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Archive for June, 2009

sick days stigmata rock
First, I listened to Goth Mark’s CD.

Next, I went and saw his band, Mark and The Stigmatas.

Finally, he asked “Be honest, what do you think?”

I said “It’s pretty intense.”

I guess it’s the best ambiguous comment he ever got. He took it as a compliment.

Pretty Intense… I like that.”

Now whenever Goth Mark drops off the mail, all “we” talk about is his band…

Mark: Alpo, I meant to ask. What about Nausea Insomnia?

Me: About what?

Mark: Track three on my CD.

Me: Oh right, track three.

Mark: It’s not derivative of Alien Sex Fiend? Or Sartre?

Me: Nah.

Mark: Yeah. (sings) “Amnesia, hysteria/ I got nausea insomnia!”

Me: Yup. Whoa, look at the time.

Mark: Time To Fester.

Me: What?

Mark: Track six. Time To Fester.

Me: Right.

Mark: We opened with it.

(Silence)

Mark: Hey, have you joined the band’s MySpace Fan Club yet?

Me: I keep forgetting.

Mark: When you join, you should write a review on our page about how awesome we are.

Me: I’m not much of a writer.

Mark: I’ll write it for you!

Me: Please don’t.

Mark: Oh… I’m thinking of changing the band’s name to Pretty Intense.

Me: Makes sense.

Mark: You don’t mind if I use it?

Me: It’s all yours.

Mark: Thanks! You should write some lyrics for the band. Your words. My music. Anyway, no mail for you today. Think lyrics. Later, man.

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sick days otto talk2
Just had lunch with Otto.

Where do they keep the antacids around here?

Int. Fast Food Restaurant – Day

Alan and Otto sitting in booth. They’ve just finished eating their burgers and fries.

Me: So, Otto-mobile.

Otto: I don’t find that funny, Alan.

Me: Sorry. Can you pass me a napkin?

Otto: A napkin?

Me: Yeah, you know, for wiping your mouth.

Otto: I know what a napkin is.

Me: Great. Can you pass me one?

Otto: You don’t have your own?

Me: Uh, no…

Otto: What happened to your napkins?

Me: I forgot to get them. Luckily you grabbed some napkins. So, can you ‘lend’ me one?

Otto: Are you sure you don’t have any napkins? Have you looked under your tray?

Me: Yeah, Otto. I’ve done a pretty exhaustive search.

(Beat)

Otto: I can’t help you.

Me: Excuse me?

Otto: I have 3 napkins. If I loan you one, I’ll only have 2.

Me: And…

Otto: And, I like to have at least 2 back up napkins.

Me: Sounds sensible, but… Come on, Otto.

Otto: I don’t think so.

Me: Otto, just give me a napkin.

Otto: Sorry, but if I give you one, I set a dangerous precedent. Next thing I know you’ll be asking me for a few fries and then a bite of my cheeseburger and a sip of my strawberry shake …

Me: Fine…

Otto: Maybe you should get a napkin holder… To help you organize…

Me: Thanks, Otto…

Otto: Or monogrammed napkins…

Me: Okay, Otto…

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sick-days-hamish-industry-hats
I’m on the Hamish Industries Softball Team.

We’re called The Window Pains.

Our captain is Farook from Accounting. He asked me what position I wanted to play. I laughed and said “towel boy.”

He said I could be towel boy and outfield.

It’s gonna be a long season…

We played our first game last night against Bob Jones’ Revolving Doors.

It was everything I expected. Hot beer and cold chicken wings; sweaty co-workers slapping each other’s rumps, and Otto’s nonstop trumpeting of Gary Glitter’s “Rock N’ Roll.”

“Ba na na na… Hey! Ba na na…”

The first time I went up to bat, my Hamish teammates and pals were all shouting “You’re the man, Alpo.”

By the 7th inning it was “Oh great, here comes the strikeout king.”

Mike compared my striking out at the plate with my success rate with the ladies. The “limp bat” jokes quickly followed. Everyone found them very funny.

It was a long dark night of softball.

Everytime I said “Is it over yet?” drunk Mary Margaret would respond with “You’re such a turd, Alpo.”

But things got interesting in the bottom of the 9th

We were winning.

They were up at bat.

Two out, bases loaded, full count, and me in the outfield checking my blackberry. (I know; a typical baseball cliché.)

That’s when I heard the sound of a crack and people yelling.

I looked up. The field lights were in my face. I stuck up my hand to block them out. I accidentally caught the ball.

Next thing I knew the members of The Window Pains were carrying me across the field and cheering my name.

I kept asking them to put me down and let me go home, but they didn’t hear me.

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sick days summer students
Today, Hamish Industries welcomed three “summer students” to the customer service department.

Their names are largely interchangeable but I believe they are Kathy, Cathy and KC.

The idea, I suppose, is to introduce keen young people to the world of work while, at the same time, providing us with some much needed help during the summer vacation season.

