It was not supposed to be anything other than getting my oldest brother, Andrew, settled into his new job at Epic Systems Corporation in Verona, Wisconsin. At least, that is what I first thought. However, that trip ended with my eyes open to a knowledge that things, or places in this case, are not always what they first appear to be.
What I expected to be a mundane visit to an office turned out to be an amazing experience at a, well, epic campus. When we first turned our van onto Epic Lane, I initially noticed that the area was under construction, I then became aware that each building on campus held the name of a heavenly body and that there were sculptures, such as Humpty Dumpty sitting on a wall, and items such as draw bridges over motes scattered throughout the grounds. My anticipation for the tour was then sparked by Andrew’s remark of “Oh, it gets better.”
In the first building we entered, Andromeda, we were greeted by a giant spider fixed to the wall before being introduced to the indoor tree house (we later discovered that the grounds also contained an outdoor tree house). We thought, at the time, that what we saw was pretty cool but we didn’t understand where we were. That understanding only started to be touched when we entered the first of many conference rooms. Its walls were made of purple glass and its floor was covered in a carpet of many colors. The lighting created a sense of mystery. That was when we started to wonder “What is this place?” After exiting the conference room we discovered the break room where, much to my brothers’ delight, our tour guide opened the snacks, and the chocolate milk, up to free consumption.
Wandering from building to building we experienced deep jungle, complete with an interactive Indiana Jones golden idol, and saw a wall of colorful snake scales. There were giraffes, monkeys, and an old couple sitting on a bench. We stood in front of Grand Central Station and sat with a slouching lady on the train. We saw the artic and the northern lights before visiting the circus and writing on the dry-erase boards there. For an hour we lost two of my brothers in the airplane hangar as they engaged in a beat-boxing battle on the conference room microphones. They rejoined us shortly after we witnessed the elevator to Hell and visited Heaven with its slide, hanging bubble chairs, and giant rocking horse. We then discovered the castle themed building where we slept on fluffy pterodactyl eggs, walked through King Arthur’s Court, and stepped outside to walk across the draw-bridge we saw earlier.
When our tour guide left us, we continued to wander around and entered Juno, the western-themed building. I howled with a coyote and rode a non-existing horse before sitting on a bear cub and laughing at my brothers for chasing Miss Kitty. When we entered Juno’s basement, we discovered a railroad track. Taking advantage of our perfect picture opportunity, my family laid down on the tracks and I revved my wheelchair to ‘run’ them all over.
When we entered the last of the buildings, I suspected our fun was over. Voyager was only the training center. Once again, I was proven wrong when I found my favorite part of the whole experience, a giant metal banana mounted on a sturdy spring. By the time we left Epic, I had learned that a workplace, even for creating medical records, can be fun. All you have to do is make it so.
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