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Chapter 7
Girls and Boys and Other Naughtiness

Ask the Tech Answer Guy About Putting That Disgusting Thing In Your Mouth

Yo, Tech Answer Guy,

Four years ago, I emigrated to Earth from Qwom (pronounced: Regigulous) as part of a corporate trade mission. As some of you may know, we Qwombats gave Earth plans for Shrievepark (pronounced: Drek) warp drives; in return, you gave us 20 DVD copies of the complete Fawlty Towers. (You originally wanted to give us 10 DVD copies of The Best of Benny Hill, but you clearly underestimated our mad haggling skillz (pronounced: skills).)

I will admit that adjusting to life on your planet was hard at first. It took me several months, for instance, to get over my revulsion at the fact that human beings wear their skeletons inside their bodies - I mean, how are you able to stand upright? And, how are you able to accomplish anything with only one thumb on each hand (Qwombats may only have four digits per, but we're all thumbs!)? Still, I was making great progress: I was able to interact with the humans in my office for several hours at a stretch without soiling my grefstrables. Much.

Then, I attended the company's ChristmaKwaanzUkah party.

I brought enough of my own liquid refreshment, distilled from the eggs of the Jubjub bird - they make a wicked Frumious Bandersnatch! - to share with several entities. Unfortunately, none of my human co-workers were tempted by the drink's deliciously sulfurous aroma, but, I wasn't offended? More for me, right?

Over the course of the evening, humans in black and white attire brought us trays of small edible things which they called "can of peas." At least, I think that's what they were called - my translator hiccoughed whenever the word was spoken, so I cannot be certain. Before I left Qwom, I had been warned to avoid human foodstuffs as our bodies are so dissimilar, which could make the ingestion of them quite unpleasant. However, my boss, Marisa Meckler, was scarfing down can of peas as fast as she could grab them off the trays, and insisted that they were so good that the rest of us had to try them - we just had to try them!

At first, I quoted famed physician Platz the Unforgiven on the genetic incompatibility between our species; unfortunately, the translation from the original Qwombish made it sound like I was complaining about your species' lack of body odour. When Marisa Meckler reminded me that my five and three sixteenths month assessment was coming up, I looked at the food on the tray and thought, It's so small. What could eating one or two - or 16 - possibly hurt?

Well! Eating a can of pea - or 16 - curled my carapace. That's not a euphemism for the effects of a strong alcoholic beverage, either: my back bent so badly that my head seemed to be permanently looking over my shoulder plate. As you can imagine, this gave me a new-found respect for peripheral vision! Of course, I couldn't explain what had happened without embarrassing my boss, so when co-workers asked if anything was wrong, you know, with my head, I explained that I was just going through puberty. A highly unexpected, somewhat delayed puberty for my species, but puberty nonetheless.

The effects of ingesting human food only lasted three Earth weeks, and I do not appear to have suffered any long-term damage. Unfortunately, next week there will be a retirement party for...somebody important in the office (I'm still a little hazy on the concept of corporate heirarchy), and I am afraid that my boss will pressure me into eating more can of peas. Or, worse, vanilla spongecake.

Can you recommend any way of avoiding this? Any way at all?

Splorg the Unenviable from Calgary

Yo, Splorg,

You wouldn't believe how often I am asked this question. Not, this exact question, obviously; the Qwombatty Code of Frambleness (which, I gather, is similar to the human Macho Code of Manliness, except without the olive garnish) generally frowns upon asking alien species for advice. In fact, the only reason I'm not questioning your frambleness is that Qwombats have 13 genders, and trying to figure out which one you are and how badly you are violating Qwombatty social expectations of gender role performance is enough to give The Tech Answer Guy a very human migraine.

I just mean that most humans can understand having to choose between the desires of a superior in a social setting and avoiding the severe physical infirmity of giving in to the superior's desires in a social setting. Something about the combination of carefully non-denominational religious festivities and alcohol does strange things to the nervous systems of middle managers.

Unfortunately, there are no good solutions to this problem. You can't avoid going to the party, because your co-workers will think that you are sending information to the Qwom invasion force about the weaknesses in Earth's defenses. You can't piss off your boss because, frankly, most of Earth's galactic diplomatic corps grew up watching Three Stooges movies, so we really cannot afford an interplanetary incident. You can't even do the human solution of last resort: joining a monastery.

My advice: if you value your job, find a chiropractor who has experience with alien bodies!

The Tech Answer Guy

If you are a dude with a question about the latest technology, ask The Tech Answer Guy by sending it to questions@lespagesauxfolles.ca. Just remember: The Tech Answer Guy does not write the headlines for his articles. While he is sure that the poorly paid interns who do write the headlines won't be tempted to create anything rude just because they're bored and uncommitted to their jobs, he understands that there are no guarantees in life.

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