The World’s Worst Assistant
BY CONAN O’BRIEN
It has long been accepted that what separates Homo sapiens from the rest of Earth’s myriad creatures is our unending quest for perfection. Our constant need to improve our condition, from cave to hut to pyramid to castle to gilded manse to skyscraper, has pulled mankind from the swamps of ignorance and placed us, quite literally, atop the world. The Greeks, in their wisdom, defined “excellence” with the concept of Arete, a state of being in which one uses all of their mortal strength, bravery, and wit to achieve greatness. In Greek mythology, Arete is a great goddess, sheathed in brilliant white, who leads us higher, always higher, in our quest for ultimate perfection in our labors.
Enter Sona Movsesian. Sona, my assistant of thirteen years, believes that the pursuit of the divine Greek state of Arete is “lame” and should “go eat a dick.” In fact, I only know about Arete because when I asked Sona to assist me in researching her foreword, she told me to “stop being a bitch and find shit on Wikipedia.” And so I did, and now we both know about this Arete lady. I was going to start this book with so much more research on the history of the work ethic and the Industrial Revolution, but when Sona and I join forces, I usually end up alone on Wikipedia while she uses my credit card to buy a jumbo bag of Doritos Locos Tacos Supreme. That, as many a youngster will tell you, is just “how we roll.”
The title of this book, The World’s Worst Assistant, may seem to many of you like a massive exaggeration—a cheap marketing ploy to grab eyeballs in an airport kiosk. But I assure you, the title of this book is shockingly apt. Sona, in many ways, is an absolutely awful personal assistant. By that I mean she isn’t just bad or lazy, no—those words are far too inexact. Sona is actually quite brilliant and endlessly creative in her singular pursuit of her own comfort. I have always marveled at how hard the gangsters work in the movie Goodfellas, staying up weeks on end just to boost cheap cigarettes from a truck at LaGuardia. I eventually realized that these criminals worked much harder than most corporate CEOs because their very work was a declaration of their undying hatred for regulations and societal constraints. Sona, like any crime kingpin, is smart enough to play by the rules and win, but her deal with the devil has bound her to a life of lurid tricks, ingenious time-sucking distractions, and an unquenchable thirst to stick it to The Man. Believe me, I love it when people “stick it to The Man,” it’s just that sadly, in this tale, I am that Man.
Everything you are about to read is absolutely true and real. At times, you will shout aloud, “Just fire her, Conan! She’s making a fool out of you!” But the truth is that Sona did not find her superpower as “World’s Worst Assistant” until she met me in 2009. Criminologists believe that many a killing duo consists of two people who would never hurt a fly on their own. Leopold and Loeb, Bonnie and Clyde, the killing team in Capote’s In Cold Blood—in all of these cases, two inert molecules join to form a deadly organism. Yes, Sona had the capacity to be “terrible,” but she needed to find her killing partner, a boss so outrageous, childish, and nonsensical that together we could create an insane dynamic that few can believe. In an era where workplace professionalism is under a microscope, Sona and I are relentlessly and insistently idiotic. I give Sona the space to be Sona (see book), and she in turn gives me the space to knock a delicious cupcake out of her hand just as she is about to take a bite (to be clear, I am careful to strike the cupcake only, with great precision; and if you saw how much Sona wanted that delicious chocolate delicacy with whipped vanilla icing—you’d understand why I have no choice). Yes, the mess Sona and I have made of the modern workplace is a shared pursuit—we have forged these chains together—and if I were to fire her, she would immediately, and rightly, fire me.
At this point in my foreword it’s safe to say that Sona has stopped reading and is searching her couch cushions for a gummy she lost last night while binge-watching Too Hot to Handle. In other words, I can now make one last point without Sona ever being the wiser, and that point is this: I trust Sona with my life. She would do anything for me or my family, and she is one of the most honest and really caring people I know. She has been an unimaginably loyal friend during some very harrowing times, and I am lucky to have her at my side. I can even imagine that, one day, as I am lying on my deathbed and about to leave this world, it will be Sona who will be sitting by my side. “Sona . . . it’s time . . . Go get my wife,” I will gasp, barely able to speak. “Yes, Conan,” Sona will say with great caring and empathy, as she pats my hand gently and says a silent prayer. “Rest easy, old boss, I’ll get Liza right now.”
Sona will then walk quietly out of my death chamber and soundlessly close the door. And, at that moment, she will completely forget what I asked her to do, pass my crying wife in the hallway, and head down the street to Forever 21, where she will shoplift a three-pack of hair scrunchies. I mean, someone is going to figure out I’m dead eventually and tell Liza I’m gone, so what’s the big friggin’ deal anyway?! And is Forever 21 really going to miss three suck-ass scrunchies?! Get the fuck off my back, brah!
This, dear reader, is the beautiful lesson Sona has taught me every single day.
(Not really there, but it sounds cool)
Foreword by Conan O’Brien
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|Epub||July 23, 2022|
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