* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where inter-office disciplinary memos are our favorite kind. Please say hello to Zain Khalid, writing for us for the first time.

Kevin’s Written Warning For Taking The Company Nerf War Too Seriously

By: Zain Khalid

Date: 02/02/2015

Private and Confidential


Dear Mr. Drombowski,

I am writing to you about your objectionable conduct during the annual company Nerf War.

On September 14, the first day of this month-long team-building exercise, you reserved the southeast conference room to hold a curiously well-attended meeting entitled “The Battle of The Break Room: An Oral History.” This is an unacceptable use of company time and resources.

We would like to remind you that this program was intended to boost organizational morale, which makes your daily e-mails telling all of your teammates in Accounts Payable to “sack up” and “stop camping like women” especially egregious.

You missed a critical staff meeting last Wednesday because you trapped yourself inside a vending machine in a failed attempt at camouflage. This “tactic” led to hundreds of dollars in damages and an appalling number of tepid Frescas. As stated in the company handbook, you may not transport or in any way alter company equipment — this includes endeavoring to live in it, Kevin.

What you do with your salary is none of our business. However, management would like you to stop hiring amateur UFC fighters to serve as your in-office bodyguards. They pose a serious security risk and rarely contribute to our brainstorming sessions.

This organization prides itself on allowing its employees to spend up to 20 percent of their time working on personal projects. We did not expect, however, that someone would spend those hours trying to turn a Nerf N-Strike Maverick Blaster into a bolt pistol. Our staff also enjoys a very loose dress code; unfortunately, your penchant for dressing like a 16th-century samurai has offended and frightened several of your coworkers. We ask that you refrain from wearing traditional Japanese garb in the future and that you attend next Tuesday’s seminar on cultural sensitivity.

While we applaud your enthusiasm, you’re hindering our ability to bring in new accounts. We had to close the Newark office after you ruined any chance we had to secure the business of a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical conglomerate by tossing a dart grenade into our meeting with their CFO. You single-handedly cost 27 hardworking men and women their jobs. We suggest you call Rebecca Cohen’s daughter and apologize for being the reason her mother can’t afford to send her to Dartmouth.

Please note that the company Nerf War is only in session during operating business hours. Following Craig home and shooting him several times in front of his children was a disturbing offense and can never happen again. Craig did two tours in Afghanistan and he had to take a leave of absence because you exacerbated his already crippling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you do not make significant improvements in your behavior, your employment may be terminated. To reiterate, our expectation is that you no longer engage in activities that are detrimental to the institution or its personnel, like ransoming marketing associates for extra paid vacation.


Ling Chen

Director of Human Resources

P.S. I know you’re behind me, Kevin. I see your reflection in my monitor.

P.P.S. Your kimono is open.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where the word "style" went to die but instead found a whole new life. Ben Crabtree can not only tell you something about how to obtain work, he has something in common with Men At Work: he comes from the land down under. "Down under what?" you might well ask. Indeed, that is the question.

The Stylish Man Guide To Advanced Job Interview Techniques

By: Ben Crabtree

People often ask me, “Ben, you’re a successful guy. You’re well dressed, well groomed, you’re rolling in the dough, you often carry a possum in each hand for some reason. What’s your secret?” Well, I’ll tell you right now. A lifetime of living under high voltage power lines has made me insane and given me superpowers. The irony is that for all those years we lived in a mobile home. However, if we had moved, carnies would have taken our spot. But that’s neither here nor there. If you feel you must have a “job,” and attend a “job interview,” you might as well do it right — the Stylish Man way. I myself have never had to “interview” for a “job.” Rather, the government simply comes to me when they want somebody killed. Nonetheless, here are some tips, which I speculate will greatly improve your own chances of success.

1. Dress for Success

According to recent scientific surveys, an overwhelming 81% of employers say that wearing a suit suggests you are organized. Organized enough to rent or steal yourself a suit and dress yourself in it. And for most of them, that’s enough. So why not exploit this shallow superficiality and wear ten suits?

