Dear colleagues,

As you are likely aware, I capped off some recent good news by saying, “cowabunga, dude!” It got a laugh, but I’m not sure it was the right laugh.

First and foremost, when the founder of a company and self-proclaimed no-nonsense businessman says “cowabunga, dude,” it’s what’s known as incongruity. You’re not expecting it from a complete pro like me, so it’s funny. Trust me, I’ve done the research and it’s funny.

Let’s also acknowledge that I’m the only person in this company with a catchphrase. When I dismiss you from a meeting or greet you in the elevator with “cowabunga, dude!” the comedic value is enhanced by repetition. No one would laugh at Rodney Dangerfield claiming only once that he got no respect. Instead he repeated the phrase over and over and became a legend. By constantly demanding his due, Rodney also followed a basic tenet of comedy—berate your audience if they don’t live up to your standards. Come to think of it, I’m starting to feel like I get no respect.

If you actually thought about it, you’d see the dramatic irony behind my cowabunga jokes. You, the audience, know that I, the hero, have a certified turtelfied love for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You are also convinced (falsely) that no human can become a ninja turtle. To you, my cowabungas are futile grasps at the life I wish I had—the pizza-chompin’, crime-bustin’ life of “cartoon characters.”

And no matter how much company time I spend in the sewer or how many toxic oozes I smear on my genitals, my character persists in vain.

And did it ever occur to you that you’re not the only audience? When I say “cowabunga,” couldn’t I also be taking a nunchuck to the skull of all humanity? Giving that collective unconscious a good ole’ crack as if to say, “wake up and feel the ooze!?” The deeper irony here of course is that deep down we all know karate turtles to be the next evolutionary step. As much as it feels like I’m screaming into a void, trying to wake all of us up with my TMNT jokes, we have to know already. We have reptile brains for chrissakes!

When I tried explaining all of this to our interns, it was clear they didn’t get it. They kept saying things like, “no one knows what ‘cowabunga dude’ even means.” And “wait, you want to be a ninja turtle? What the hell is that?”

Hearing this, I panicked for a second. Could my humor really be missing that badly?

Could Mia’s new tortoise shell glasses represent something besides agreement with the subtle message of my humor? Does she not want to mentor the superfund-reared turtle babies I keep in my safe room? Are those glasses just for style!?

Maybe James wasn’t buying me pizza to signal his interest in exploring the sewers together. Is he really not interested in dispensing vigilante justice with me?

Even if I’ll never understand, at least I can take comfort in another basic comedic truth – the audience is always wrong. For whatever reason, you can’t see the hero in a half shell existing right in front of you. As the kids say, you aren’t about that Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Reptilia, Order Testudines life.

Want to know the only thing worse than you being oblivious to our destiny? That you can’t even appreciate a well-crafted zinger. If I have to be around a bunch of non-believers, they at least need to find me as empirically funny as I know myself to be.

I am resigning effective immediately.

Cowabunga, bitches!

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