Friday, November 06, 2015

Let's Have a Meeting!

If you do a search for a phrase like “types of business meetings” on the internet, your search results will retrieve various sites exulting the virtues of meetings in the workplace. They say things like: Workplace meetings are an important part of management that enable you and the other employees to solve problems, improve performance, build teamwork and so forth. Meetings are supposed to make a department or a company a well oiled machine of output, that would both shame and awe God himself when He realizes that you and your co-workers could have built the universe in 5 days instead of 7 if He just would have created you people first and let you take a crack at it.

I apparently have never been that lucky and with the exceptions of meetings with truly new information that the employees needed to hear, most of the meetings that I've participated in have been useless endeavors that didn't work because they were phony and contrived. In the various jobs that I've worked at over the years, the only time I ever felt part of a team were in the places that didn't set a formal date and time to remind you that you were part of a group. You just knew it. 

But I've had to attend them anyway no matter what my personal feelings were to basically confirm that; “Yes, I still work here” and “Yes, I'm still doing the exact same thing I was doing last week, last month and all the years since I got hired and you should know that because your office is only a few paces away from mine and you're the one that gives me my damn assignments.”

I suggest you do not use these phrases exactly as they are worded here or at all. I have learned that this is not the professional way of speaking during a business meeting and for some reason it seems to cause resentment with management. In fact, to help you not make the same mistakes I did, I have come up with a short list of

Things you probably shouldn't say during an office meeting:

 - Can anybody recommend a good prostitute with little hands?
Although this question show a willingness to work with outsourced labor, this research should be done online.

- Some day I will shoot up this office and make you all pay!
This statement shows a highly motivated individual advertising their various abilities that management may be unaware of, but try using a statement a little less final.

- We are all living a lie.
This is a truth no one really wants to hear. I suggest keeping this one to yourself.

- Hey guys, does your butthole itch or am I the only one?
I'm afraid that this question should only be uttered in a meeting if you and your co-workers are marketing a new topical ointment.

- Here's what I think: You Suck!
Yes, I know this is a great way to show that you are, in fact, paying attention and contributing to the discussion, but it might be a tad too harsh.

- What? I wasn't paying attention, I never pay attention.
Even though it might be true, this sentence should be expressed in the following way: “Yes, I agree”.

- Damn, you're looking fine girl.
Women love compliments and building a better relationship with them in a workplace environment means handing out compliments like Halloween candy. I really don't see a problem with this one, especially when paired with a reassuring pat on the bottom.

- I think I see Satan.
Remember, there are many spiritual belief systems in society. Please be respectful of others and don't make them uncomfortable with yours.

- Whoa! I farted!
Language People! It's better to say something like: “Excuse me, fellow workers. I pooted, and since I ate a Gyro at lunch, the aforementioned poot will probably smell like a lamb died and rotted in my entrails.

- Whale Penis!
Saying “Whale Penis” is not amusing during a slide presentation no matter what funny voice you use to say it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Don't Talk to Jack

Making Jack-o-lanterns is a fun activity on Halloween. Or is it? Discover one man's decent into madness with this tale of horrible pumpkin doom! Enjoy it if you dare! Bwahahahaha!


No horrors to face here now. This story has been retired.  It may be gone, but you can check out the new Halloween story for 2016.

Monday, October 05, 2015

When Flour Attacks

I fought a 2000 lb. Sack of flour.

I'm not a violent man, so I don't generally go looking for trouble, but trouble found me one day while the wife and I worked at a flour mill.

At first, it was a normal work day back in a time when life was simpler and we were dirt poor. I was enjoying the simple pleasures of the latest odd job; I was getting to wear a hair net and pack bags of corn meal into boxes. It was fun and exciting watching the colorful corn meal bags take the exciting slide down from the packaging machines to me and my wife's waiting, loving hands as we gingerly packed them away, patted their cute little baggy tops and wished them a happy journey and a healthy life.

Incidentally, this was the first time I had ever seen the additional “beard net” accessory. It was on the face of one of the supervisors. It looked like he was wearing chin panties. (Refer to Fig A.) The gentleman I observed didn't seem to mind all the extra netting wrapped around his head which I knew would have driven me crazy, possibly causing me to throw myself into one of the machines and ending up in some poor families' pancakes. But that wasn't what happened.

Instead, after we finished packing the corn meal the line shut down and the “chin panty” man rounded up all the temporary employees and lined us up. Other supervisors came and assessed us as we stood there. You could feel their eyes upon your body as they tried to ascertain your abilities for whatever tasks they needed to be done. People were herded off in one direction or another and I saw my wife whisked off to some unknown location in the flour mill. Where she went, I didn't know. Would I see her again? Maybe. But there are no guarantees in life.

