It all started when I left Zappos and emailed our wonderful Benefits Coordinator Michelle asking about COBRA. Being a geek I addressed my request to “COBRA Commander” and phrased things with a bit of G.I. Joe style urgency.
She immediately responded and upped the ante by referring to me as “Destro” and herself as “Baroness”. We proceeded to work out my continuing health coverage as a matter of national security. I had known she was a little weird, but I was pretty impressed that her responses had me looking up G.I. Joe trivia to refresh my memory.
Then a few months later I bumped into her at a cookout an she suggested we do a G.I. Joe duo costume for the Zappos Halloween party at the office, as Destro and Baroness, of course. It seemed that we both could do very well in our respective roles, my head lending itself nicely to being shaved clean and painted silver.
For those in need of a refresher, here’s a good pic of the actual supervillains.
Unfortunately all I have are the grainy cameraphone photos, but you get the idea. [ update: here’s a clearer pic ] I think we pulled it off pretty well. My costume had a bit of a costume-y look to it while her outfit had a professional flair that doesn’t come through in the pics: real leather pants, vinyl forearm gloves and boots, several strategically placed COBRA insignias, and a military accessory belt. And of course the glasses. In any case, I would certainly hire her for wardrobe if I ever try making a sci-fi flick in the future.
Going in I expected there to be virtually no recognition. I mean, both Michelle and I are aware (quite sadly) that G.I. Joe is not at the top of office worker conciousness these days. However I was surprised at how many people did recognize us. Walking through the halls we got lots of people calling out to us in character and complimenting the outfits. Some people got a little confused and called her “COBRA Commander”, “Scarlett” or “Lady Jaye”. But I figure that any of those qualifies as a hit, if not a home run.
Other costumes were great — and there was a huge turnout. Over a hundred people, I would guess. Many were quite elaborate and authentic looking, and I wasn’t at all surprised that we didn’t win the contest with so much great stuff. They posted a video of it on youtube. Our one second of fame begins at 0:34.
There was also a free haunted house that occupied most of the first floor of one of the buildings. I was actually blown away by the professionalism of it. Great layout, impressive effects, lots of variety, appropriately hammy acting. It rivaled the quality of the “Haunted Hayride” I worked at back arond 1994, and that place charged real money.
After we’d done our rounds in the office, Michelle and I took to manning the “hall of screams” portion of the haunted house and scaring people for a while. Michelle accidentally punched someone in the face which caused a bit of trouble. But hey, Baroness is a rough lady. She was just staying in character.
Zappos really does know how to make an event. I’ll miss that — to the degree that I don’t just crash all the Zappos events
Sophie came by in the afternoon and I went through the haunted house again with her. Then we went home, I got washed up, and we hit Melting Pot, where a cow served us a wonderful fondue dinner.