“The cat likes overhearing children stories.” – Amelie (2001)
Working at University Police Department, one overhears things. And if one is like me, with the unnatural ability to tune into conversations at the oddest, most embarrassing, or just when it’s heading for the HR office reportable. one overhears too much.
Can you guess the context of what was overheard this week?
“I need to go put a shirt on.”
A) Lt. Colossus gets in from his shift at Chippendales
B) A load of pasta had spilled down Lt. Figaro’s best uniform
C) A student officer, forced to strip when he got soaked in a downpour, relates his frustration
“She was the least flexible woman I’ve ever done!”
A) Wise relates a tale from her pregnancy yoga class
B) Lt. Citrus accidentally lets slip an insight to his scandal ridden past
C) Officer Lampost fingerprints an octogenarian
“Wow, I’ve never seen you in clothes!”
A) Bebe reveals her scandalous affair, HR is called
B) Bebe reveals her propensity to visit Chippendales (see Number 1)
C) Bebe embarrasses an officer when we get a rare glimpse of him in street clothes
“Have you ever been jogging with fireflies. Magical!”
A) A student officer is on drugs
B) A student officer is severely concussed
C) Hell if we know…
A) A student officer is on drugs, again
B) A student officer ate a whole bag of Jolly Ranchers and is vibrating from a sugar high
The answers are all “C”
1-2 correct: you’ve a filthy mind
3-4 correct: you’ve a boring mind
5 correct: cheater!
“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” ~ Katharine Hepburn
Yesterday, under orders from the University, the entire department attended an anti-harassment seminar. It didn’t go as well as could have been desired.
The officers, muttering something about cooties, grudgingly trotted off and about an hour later office personnel followed. When the secretaries entered, a collective groan went up as the men were forced to put away their Vargas posters and NSFW magazines.
The presenter stood up, closing her ears when an unnamed person muttered something about “having to listen to this broad for an hour,” and put on a cheerful face.
“I’m here to talk to you all today about unacceptable behaviors at work. Luckily there are no [censored slur] here, so this should be easy.”
Things rapidly devolved from there.
“The protected categories of personal traits are sex, gender, religious affinity, color, genetic information, age, and -”
“What’s the difference between sex and gender?” yelled out someone. “I mean, besides who you’re allowed to hit on?”
“One is your actual sex, male or female. The other refers to expectations or traits of your sex. For example, ridiculing a woman for trying to tackle something obviously beyond her scope, like chemistry. Or a man for studying something that we can use to determine his sexual orientation, like musical theatre.”
“I’m a musical theatre major,” injected one student from the back of the conference room.
“Oooh, look at him,” cooed some of his compatriots flapping their wrists at him and beginning to make obscene personal remarks.
“Then why don’t you put on a skirt and wash something,” yelled a sergeant, diminutive in size anxious to fit in the Boys Club.
C., enraged at the slur on A) skirts and B) laundry duties, leaped to her feet, climbed up over the seats and delivered a long and inventoried tirade abusing the sergeant’s personal hygiene and evolutionary history. Hennessy, attempting to restrain her friend, tried to mitigate matters until a student officer told her to “shut up, quit working, and stay at home like she was supposed to.” Whereupon both Hennessy and C. launched themselves at the student and his companions and frightful blows were exchanged.
“Women can work,” Chief hurried to scream into the fray, trying to calm everyone down, “unless they become pregnant!”
“Excuse me?” bellowed Wise planting her hands on her growing stomach to brace for impact before she barreled him over. Rounding on the company she roared, “Who’s next, you bunch of communists?!”
Susie demanded, “Who’s the commie pig?” whipped off her heels and began stabbing anyone in her way with stilettos
While this was going on, both a male and female officer had taken refuge under the stage. “Good thing we’re staying out of it,” said the male officer to a female, nudging her arm conspiratorially.
“Molester!” she screamed and dragged her surprised, hapless victim out where he was quickly devoured by a herd of bloodthirsty traffic clerks.
From the podium, the presenter tried to beat off a student officer with a propensity to stalking with a chair, yelling “Fire!” to make someone pay attention to her plight.
“I thought,” shouted Chief from where he was wrestling with a young female worker who was trying to get him in a compromising position in order to sue the university, “you had to tell someone who – ow! – was annoying or offending you – let go of my leg! – to stop before you could take legal action.”
“Oh no!” responding the presenter, getting her assailant into a headlock, “A behavior doesn’t have to be acknowledged to be unwelcome.”
“Yeah!” shouted Lt. Colossus, emerging from the brawl bloody but unbowed. “Watch!”
