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The Old Grey Chair

posted by TelltaleGames on - last edited - Viewed by 67 users
Not long ago, I heard Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on National Public Radio, talking about how even though he's been on the court for eleven years, he's still the junior member (not for much longer, though), so he has to get coffee for Justice Scalia. Thinking of the Supreme Court as a place where there are hazing rituals for the new guy makes it seem somehow more... human, I guess. Whether or not that's a good thing I'm not sure.



Here at Telltale, as indeed at many companies, the totem pole dictates what kind of office equipment you have. When I first stepped through the portal into the Sardine Can earlier this year, a place for me to work was hastily erected in the fifth corner, built of spare scraps of wood from the fence outside and populated with dusty items that had been rejected or broken by other people. These included the exploding computer I wrote about back in September ("Do You Smell That?"), and also The Chair That Nobody Wanted.



In a room full of sleek, black, exotic luxury model ergonomic chairs that appeared to have been individually designed for their masters, mine was clearly the Dennis. It was small and grey and insecure. It had no arms, no headrest, and no fancy upholstery. Where the others boasted control panels for adjusting pitch, yaw, lumbar pressure, core temperature, and sleep number, mine had a single lever to move it up and down. It was a simpler concept of chair from a simpler time, something you sat on, rather than in.



I liked it. I, too, am small, and it fit me pretty well. It had a warm, homey, endearing quality, like an old blanket or a dog that bumps into things. And since nobody coveted it, I could leave it unlocked at my desk without worrying about it being stolen.



Actually, that's not quite true. Nobody ever took my chair on purpose, but Telltale occasionally hosts focus groups and other varieties of midnight raves, and these usually involve at least one rousing game of musical chairs. So periodically I would come to the office to discover that my chair had been musicaled to some remote region, and I'd have to go find it. It was never very hard. Like I say, it didn't look much like the other chairs.



The chair and I grew comfortable, until I couldn't imagine another.



Then one day, after Bahamian Rain Tango Night (an event we stage from time to time to keep the plants properly watered), I came to work and there was an elegant, purring black jaguar with a headrest, a control panel and a heater core sitting at my desk, and The Old Grey Chair was nowhere to be found.



I looked everywhere. I checked the conference room, the watering hole, Troy's Office of Mystery, and the hockey court. I tied a rope to Greg Land and belayed him over the Blue Line. No sign of my little grey friend. I worried that it might have been washed away, or magically transformed into the sleek black machine by a team of upholsterers from "Extreme Makeover: Office Chair Edition." That evening, I hired Lance Watt-Knott, an expensive but talented local furniture detective, who brought over all sorts of sophisticated surveillance equipment. He set up a command post in the server room and began having coffee and donuts delivered in large quantities.



Meanwhile, I started sitting in the new chair. It was... dare I say it? Extremely comfortable. It was soft and roomy. It leaned back more easily than the Ol' Grey Chair. Its back-massage capabilities relaxed my body while the onboard internet connection stimulated my mind. I came to regard it as more of a sanctuary than a chair, and gradually, I accepted the fact that it was actually much nicer than the old one.



After a few weeks, I fired the detective. He was getting sprinkles all over the servers, but more importantly, I had moved on. I no longer wanted to go back to the frankly less comfortable comforts of the old chair. I was happier now, and more productive. The old grey chair is still out there somewhere, in a quiet grassy pasture I hope. Good luck to it. We'll always have Paris.



Like many of us, I'm a creature of habit. I find something I like and I stick with it. I've been wearing the same kind of shoes since 1979. Humans being the way they are, I don't know why anyone ever puts "new and improved" on a label. It might as well say "unfamiliar and scary."



But I sure do like my new chair.



Yes, and sometimes I take a long time getting to the point, and this blog is just about over, and I still haven't done so. I originally intended to tie this in to online software distribution.



But then, maybe I just did.











Editor's note: Dave is off sunning himself on a beach in Mexico while the rest of us slave away here. I am posting this on his behalf, but take no credit for his verbal meanderings, written or otherwise. -- HLL
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