PAOLI, PA: The economy may be down, but spirits were up today at XMarx Accounting, where human resources secretary Candy Ferber received almost four compliments on her new kelly green lady's jumper.
"It's like treat day- and it's only Wednesday!" beams Ferber, a squat, jolly woman in her mid-forties, as she applies foundation makeup to her glistening jowls.
"Doesn't she look lovely? That shade of green really brings out your beautiful eyes, Candy!" exclaims 72-year old Janine Warzak, from across the break room. "The men will be lined up at your scrapbooking class tonight!"
Ferber has been an employee at XMarx for 12 years, not counting the six months she took leave in 1999, after finding her fiancee had hung himself in her foyer. "She's had a rough go of it", loudly whispers Warzak. "All's she's got in this world is this job and those four cats of hers. And at least none of 'em can fashion a noose, if you know what I mean", confides Warzak, while not-so-subtly pantomiming hanging herself.
"She looks... very... professional. Very... nice," states Ferber's boss, XMarx Human Resources VP Mark Ingraham. "Candy has worked for me for three years now, and does a real... bang-up job." Ferber was assigned to Ingraham in 2006 after it was revealed that Ingraham was having and extra-marital affair with his former secretary, 22-year old Allison McCarthy. "The board of directors... and my wife... felt that Candy would be a perfect match for me. And she sure can... make a... strong cup of Joe," offers Ingraham as he gazes downward.
When asked how much she'd paid for the green corduroy dress, Ferber bellowed, "Not a penny! When my Aunt Barbara died, my mother and I were cleaning out her closet at the home, and it jumped right out at me! I guess why they call it a 'jumper'!" she chuckled as she tugged at her orange turtleneck and fixed her bob haircut.
"Well, it suits you just perfectly. Earth tones are really your look!" gushed office gay-guy Jeffrey Combs.
Not all the reviews were positive though. "I mean, she looks like an island of sadness wrapped in a Home Depot smock", laments salesman Jim Mullin. "Call a spade a spade. Don't toy with its emotions. She'll turn on you, like that one circus bear on When Animals Attack Their Owners or whatever the hell it's called."
"At least she's not wearing yellow again", states receptionist Gail Kensil. "What a terrible day for her. I have never seen adults be so cruel."
Some employees were unaware that Ferber was even wearing a new outfit today. "Wait- Candy? That's her actual name?" asked accountant Peter Chin. "I thought people called her that because she's always eating Milky Ways. No shit."
Kelly green is a drastic change for Ferber, who usually dons denim frocks or long, gray sweatshirts over black stretch pants.
"At least I THINK they're stretch pants- who knows?" adds Mullin, as he crushes a cigarette butt in the water fountain. "I mean, I thought she was a man for the first few months she was here. I got her a copy of Girls Gone Wild for Secret Santa that year. How the fuck was I supposed to know?"
Luckily, those sentiments were not shared with the gal in green.
"I have an extra spring in my step today! Ferber boasts. "Which is weird, because this is the first time I have worn dress shoes since my color guard reunion dinner in January!"
So, the question is: Will the kelly green jumper be making more appearances to the office?
"Are you kidding?! This is my new lucky outfit! I might win the office raffle tomorrow! SHOW ME THE MONEY!"
What a positive outlook. This reporter is just green with envy.
Chip Chantry is a Philadelphia stand-up comedian