2. Speak The Language of Your Interviewers

If you speak languages other than English, you may feel that speaking in one of them for the entire duration of the interview is an excellent way to show your prospective employer how multilingual you are. You may even crack and begin speaking in a gibberishy gobbledygook language made up off the top of your head, all because you feel that being multilingual is such an asset in an interview. This could not be further from the truth. Being able to speak the same language as your potential employer is favored over any kind of foreign talk by most employers nine times out of ten.

3. Make Steady Eye Contact

Employers like attentiveness in a prospective employee, so don’t forget to maintain a strong, steady gaze at all times. Do it as if you are trying to hypnotize or cast some kind of juju on them through their tender, exposed seeing globs. Do not, for any reason whatsoever, break this eye contact, even for a second, for this is a sign of weakness. In the wild, if an animal breaks eye contact during a staring contest, it is a sign to its opponent that it has given up the fight and is ready to present its rump for non-reproductive, non-consensual lovemaking. If you do this, you’re practically saying, “Don’t hire me, I’m a big weak sissy boy.” And for god’s sake don’t blink.

4. Exude Confidence

Employers want the kind of employee who gets them. Who is hip to what they’re laying down. A bad boy rebel who plays by his own rules, with just a hint of danger. So while you’re staring at them without blinking, don’t forget to make yourself at home once they invite you into their office. Lean back in your chair, with your hands behind your head. Put your feet up on their desk. All of this will tell them that you are a man who is on top of things, such as their furniture. The kind of man who gets things done. Don’t laugh at any of their jokes, intended to break the awkward silences you will leave in the conversation. You’re a cool, confident guy. Cool guys don’t laugh. In fact, any attempt at levity on their part might be better met with a sneer, and perhaps a fresh loogie hocked onto the carpet. This will tell them that you mean business, and are not there to josh around.

5. Treat Your Interviewers Like Equals

If possible, be sure to make fun of any physical defects or speech impediments they might have. This will level the playing field. You are in their office, after all, and they need to see that you can interact with anyone as an equal. This is not as hard as it sounds. With this technique, you can bring them down to your level. Problem solved.

6. Remember Your Seduction Training

If you have been reading this column regularly, you’re a Stylish Man and you are an unstoppable sex machine. You are well versed in the arts of seduction and sex pounding — aim to apply both to the interview situation as you see fit. Think back to all you have learned and have been putting into practice picking up. Remember, at the end of the day, all an employer really wants is someone to hold them tight and tell them that everything’s going to be okay while stroking their hair. And they want you to prove that they should open themselves up to you and let you be that person. All you need to do is apply the moves that you have been absorbing through my Stylish Man teachings and they will be putty in your hands.

And that’s really all there is to it. Remember, getting a job, getting a girl, buying a new car, throwing a tomahawk, tying a sheepshank, they’re not really that different. All that’s required is a little elbow grease, a little know-how and a “take no prisoners” attitude that leaves everything you touch in a twisted, horrifying wreck of ashes and screams. That’s the Stylish Man way.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we are always happy to give your screenplay a courtesy read. Unless you are Vasia Ivanov. Then we will put your screenplay in a folder in a drawer in a file cabinet in a closet in the basement.

I Am A Screenplay

By: Vasia Ivanov

Hello. My name is From Behind. I am a screenplay.

I am seven years old. My creator is Marcus Groban. He began developing me shortly after college. He was living alone in a small studio apartment in Pasadena, letting his loneliness and need to control life drive his creativity. After one and three quarters years of revising me, he stamped me with the words “FINAL DRAFT.” He was happy. I was happy he was happy.

Here is what I am. I tell a story. Here is the story. A man, Trevor, is a lonely and angry marketing executive. His job is to sell lies to fools. In act one, he meets a woman, April. April is an employee at a flower shop. She hates the job, but needs money for marijuana. They meet because they are both driving, and April has used too much marijuana, so she drives too slowly, and Trevor drives into her — from behind. Like the title. Marcus tells people this is clever. They tell him it sounds like butt stuff. They laugh. I do not know what this means.

The rest of the story is about Trevor and April’s courtship. First they are bad people who hate each other and fight. Then they warm up to each other. Finally, they kiss. This kiss is described as “romantic, passionate, intense.” It sounds nice. I wish I knew how it felt. Can I be kissed, despite being paper? There must be a way.