He reached out to where Lauper was punching an officer and ridiculing him for impotence, slapped her on the bum and collapsed on the ground when she promptly kneed him in the groin. She was then set upon by a small horde of police officers who beat her senseless, calling her (alternatively) Hindu, Sheik, Protestant, and a variation of African spiritualism that the editors are not sure how to correctly spell.
The brawl was not broken up until both dogs and firehoses were turned on the rampaging attendees. At which time it was ascertained that four were dead, seven concussed, one was bleeding out, three had lost the ability to walk, and two the ability to reproduce. Other casualties include a missing eye, several knocked out teeth and, to date, one marriage. After mopping up the entrails, the mob was deposited at the university’s Equal Opportunity office where the presenter, ashamed that she let the meeting get so out of hand, apologized but was fired anyway because in the future, “keeping track of these [censored slur] would clearly be a man’s job.”
After a strict talking to, the rest of us were sent home with copies of “Men are from Neptune, Women are from Saturn’s Sixth Moon, Titan.”
“Ah, Cindy Sondheim, you should have lived in an earlier age. Things were simpler, less complicated. Do you know how many women had nervous breakdowns in the fourteenth century? Two.”
– Love at First Bite
Thanks for all the lovely pick-me-up comments yesterday, darlings. It was really nice to know how many of you have felt the same way – and as every last one of you have turned out amazing and unbelievably fabulous, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to do the same with a bit more time, a few more naps, and much less stress.
Yesterday was beastly (if you couldn’t tell!). We’ve heard negatives on some of J.’s internship applications and are still waiting to hear back on others, which is almost more nerve wracking.
I had to hire a dozen students last minute and despite telling administration multiple times that we don’t have space for any more people, they were still shocked to discover that we didn’t have enough lockers or uniforms/gear for them. Unfortunately, the ones ending up looking foolish in this situation are your friendly neighborhood C. and Hennessy, who have to explain to several students why they have to cart a pile half as tall as me of gear home with them.
I barely averted a few violations that would have added up to potentially thousands of dollars in fines had I not caught them.
I’d only got four hours of sleep the night before.
So, these and other factors combined into the perfect storm. Literally! Just as I was getting ready to go do the laundry run, a massive lightening and rain storm whipped up. You may recall how often it rains when I do the laundry run, it’s lately become the office joke. So when I ambled past Susie’s office to tell her I was heading out I glanced our her window and froze. It was pitch black outside and rain was lashing the pane.
I felt a helpless, hysterical giggle start bubbling up inside of me and a clapped a hand over my mouth to keep it in. But to no avail! Both Susie and Wise turned, saw the rain, and started chuckling. Then Chief poked his head around the corner and grumbled, “Have you done the laundry yet?”
That did it. I collapsed on Susie’s desk laughing (and nearly crying). She and Wise joined in, Chief stared at us a minute before retreating to the safety of his office. When I got home, I put on flannel pants, an oversized sweatshirt, pinned my hair up, and crawled into bed with a book.
I really am surprised and dismayed whenever it is reiterated to me that the general public thinks our department is staffed with morons. I don’t know where this idea comes from – that anyone who works at/for a police department has the IQ of a deck chair – but really, can we let it go?
So when you call up the parking office, asking us to remove a car from our records because you won’t be driving it anymore, we take pause. Because, you see, we have access to your state records and your class schedule. We can see that you live far enough away from campus that walking could be uncomfortable, we can also see that you are sill enrolled in classes. We also know that, with your student parking privileges removed, the only place your car could park on campus would be a visitor lot. And we know that you know that parking in visitor lots while still a student is forbidden. And finally, we are able to guess that a man still enrolled in classes asking us to remove his parking privileges, while living too far away to walk to campus daily, might be trying to find a loophole for parking in visitor lots.
Most vitally, we know that checking visitor lots regularly for people who have already tried this trick hundreds of times, turns up at least half a dozen like minded people a day. Here’s your ticket. Also, I have a Twitter friend for you.
We’re not idiots. And you’re not as clever as you think you are. We really have seen it all before, and have prepared accordingly.
“Sweet is revenge – especially to women.”
– Lord Byron
Good morning, minions. Where can I get the best real-looking plastic snakes money can buy?
Last week, after doing the laundry run, I returned the key to Lt. Colossus as per usual. Then J. and I headed up to the City for the evening. I’d left my phone at home because it needed to charge, and when we came back I had about half a dozen messages on it that proceeded thus:
“C. this is —- from work, Lt. Colossus asked me to call you and find out where you left the key to the van. Could you call me back? Thanks.”
“C. this is —- again, we really need that key.”
