Being extra at work.

Dear Mortals,

I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy riding Ponyboy and altering my appearance dramatically. As I stood outside the bike shop gates, ready to ride home, a passerby slowed down, looked at me, and started laughing. I didn’t mind. Interesting response, though.

I’ve also been busy stocking the ET Drawings drawer at work.

It’s obviously the most fun drawer of the shop desk. Over two days, I collected twenty-six drawings of ET from co-workers and a few more from people in my life who exist outside of work. I could say it was “no easy feat” except it was one of the easiest–and most brilliant–things I’ve done so far this year. All I had to do was ask politely, “Could you please draw ET from memory for me?”

Most people didn’t even ask why. This was the why:

That page was an example of the instructions I often find myself needing to decipher to know what needs attention next at work. It can be difficult and require an impromptu sketch of ET because I don’t know how else to respond.

PLOT TWIST: I WAS UNABLE TO DRAW ET.

There are two things I’m able to draw well reliably from memory: bicycle and horse. Anything else would make one suspicious of the artwork I claim to have produced. I’d just walked into the bike shop as a former colleague pulled open the ET Drawings drawer and held up my version of ET to somebody else, presumably to mock it.

When I got him to contribute to the collection, he defended his attempt by telling me, “I feel like this contest favours those who can draw well.”

Let’s see about that.

I have words for several of these, starting with this one:

I love this drawing, but it is also entirely inaccurate.

I find the attempt at using a different perspective refreshing. I also appreciate the effort that put into recreating the basket texture, unlike with this one:

ET is looking indignant! Is that a reflective stash he’s supposed to be wearing? Actually a solid submission aside from how the artist was like, “I’m not doing the basket texture, fuck that!” and instead put the word basket in parentheses.

The anti-basket artist said this one looked like ancient alien conspiracy theory cave art.

Ok, maybe he’s bad at drawing baskets, but he’s good at describing illustrations.

This one is accurate if we’re basing ET off the 8-bit version of one of the worst video games ever made.

This is one of my favourites:

Of course, it would be one of my favourites: I am a connoisseur of cuteness, and I love drag queens. The artist gets bonus points for depicting a scene from the movie.

This take on ET was a frontrunner UNTIL the artist admitted to choosing that version of ET because he couldn’t remember how the body looked. I’d been deceived by cuteness!

Also, note how I did not even draw a body in my version. I left it empty: a void where his glowing heart is supposed to be.

This one isn’t as cute:

This artist was a fan of ET, and it shows here. The was paper folded like a card with a drawing of the doors featured in the movie on front. Allegedly. Like many of the contributors, it’s been more than a decade since I’ve seen the movie. You could tell me there’s a scene in which ET accidentally kills a puppy, and I’d think, “Hmm… maybe that happened.”

After two days of curating ET drawings, the ET Drawings Drawer has been retired. Word had gotten out that I was circulating the store for ET drawings. Certainly, people were looking up photos to prepare themselves lest I judge them for their subpar reproduction of ET. If anything, I judged others based on how they reacted to my request, and they were mainly awesome. It brightened my day, and I hope these illustrations brightened yours too.

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