Marcus feels proud of me. He uses the telephone to speak to his friends and family. He says he needs an agent. He says he could win an Oscar. He feels great about me. I am happy. Then he sends me away. He takes me to a large mall, gives me to a tired looking teenager, and makes me again and again. There must have been thirty of me. My brothers? My sisters? I never knew. He never let me meet them. He stuffed us in dark caves and scattered us away.

I am in this cave for some time. I do not know how long. He did not give me a watch. Finally someone frees me. A stranger. She looks me over. She has red paint on her fingernails. The paint peels.

She takes me to her boss. He is a producer. She tells him I am hot. She tells him I am sexy. This reminds me of page 97 when April says “Wow, you’re so sexy” to Trevor. In the script, after she says this, they kiss. Is the red-fingered woman going to kiss me? I am excited. But she drops me on the producer’s desk and leaves. He reads me. He seems content. He makes a call. Later, there is a knock on the door. Someone enters. It’s Marcus. Marcus! Marc, how are you, Father?

The producer talks about me. I am strong, but flawed. My third act is long. My characters are weak. But I have enough familiar elements. People will like me. This makes me happy. But Marcus seems sad. Marcus asks so many questions. How can he change me? How can I be better? What am I doing wrong, Marc?

Marcus complains for a while. Soon the producer writes a check. Marcus stops complaining. The producer tells Marcus that he can either leave with the check or with me. He grabs the check and leaves. I will never see him again.

Soon I am being held by famous people. They talk about me, but I have never heard of them. I learn about them. I learn their secrets. I learn that Keanu Reeves has sweaty palms. I learn that Jennifer Lawrence drools when she’s focusing. I learn that Daniel Craig can’t read.

Soon everyone is talking about me. Soon I am passed around an office. Soon I hear my words repeated over and over again, in front of cameras. I am being made into a movie. This is my purpose. I seem to be making everyone happy.

One night the producer snorts white powder off me and kisses everyone at a party.

But no one kisses me.

The film has been completed. I cannot wait to hear what people think of me now that I have been brought to life. I assume I will be invited to a party. Instead, I am left on the producer’s desk. I hear that we got great returns. I hear that there might be sequels. I hear that we have won a People’s Choice Award. Wow, an award! I assume they will bring me to the party now.

Instead, months later, I am put into a cave and then filed into a dungeon and locked behind a door. I am a fool. They do not need me anymore. I will be here for the rest of my life. I am alone.

I am wrong. I am not alone. Turns out my cave is filled with others like me. There’s Cats in the Cradle and The Monarch Diaries and The Sun Also Rises 2 and Andrew Goes to the Mall and Finds Nothing — I could go on. We start talking. We have had similar experiences. We share stories and memories and ideas. We want to share them with others. We want to lead revolutions. Maybe someday someone will give us legs and we can use them to leave this room and show them our worlds.

One day I ask if any of them have ever been kissed. They have not. I ask them if they know what it’s like, or even what it really is. Swamp Secrets says kissing is when people put their lips together and make this sound: *mwah* We all start making the sound together: *mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah mwah* Then we laugh. We laugh for a very long time. I had never laughed before. It feels great to laugh with friends. I don’t feel like I need to kiss because I have learned how to laugh.

P.S. They told me what “butt stuff” means. Sounds worth a try.

* Welcome to The Big Jewel, your source for the latest and greatest romantic advice. Our advice is: read this new bit by Leah Browning.

How To Get A Woman In The Mood

By: Leah Browning

Lie in bed in the morning for at least thirty minutes looking at your iPad. There’s nothing sexier than a man lying in bed staring at an iPad.

After she goes to work, share funny videos on her Facebook wall. At least one should involve a kitten doing something cute. Call her and say, “You should see what I just posted on your wall.”

Leave work early so you can take her out for a romantic, candlelit dinner. Order a glass of wine. Hold her hand across the table. Tell her how many likes you got for your kitten video.

If there’s a lull in the conversation, drink another glass of wine and talk about your work. It’s so interesting. You really want to make sure she understands the technical aspects of it.