“This is Officer —-, I’m not happy. You know that you’re supposed to turn that key into Colossus when you’re done, it’s not your car. We need to use it.”
“C., Colossus. Where the hell is that key? You know better than to keep it, damn it! We need it!”
“C.! Where is it?!”
“C. Hi…sorry…this is Colossus…I found the key…see you tomorrow.”
The blasted man, after having told all the officers on duty who needed the van that I had absconded with their blessed key, had accidentally taken it home with him in his pants pocket. Jupiter Ammon, what is it with men and pants in this office?!
But to add insult to injury, this morning he found Lt. Citrus pressing a uniform in the supply room and cracked, “Shouldn’t you have to wear a skirt to do that?”
Wise heard him and let him have it with both barrels.
“But you girls weren’t supposed to hear that,” he protested.
“It’s sexist whether we hear it or not,” I retorted.
“You just have not sense of humor,” he tried to tease.
Foolish, foolish man. I’ve officially lost patience with your mild but all-pervading sexism and your tendency to blame things on me. And unlike most women you seem to know, I am not of the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away persuasion. Also I know three very important things about you. 1 – that you scream like a girl, 2 – that you are terrified of snakes, 3 – your locker combination.
There are many ways to cure sexism and undesirable behavior. I choose psychological warfare.
Like I said, I am a great fan of signs. I made this sign for Marie because she needed something appropriately British and pink to pick her up post-surgery. I found this sign to be of great comfort to me moving towards a new fall semester. I post signs when I have to take lunch at my desk, so that people know I’m unavailable. I post a sign when I run to the laundry so people know where I am. Signs are meant to be read, and more importantly heeded.
Now, would someone please explain to me how this one ended up in Lt. South’s office? And is anyone else wondering what on earth goes on in this office over the weekends?
“All abstract sciences are nothing but the study of relations between signs.”
– Denis Diderot
One of my annual duties is to process raises for all of the student employees, all 150-200 of them. Each of these raises must be individually entered, then individual added to two separate databases (before I hand them off to Susie who enters them into another worksheet). As you may imagine, this takes quite a bit of time. I usually clear my entire schedule to work solely on this project so that I can get it done in a couple of days.
These couple of days are brain melting. I stare at the computer screen without breaks from the moment I get into work until the moment I leave. By the time I limp out to my car, my eyes are crossing and uncrossing beyond my control. I swear I’ve developed carpal syndrome in my right index finger.
Funny things happen to my head, such as yesterday when I had to do a double take because Pandora (which often doesn’t make sense anyway), playing in my peripherals suddenly flashed a picture of King Leonidas from 300…no…wait. It wasn’t a naked, roaring barbarian, it was Dave Matthews. I rubbed my eyes and prayed for 5pm. But it pays off to do it all at once because within three days I can usually get back to my normal schedule only slightly worse for wear.
The only way I am able to get it all done in a timely matter is by carefully cultivating the idea that anyone who disturbs me during this process will be marched out into the parking lot, lined up, and summarily shot. This year, to facilitate the speedy processing of raises, I put up the following sign:
And, much to my royal irritation, everyone has been ignoring it. Cretins.
We are rather busy and terribly grumpy. We are hiring nearly 30 people, firing about 20, and processing paperwork for all of them, along with giving all our 200 employees an individual raise. Your complaints about not being able to buy more targets to vaporize in shooting practice, bafflement on how to use the fax machine, repeats of questions we’ve answered dozens of times, or excuses of why your work is late will not be acknowledged, much less tolerated.
“No supervisor becomes the quarterback in this situation.”
– Richard Hirsch
About this time last year, we organized a meeting in which to hold student supervisor’s feet to the fire about their negligent hiring practices. The Great Uprising of the Secretaries had some effect since the University complimented our department on having no hiring errors since then. HA!
However, seeing as it’s been a whole year, and what with some people being raised to the position of student without being trained how to do the job, the fact that some supervisors don’t like to read forms, and that the same supervisors have developed the habit of letting the University auto-terminate their students instead of doing the work themselves (actually, telling us to do the work) and not telling us students have quit…we must again go over the same information we did last year. And none of the information has changed.
I long to be able to shake a stack of paperwork, uniforms, and gear in their faces and say, “We do all of this. We get them hired, outfitted, in compliance with state and federal laws, and keep them that way. We keep track of the last time you, their supervisor, with whom they have contact every day, gave them a raise. We get them access to all secured areas, programs, and even sometimes personally hand them pepper spray (at great personal risk). We do this, for 150 of them a year. Literally all we ask of you is to have this form filled out so we know what timetable to do all this on…please explain to me, WHY IS THAT SO HARD?”