy! I want that jackwagon off the account!”
“Oh he gone,” Kirsten said through her smile as I beat a path to the door.
In the hall, Steve was waiting for me. He shoulder-checked me into Leslie who yelled “HASHTAG PSL PINBALL!” and shoulder-checked me into the wall.
I stumbled down the hall. Just as I was about to pass Adam’s stall, Adam’s foot appeared. I went flying. “Hashtag oops.”
When I got to my desk, my monitor was covered in a huge red hashtag. The projects were all erased from my whiteboard, written there in red: “#WINNERWINNERCHICKENDINNER.” I tried erasing it, but it wasn’t written with dry erase marker and it just smeared red all over.
There was a dead pigeon in my chair. It was stuffed into a venti Starbucks cup. The name written on the side “HASHTAGJAG.”
I had to get out of there. I picked up my backpack and it was really heavy. And ticking.
I dropped it and headed toward the elevators. I pushed the button and the doors opened and Joe Biden stepped off, his hand already in a fist, “Oh you’re going down all right, bitch!” And that fist landed right in my solar plexus whatever the hell that is, knocking the wind out of me. I would have fought back because he’s an old ass man, but the secret service wasn’t so secret and Biden kept kicking me, yelling, “HASHTAG OBAMACARE! HASHTAG PSL PUSSY! HASHTAG DIRTY DIRTY CHEAT!”
When he exhausted himself, he tossed an Affordable Care Act pamphlet on me, straightened his tie, ran a hand through his hair, and got back on the elevator.
Then Ron showed up and kicked me “That was the Vice President you asshole! Show some respect! I don’t have time for this!” Then he walked away. I was alone.
I crawled up and pushed the elevator button again and, mercifully, the elevator closest to me opened. It was empty. I crawled in. The doors closed. The elevator began moving. Then the lights went out and it stopped between floors.
I heard them taunting me.
They debated whether or not to cut the elevator cables. They decided against it because as Melanie put it: “It probably has some emergency fail-safe that stops the elevator from crashing. If we cut the cables, that’s attempted murder. Not worth it. Now if we knew for sure that it would crash and kill that thing? Well . . .”
I was safe.
Sometime later, I heard someone say “let’s make it an outhouse.” But by then there really wasn’t any fury left.
After three days the door opened.
Paul, the guy who picked my tweet as the winner, dragged me up and told me “Get back to work, dumbass,” shoving my dehydrated self into the lobby.
I was tossed back to my desk. The pigeon was still there. And so was the stench of death.
I still don’t have my gift card.