The reality, though, is rather depressing.

Nothing bumps up employee morale more than introducing a bunch of fit, young and optimistic young people into a moribund workplace.

Just having them here serves as a great reminder of how horribly our own lives have gone off the rails.

Somehow we just seem fatter, older and pastier-looking when sitting next to them.

It’s also depressing to note that someone can walk in out of high school and learn your job in the same time it takes you to find them a chair.

It’s a reminder that we all had dreams once – and that’s not something we like to be reminded of.

I heard one girl say to Naline. “You’ve been here 20 years? Oh my god, you’ve been doing this job since before I was born.”

Naline went home early. She looked like she’d been crying.

The only upside is that they seem genuinely afraid of us. Horrified, really.

But even then I suspect that has more to do with the fact that they’re getting their first glimpse of what might be waiting for them.

In some ways, I suppose we’re providing a valuable lesson. It’s almost like a “scared straight” exercise. Stay in school, kids, or you too could end up being 40 and having Otto ask you to “sniff” his lunch.

It should be a “bitchin” summer.

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sick days cube vultures
Given the circumstances of Typhoid Mildred’s recent departure, people have been more restrained than usual in their cube plundering.

Usually the vultures descend quickly and start scooping up staplers, rulers, mousepads – anything that isn’t bolted to the floor.

Of course it’s just a matter of time. Once someone makes a move and unplugs her desk fan, all bets are off.

The larger issue will be who gets Mildred’s cube. It has indirect light and a partial view of a corner of a window, so in Hamish terms, it’s a very desirable piece of real estate.

Word is that the lobbying for her cube has already started on the QT. Innocent emails of inquiry to Clark and casual hints dropped at the water fountain.

It’s kind of creepy. Her seat isn’t even cold yet.

While I have no intention of claiming a stake (it’s a fixer up ‘er and likely haunted) I do have an interest in who gets it.

My worse case scenario has Otto moving in. Or Farook. Or Mike. In fact, when I think about it, there’s no one in the office that I can imagine being able to co-exist with for any length of time. I’m not sure what that says about them – or me.

I might be okay with a photocopier. It’s hard to say. They can be noisy and draw a crowd.

Mildred wasn’t the most engaging neighbour but she was quiet, professional and made me laugh. Plus, she kept other people out of our corner of the office. And she made me tea once.

Oh. My. God… I miss Mildred!

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sick days so long typhoid
Typhoid Mildred was fired today.

Apparently she was captured on the office video surveillance stealing a box of pencils… Oh, and apparently we have office video surveillance.

Mildred got a call, went to HR, and came back to her desk with Trudy and two Security Guards. She packed the contents of her desk into a single box and was ushered out of the office.

But Mildred did not go gentle into the land of unemployment.

First, she screamed “Help me!”

Then she bit one of the Security Guards.

Next she broke free and made for Clark’s office.

By the time she was pulled off Clark, the boxed contents of her desk were scattered all over the floor. The picture of Mr. Hamish, the 1950’s Hamish Industries print ads, the Hamish coffee mug, key chain, and chachkes.

She’s been her for over 40 years and they dragged her out by her ankles…

There’ll be no retirement party for Mildred.

As she was hauled past us, I asked Clark if there wasn’t something he could do to help her.

Clark asked me if I knew how much a box of pencils cost.

I said “A box of 12 costs around $3.00 at Staples.”

Then Clark asked me if I liked working here.

He walked off with a smile on his face as Mildred’s screams drowned out the photocopiers, phones and fax machines.

As the elevator doors were closing behind her, she yelled “I’ll be back to kill you all in your sleep!”

That should keep us all awake.

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Otto sick day gas horror
Otto continues to be unwell. (That’s the understatement of the year.)

He called in sick again.

As is always the case, an Otto-free zone means everyone’s getting a lot more work done. Plus, the weirdo quotient is lower.

This morning we needed to get a file from his filing cabinet. No one wanted to go near it. We all figured it was probably booby trapped – or possessed.

I drew the short straw…

I started in his top drawer. That was okay. A stapler, nine boxes of business cards and a flier from a sperm bank. Weird, but not the sort of thing that leaves you unhinged.

The middle drawer was stranger. Much stranger. A copy of my personal file, a kazoo, a pair of underpants, an I Love Lucy Pez dispenser, and a mini chainsaw.

It was in the bottom drawer that I hit the mother-lode of freakiness. I found the files, thankfully, but also…

A Wonder Woman action figure

A gas mask

A bunch of photocopies of someone’s ass (Otto’s, I’m guessing)

A plastic bag of chattering teeth

A carton of Yak Milk

A book about “American Elves”

A stuffed and mounted hamster

Pencil sketches of Clark

And what looked suspiciously like a human toe

I’m never going back in there again. Ever. I have to call our EAP now. Plus, I need a long shower and about five years of therapy.

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