My workplace has computer monitors. Extra monitors, apparently, just lying around not... ah, monitoring anything. They asked whether any employees would like to have a monitor.
I, being an employee, said, "Yes, I would very much like to have a monitor."
They said, "Great!"
I said, "How much will I owe you for said monitor?"
They said, "Nothing! They're free! Take whatever you want! One thing, though -- they're used monitors."
"Oh," I replied. "So they've had coffee dumped onto them, or a large hairy IT guy's been humping them or something?"
"Nothing like that," they said. "They've just been used, as computer screens. They're fine."
"Great! I always like to be the first large hairy guy to hump a monitor. I'll take one, please."
"We'll ignore that 'humping' thing," they said, and they did. "One other thing, though -- the monitors weigh eighty pounds."
"Eighty. And we're not helping you carry it. Or for that matter," they added, "hump it."
"I see," I said. "Can I wuss out now, then?"
"No. We've already put your name on the list. Come pick up a monitor at four o'clock."
"How heavy could eighty pounds be, anyway? Football players in the NFL can lift almost that much, probably. Surely I'm stronger than them, right?"
So, I did. I made my way to the uber-secret basement-level storeroom they specified -- I called it the 'Monitor Bunker', but they didn't seem to appreciate that. I asked whether all the monitors in the building are carried down there for protection, in case of a nuclear bomb drill. They ignored me.
When I got there, a girl from the IT group was waiting.
(I know, I know -- a girl! In IT! What's next -- male nurses? Women voters? Latvians in the NBA? The whole world's gone topsy-turvy!)
So, this IT person -- nice girl, with a very distracting diamond nose stud; I bet it shoots across the room when she sneezes, because that would be cool -- met me in the Monitor Bunker, buried deep far below the Earth's crust. And clearly, the IT group was serious about their 'no help with the carrying' policy. If the monitors weighed eighty pounds, then she weighed maybe sixty dripping wet. Skinny little thing. She could live inside a hollowed-out monitor, probably.
Along one wall of the room were thirty or so monitors, stacked and ready for vertebra-snapping lifting action. I considered several models on the second and third stacked tiers, thinking the lugging would be less laborious from a waist- or knee-level start. As I moved in for the grab, the girl said:
"That one over there's the best one. I've got one just like it at home."
"But," I protested, "that one's on the floor."
"Yeah, but it's really good quality. Those other ones go bad all the time. Plus, this one's a really cool-looking black color."
Defeated by her bullet-proof fashion logic -- and mesmerized by her bejewelled shiny honker -- I took her advice, and chose the 'good quality cool-looking black one on the floor'. I took a deep breath, bent at the knees, slipped my arms underneath, and lifted. How heavy could eighty pounds be, anyway? Football players in the NFL can lift almost that much, probably. Surely I'm stronger than them, right?
I stood and waddled the thing in the direction of my car. At that moment, I pictured myself as one of those muscled-up, shrunken-nadded goons from the World's Strongest Man competition that ESPN plays at three in the morning sometimes. Those guys are always moving rocks or cars or small Eastern European countries around, to prove that their brand of Stairmaster really is better than all the other brands. Or something.
Anyway, I recognized the things that were happening to me from watching those shows. The wobbly knees, the bulging forehead, the 'Outta the way, pregnant woman coming through!' walk -- even the unintelligible-but-unmistakable 'HIIIYYYARGGHHH!!!' that internationally translates to 'I have valiantly given my all in this battle of might and will; now can someone with unruptured biceps please pull this thing off my chest?'
So bellowing, I dropped the electronic beast and took stock to see how much further it might be to my car. "You should take a break before you try getting that thing out the door again, champ," the IT girl offered.
Apparently, I'd miscalculated when I decided not to park my car in the hallway outside the Monitor Bunker. Not cool.
Finally -- and with no life-threatening injuries, I'm happy to add -- I managed to lug the behemoth to the car and wrestle it into the back seat. Which turned out to be the easy part, given that my house lies no less than thirty-nine stairs above street level. I briefly considered calling the dog down to the car, strapping the monitor to her back, and leaving a trail of snausages up the steps. I soon rejected that plan because:
'Another monitor? Jeez, what do we need another monitor for?!'
Need? Silly thing, there is no 'need'. There is only 'get, because it's computer hardware, and I got it for free'. What is this 'need' you speak of? Clearly, she's never going to work in an IT department. She'll probably never ever pierce her nose. Not intentionally, anyway. Poor girl.
Now can somebody with unruptured biceps please pull this thing the hell off my chest?! I'm begging you.