Living Out Loud

A Treatise on Office Decorations


I love to look at the items people use to personalize their offices.  It seems everyone has some sort of statement to make whether they realize it or not. Even the absence of a personal touch says something. I’ll admit what is said in the office decorating language is sometimes foreign to my ears. Still, with a little close observation, I fell a lot can be learned. You are dealing with a man who practices cultural anthropology by staring at the contents of other people’s grocery baskets at the supermarket.

The most common decorations in the offices of men I don’t like are golf related. Within 50 feet of my desk are “Hole of the Day” calendars, many cute little overpriced framed pictures of golfers in knickers and Great Gatsby hats, ticket badges to the Masters etc. I wouldn’t make a joke about a hole of the day calendar for a million bucks. The framed pictures would be better if they were on black velvet and had Elvis in them somewhere. The Masters Golf Tournament is held at a course having twice as many black members (2) as it has had black tournament winners (1). Still, there are plenty of good old boy golfers. They play the game for fun and because you don’t have to be in great shape to be good. The fact that you can drink beer and drive probably doesn’t hurt. Theses people are ok. It’s only when someone feels the need to advertise their elite golf-ness that I become offended. It’s too much a statement.

My co-worker, Nancy, scares me. She has five times as many pictures of her dogs in her office as she does of her husband. She also has two stuffed pigs, some Beanie Babies, an M&M dispenser and a collection of giveaway toys from fast food kid’s meals (to include Johnny Quest and Hajji). In moments of boredom, she puts the stuffed pigs into unnatural positions.

Most office adornments are Plain Jane, vanilla, non-controversial artifacts. They consist of pictures of the family, a calendar, a favorite saying or two and that damn picture of the frog choking the heron that’s trying to swallow it. Whenever I see my mates packing this stuff up to move to another cubicle, I laugh. Why doesn’t our employer just furnish the cubicles with all of this stuff already? They could hang a couple of stock photographs on the walls (this way everybody could claim good relatives). They'd provide calendars, something ostensibly to show a little personality. Since we change offices frequently, the calendars wouldn’t necessarily be matched to the current occupant though. Conceivably I could end up with a NASCAR calendar. Oh well, maybe this is a bad idea after all. 

FYI, my personal adornments are as follows: