Paging the Winchester Pest Control Company,
Help! There's an Alpha under my desk!
Watching the wonderfully bright and entertaining "Frontierland" episode, and enjoying Dean in his new position of authority as the Sheriff, I got thinking back to a few of the more interesting jobs I've held over the years. Then I started wondering how I might have been perceived in those roles.
You see, for one brief, shining year in university I was an Alpha Female. I'd like to tell you the title was a simple acknowledgement of my wit, wisdom and wicked curves. But, not so much.
The truth is I was a Dormitory Supervisor, in an all-female residence. And what the girls on my floor really called me was not nearly as elegant or sophisticated as Alpha Female. It was, however, far more SUPERNATURALly appropriate. I was known as the "Head Bitch".
I recognize the honorific makes me sound like I was the Big Momma of a motorcycle gang. But it was actually a term of affection, tossed out by one of the girls early in the year, and it stuck. I think I was mostly well-liked. I had an open-door policy for anyone who needed to talk about anything, from exam stress to being dumped by her boyfriend. I was always ready to be more than a little goofy. (Trust me; it doesn't take much to tip me into the category of "more than a little goofy".) Most importantly, I was a pro at holding back hair while others "talked on the porcelain telephone".
However, I'm sure I was an evil Alpha Head Bitch to some of the young women in the residence. After all, my job was to remind them to be quiet after midnight; to get rid of the boys who weren't well-established "significant others', or who hadn't been clearly invited, or who looked like they were wearing out their invitation; and finally, to encourage all the residents to respect, and be kind to each other. Yup, sounds nasty to me!
While I was musing on my past career as the Head Bitch, and my current position as the Mother of All at home, I got thinking that there are probably quite a few Alphas out there. And I suspect many of them are masquerading as our colleagues at work!
See if you recognize any of these, or have new species to add.
The Alpha Vampire
We've seen a lot of vampires in the Supernatural world. They've been the Monster of the Week in practically every season, featured in episodes like "Dead Man's Blood", "Bloodlust", "Fresh Blood", and this year's "Live Free or Twihard". Of course, we all know what vampires do. They suck blood!
In the work world, the Alpha Vamp is the person who goes around the office sucking the creativity from everyone else. The draining often begins slowly, almost imperceptibly at first. A fresh idea gets turned down. A novel suggestion gets brushed aside. A new project is denied. But then, the sucking speeds up until even being asked to "think outside the box" causes a dangerous spike in blood pressure. Of course, the Alpha Vamp draws power from all that co-opted creativity, and often passes it off as her or her own genius, thus completing the kill.
The Alpha Shapeshifter
Shapeshifters go all the way back to Season One, when a particularly savvy shapeshifter had the good sense to take over Dean's body in "Skin". They made their appearance several times in Season 6, most adorably as ever-changing babies in "Two and a Half Men".
Shapeshifters change to suit the environment, and to get what they want. So, think of the office shapeshifter as a chameleon, doing what's necessary to get ahead. If the boss appreciates flattery, they speak with a golden tongue. But, if an iron-fist is considered more desirable, than they are fierce in the extreme. It's sometimes called knowing how to "walk the walk, and talk the talk". That means saying what the boss wants to hear, and doing exactly what he/she wants.
What's particularly challenging about office shapeshifters is that it's really hard to know who you're with at any moment. After all, they change! A lot! Am I talking to the sweet co-worker, or the strict disciplinarian who will relate all my snarky comments to those in authority? Shapeshifters are highly destabilizing, and oh so scary! It's best not to be alone with one for too long. They can fool you into trusting them.
The Alpha Skinwalker
The skinwalker is a close relative of the Shapeshifter, and made its first appearance in Season 6's "All Dogs Go to Heaven". In that episode, Lucky appears to be the loyal pet of Mandy and her son. However, in reality he's been asked to prove his fidelity to his skinwalker pack and kill his human caregivers when the signal is given.
In work, and life, skinwalkers are practically invisible until the moment of attack. They're the ones who seem to be good friends, even confidantes perhaps. At the very least, they are the people you trust not to take your lunch from the office fridge! And then whammo! The inaudible (to you) dog whistle gets blown and they suddenly turn on you, snapping and snarling. And, slurping up your egg salad!
The Alpha Djinn
We all remember the djinn. His first appearance was in the hauntingly beautiful Season One episode "What Is and What Should Never Be". (Sigh. I love, love, LOVE that episode!!) Djinns reappeared in the Season 6 opener "Exile on Main Street".
I'm going to focus more on how the Djinn in WISAWSNB operated, not those psychedelic hallucination-inducing ones from EOMS. The bald, and beautifully tattooed, big daddy granted one of Dean's fondest wishes, in order to keep him under control, and slowly kill him.
At work, the Djinn is more often a boss than a co-worker. That's because managers have the power to make your dreams come true. So, a Djinn boss is the one who appears to be nurturing your potential and facilitating your advancement, but all the while is slowly forcing you into a corner. In fact, our dearly departed petty angel Zachariah summed it up perfectly in this conversation with Dean Smith in "It's a Terrible Life":
"I see big things in your future. Maybe even Senior V.P. Eastern Great Lakes Division. Don't get me wrong. You'll have to work for it. Seven days a week. Lunch at your desk. But, in 8 to 10 years, that could be you!"
See how enticing that all sounds? Can you imagine being the Senior V.P. Eastern Great Lakes Division?! Does life get any better??? But wait. The trade-off is the fact you'll never have any time off, and you'll be brown bagging it forever. Anyone who makes their own lunches, plus their kids' lunches everyday, can appreciate the unique horror of that special type of hell! (I speak as one who takes her lunch to work almost every day. And who celebrates summer holidays, not only for the extended, quality family time, but for the brief respite from the torture of daily lunch preparation!!!!)
The Alpha Zombie
Zombies are a hot supernatural commodity these days. There's the new TV show that generated the big buzz this year "“ the 13-episode "The Walking Dead". And of course, in 2009 there was the really, really funny Jesse Eisenberg/Woody Harrelson movie "Zombieland". Interestingly though, zombies have not figured hugely into Supernatural. A zombie was the MOTW in the pivotal Season 2 episode "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things". (Among highlights of this episode, a perfect sighting of the One Perfect Tear. And for the writers, the creative challenge of having one of your two leads in an arm cast, for at least 4 consecutive scripts, plus having to rewrite the original story to explain the fracture!) I believe zombies were also briefly featured in the crypt scene in Season 4 in "It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester".
Because zombies are undead creatures... Wait. Isn't that all of us? Who are living, I mean? If we're alive, aren't we undead?.. I digress, so back to the point. Because zombies are really animated corpses, and corpses don't have a lot of adrenaline, I usually think of them as fairly slow, and maybe a tad dimwitted. Although as Dean described zombie Angela in CSPWDT:
"Damn! That dead chick can run!"
So, we have one fast zombie, but let's assume most aren't. The Alpha Zombies are the office Eeyores. They're the ones always labouring under the raincloud, always moping, always complaining about their job, their health, their life. The problem with these zombies is that they can turn you into one too. Spend too much time around an office zombie and you'll find yourself slouching in your chair, hunching your shoulders, and finding fault with everything. And that includes the once-a-year treat of the amazing honey-dipped donuts that melt in your mouth! When you start complaining about those confectionary delicacies, take it as a sure sign, you're about to start growing moss, and pushing up the daisies!
So, what is to be done, now that you've identified the threat, lurking behind every office printer, and cubicle divider?
Simple. Like every good corporate manager, just call in the experts, the people who know how to make the problem disappear. In this case, all it takes is a couple of hired guns.
They may not be able to kill all the monsters. But, for the following reasons, they may help save your sanity.
1. The way they speed up your heart rate will give you the strength to push away the stupour of the zombie. And they'll give you another reason to look forward to the weekend!
2. A few posters of them at your workspace will give you something fabulous to enjoy, even when the Djinn keeps you lunching at your desk.
3. Skinwalkers wouldn't stand a chance against their loyalty, and friendship.
4. You know they'd see through the facade of the annoying office shapeshifter, with just one glance. (Yes! Vindication!)
5. And finally, following the weekly adventures and heroics, tragedies and triumphs of the Winchester Brothers, should stimulate your ah.. creativity.. just enough, to help you survive the vamp's attack.
The Head Bitch wishes you a "pest" free day!