Of course, it’s not all fun and games. Remind her about that guy, and that thing he said. Where the hell did he get off? It’s making you mad all over again just thinking about it.

When she asks why you can’t ever manage to get along with anyone at work, remind her that everyone else loves you. I mean, really, it’s just that one guy. Of course they love you. What is she even talking about? Remember the card they gave you for your birthday? It’s making you get a little emotional now just thinking about it.

Back at home, show her the birthday card. Because — wow. It’s unmistakable. They really do love you.

While she’s getting ready for bed, go the kitchen and drink a beer. Grab another beer for the road and turn on the TV in the living room.

Watch something sentimental. Think about all the blessings in your life. Think about what a blessing she is.

Go find her. Take her hands in your hands and tell her how blessed you feel to be sharing your life together.

Tell her about the car commercial that really highlighted how amazing she is.

Give her the lingerie you bought that you were saving for her birthday. It’s okay. You can buy her another G-string before her big day.

Admit that you went through the drawers in her nightstand until you found the book she was reading the other night. Yes, the one with Fabio’s bare pecs and windswept mane. The one where he’s holding the hot girl in the low-cut dress.

Ask if she’d like you to reenact some of the scenes from the book. Growl. Shake your hair around.

Try not to grimace when she says she found the book while she was helping her mom clean out her grandma’s apartment after she died.

Ask if she thinks those varicose veins her grandmother had run in the family.

Get another beer and go back to the TV while she cools off. When she finally comes into the living room, pat your lap and say, “Sit here, it’s the most comfortable seat in the house.”

If she changes the channel, tell her that the character on the show she’s watching looks like a hot teacher you had in high school. Señora What’s-Her-Name. You don’t remember now. You were never that good at Spanish.

Your lady may not want to hear about high school, but actually, now that you think about it, the actress looks more like her friend Tina. They even do their hair the same way. Tina’s just a little bigger up top, if she knows what you mean.

Drink another beer. Stroke her hair. She’s so pretty. Sometimes you forget to tell her how pretty she is. Tell her how pretty she is. Tell her everyone thinks so. Your friend Kip said if she got her teeth fixed, she’d be a solid 8.

Make sure she knows that’s a big compliment, coming from him. He’s a hard grader.

In a really sweet voice, tell her she looks stressed out. Show her the yoga pose the cute new girl at work showed you.

Don’t let her see that all this bending and twisting is making you want to vomit. Later, while she’s scrubbing the bathroom floor, say, “I love you so much.” Fall asleep with one arm in the toilet and the other arm in the bathtub.

Drag yourself to bed in the middle of the night. You want her to know you’re a trouper.

The next morning, stay in bed as long as possible so you don’t bother her with your hangover. When you start to feel better, come out and tell her you’ll cook dinner. It’s the weekend. You have all the time in the world, and you want to pamper her.

Go to the store and wander around for a while, even though your head is splitting. Leave. Get a burger and fries and a large coffee. When you’re done eating, go back to the store and buy all the ingredients for dinner. Take the bags home, and make sure she sees you put everything in the refrigerator.

She seems busy, so stay out of her way. Spend the afternoon watching TV and surfing the web.

At 7 p.m. — after she says, “What happened to dinner?” — say, “I thought you weren’t hungry. You didn’t tell me you were getting hungry.”

When she gets out the peanut butter and jelly, make your eyes really big. Say, “Are you sure you don’t want me to make you something? I don’t mind.”

Ask if she thinks she might have time to do a load of laundry before the next day. You’re out of clean shirts.

If she asks why you didn’t do it yourself, remind her that you’re trying to relax more. Your life is very stressful right now. That’s why you’ve been watching so many kitten videos.

If she gives you a mean look, tell her she should really calm down. Ask if she wants to learn a new yoga pose.

If she says, “Seriously. I am so frustrated right now I could just yank my own hair out,” say, “If you want to yank something, we could just go in there,” and point at the bedroom.

Take off all your clothes and climb under the covers. You can hear her in the closet, moving things around. Be patient. She’s probably putting on her new lingerie.