Heaven Help Us

Unreal doles out seven helpful tips for a highly productive workplace, finds a local blogger in the closet and mourns the passing of Our Fair City; plus, we learn that Godís third in the gay evangelical mťnage

"Conquest or commitment" (to paraphrase the flier) sounded like a juicy subject for a Saturday morning.

Yet Unreal struggled to get vertical and get out to the Holiday Inn Westport this past weekend for the GLBT dating workshop presented by the San Francisco-based Evangelical Network. Was it the late-night liquor, or the early-morning proposition? P'raps just a worry about picking ourselves a gender, knowing those 80 or so gay and lesbian evangelicals from Arkansas, Texas and so on would be gabbing about dating separately.

Unreal arrived to find a smattering of GLBT Christians in a maroon-and-green ballroom, rocking out to gospel à la Steve Winwood. There was clapping and kneeling and a whole lot of hugging. Holy, holy, holy went the chorus.

The women wanted to talk about God: Should we get His opinion before picking a heathen partner? Or search for our soulmate among the saved? Fine fodder for a philosophy class, we thought, but not exactly practical. What happened to first-date protocol? Or the top ten ways to use the Bible in bed?

At the mention of "triangle" we perked up, but for naught -- turns out God's third in the gay evangelical ménage.

Unreal scrambled next door, where an odd mix of Euro and folksy chaps (and a few chicks) were mmm-hmm-ing a preacher named Randy. A theatrical but gentle fellow from Little Rock, Randy is a self-described serial monogamist. Notwithstanding his meandering musings, the followers were enrapt.

Piped one: "Can you bring your missionaries to San Francisco? It is coooool to be gay there. It ain't cool to be Christian."

Randy summarized his sermon on monogamy with three bullet points:

Make sure God is first in your couple

Be certain you both believe in commitment

And (perhaps contrary to popular opinion) you boys do need a few things you enjoy together -- besides sex -- such as going to the mall, or staying at home lighting candles.

Aching suddenly to escape the 'burbs, Unreal jumped up just as the preacher dropped an afterthought:

"I think masturbation is a very, very beautiful gift. I'm a pastor who will say it."

Amen, thought Unreal, skipping into a most glorious sunshine.

St. Louis Is Dead!

After a wild night of doing laundry and reviewing our 1998 and 1999 tax returns (just for fun), Unreal awoke at the crack of dawn the other day to do some Web surfing. Now, we knew the nightlife in our fair city has never lived up to the insanity of places like "New York City" and "Norman, Oklahoma," but we didn't realize it was actually considered deceased. But there it was in pixels, right in the Sturgis (Michigan) Journal online: St. Louis' obituary.

Apparently St. Louis died unexpectedly on April 17. According to the obit, St. Louis "had many interests and hobbies which included boating, fishing, playing golf, traveling and word search puzzles." Additionally, the deceased took pride in its Native American roots "and enjoyed researching that heritage." The obituary concluded with the suggestion that memorial donations in St. Louis' memory be directed to the American Diabetes Association. "Envelopes are available at the Hackman-Foglesong Funeral Home of Sturgis, which is handling the arrangements."

That's when we started to get peevish. St. Louis was important. It invented the concept of deep-frying stuffed pillows of pasta, for pity's sake. How could some podunk funeral home in Michigan be handling arrangements for our dear departed metropolis?

So we placed a call to Hackman-Foglesong.

"Hi!" we said to a woman who answered and identified herself as Barbara. "I know we don't get good designer drugs here in St. Louis, but don't you think reports of our demise are a tad bit exaggerated?"

Silence. And then Barbara explained that the obituary was for one William L. St. Louis, who, it turns out, was from Sturgis and worked for 35 years for the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Was our face red!

But surely Barbara's been getting lots of these calls, right?

"No, I haven't gotten any. Now, I'm with someone. Do you have any other questions?"

No, Babs, just a revelation. From now on Unreal's going to live every day like it's the city's last. Tonight: washers.

Rules of the Rogue

You may not know this, but Unreal has been eagerly awaiting the results of a study undertaken by Claus Langfred, an associate professor of organizational behavior in the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University.

Drum roll, please.

Langfred found that trust, long thought essential to a productive working environment, is actually bad for business. "People can make the mistaken assumption that trust can be a substitute for monitoring," the professor reveals in a recent press release. "They think, 'We really trust each other a lot, we don't need to monitor each other.'"

Somewhat of an armchair organizational-behavior expert ourself, Unreal has compiled a list of seven helpful tips for a highly productive workplace:

1) You know that .exe attachment you received from guaranteedwinners.com? Go ahead. Open it.

2) Tell your colleagues what you really think of their kids' artwork.

3) No, that's not dried mayonnaise.

4) Deadlines? Schmeadlines.

5) It's perfectly OK -- recommended, even -- to ask your boss if the company "benefits package" includes his wife.

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