I stopped considering her fate and tried to stay focused as I was selected and went off in the opposite direction. The man laughed in my general direction and said something vague. I don't remember what it was exactly, but he took me into a concrete room that was directly under the main silo. In the middle of the chamber was an enormous white bag hanging from 2 great straps under a chute. It was partially full of material and swayed gently. He told me it was full of flour.

I had never seen such a great whopping bag of flour such as this, and as interesting as that was, it was what happened next that surprised me. He told me to push the bag.

“Really? You want me to push the bag?” I said making sure I heard him correctly.

“Yes give it a shove.” he replied.
I gave it a shove. It swayed a little. “Harder!” said the man. “Really push it!” So I shoved it harder, putting more of my body into it. It swayed a little more than the last time.

“Again!” he commanded. I could tell he was starting to be disappointed that he chose me to accompany him as my third attempt looked about as ineffectual as the others.

“Why am I doing this again?” I asked. He explained that we had to pack in 2000 lbs. Of the flour into the bag before they shipped it and to make the flour fit, you had to make it settle down into the bag apparently by abusing it physically and not just verbally.

He suggested this was a great way to relieve stress. I secretly didn't agree with him. I was certain it would not relieve anything, let alone stress. Feeling like I didn't have a choice, I threw myself into my work (literally). I hurled myself at this obstinate thing to try to get it to succumb to my will.

At first I had a hard time getting motivated to beat on the enormous sack. After all, it hadn't insulted my mother nor had it pulled a weapon on me. It didn't seem to be harming anyone, it just hung there, dangling. But as I tried to work it over I became more and more frustrated with it. My attitude changed and my resolve to defeat it grew.

I tried leaping on it and I tried different pushing techniques that I had seen athletes and expectant mothers perform. I tried putting the 160 pounds of my body behind every violent shove. I kept repeating my various attacks until my wrists started to ache. But I kept pushing on it and it started to sway more and more. At times I would not time my attacks correctly with the swinging and I would collide with it and nearly get flattened.

But I never went down. I wouldn’t give it or the supervisor the satisfaction of seeing me give sway to the enemy. And my persevering finally paid off. I eventually started to wear it down and the flour settled down into the bag, but as it did, the mill man would add more flour and encourage more violence. He kept watch on the digital readout that was placed on part of the scale apparatus waiting for it to reach the goal weight.

I grew tired but I kept fighting. I inwardly groaned as each new addition never seem to put it over the desired conclusion. I concentrated and lost track of time and finally the happy moment came. I heard the man say “Stop, that's enough.” and I saw the magic number on the readout and without any fanfare, it was over.

My breathing was heavy, my limbs were tired and I felt like I had just wrestled a giant's scrotum. But it was over and thankfully, so was the work day. So I turned in my hair net, found my wife and drove us home. As I reminisced on what had happened I realized that although technically I had beat the enormous bag of flour and achieved my goal, I knew in my heart that it had truly defeated me, because I never wanted to go back for a rematch.

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Evil Eye

One night my eyeball exploded.

Not in a “Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star” kind of explosion but in a “WTF! What's wrong with you?” kind of way. My wife first noticed it in the morning when she brought me some coffee.
There was no sensation of any kind. So I rushed to a mirror and saw that my eye had turned red. It was gruesome to look at, but at least it was painless. After the initial shock and some internet research it turns out I was suffering from a subconjunctival hemorrhage. I wasn't entirely sure of the reason for it but I vaguely remember sneezing in my sleep.

Since it wasn't irritating in any way nor did it impair my vision, I quickly got used to it. It happened on a Sunday which is a day off for me, so I kind of forgot about it until I got around other people.

At work the next day, after finding out that I wasn't dying or more importantly that I wasn't going to infect them with a dread disease, my co-workers would try to ignore it but you could see that they had a hard time looking away from my hideous deformity. As my customers would look upon me I could see the thinly veiled shock on their faces as they tried to play it cool and place their orders without throwing up or running out of the store prematurely.
At first it bothered me a little being a freak of nature with my abnormal eye, but then it started to be fun. I felt the power of having an evil eye and I would flash it at strangers and watch them get nervous under my gaze, certain that I could look through them to their very soul. They thought me a monster disguised as a human. An evil wizard out of nightmares walking the aisles of their stores waiting to whisk away unattended children to be eaten during a Black Mass, but only after I cursed them with plague!
But the fun only lasts so long. Only a certain amount of people are frightened of the unknown. There are in fact, other people who are well meaning and not superstitious that would ask if I knew that my eye was deformed and if I, perhaps, needed medical attention. One such exchange happened while I was eating a hamburger at a well known clown funded operation. An old man kept staring at me from another table and I kept wondering why (having forgot about my ailment because my mind was on eating lunch) until he walked over and made sure I wasn't having a stroke.
Gradually over the next few weeks my eyeball returned to normal and I was grateful as I had grown tired of the experience. Now, I'm scared to sneeze.

Thursday, March 19, 2015