“My spelling is Wobbly. It’s good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.” – A. A. Milne
Pumpkins, you know I try to blend the everyday with humor, toss in a pinch of cynicism, and baste it lovingly with hyperbole before serving it up to you, piping hot…but there are some things that cannot be sugar coated. I hate to break it to you if you didn’t already suspect it, or alternatively confirm your worst fears if you did: the kids are not alright.
At least, their spelling isn’t. I’m again convinced that autocorrect is killing our brains. Here’s a few of our most recent puzzles (from witness statements, appeals, emails, and letters) and our best guesses as to what they are supposed to mean:
hared = hard
vary = very
ad = and
mastak = mistake
whey = why
exspesholy/espetially = especially
roung = wrong
lugudge = luggage
situadion = situation
oll = all
agaon = again
“Whoever one is, and wherever one is, one is always in the wrong if one is rude. ”
~ Maurice Baring
Dear World at Large,
Me again! You know, if you could just learn one or two of these little lessons I’m trying to get across, we wouldn’t have to speak so often. You could go along your merry way and I could kick back and return to chuckling benignly at your expense. But alas, you seem determined to thrust yourself rudely at me, and here we are.
This one will be pretty short:
It is an almost laughable fallacy of yours that customer service will get better as you get nastier. Snarling (literally) at us, calling us foul names, rolling your eyes and making “under your breath” commentary about the person trying to help you (heavy on the word “incompetence”) might be a nice, passive aggressive way for you to make your feelings known, but it will not speed us up. It will not imbue us with bureaucratic powers we do not currently posses and it will not endear you to us. Screaming at us will actually make us less inclined to work with you, as we will be primarily concerned with getting you out of our hair.
And, here’s a tip, if you are determined to be a b***** or a b******, being surprised when someone responds to you in kind doesn’t become you. Because someday, some brave soul not confined to office-job-obligated politeness will let you have it. And you will find it a harrowing experience.
…stole my favorite kitchen implement ever, my orange peeler! The niftiest thing ever invented for a consummate citrus lover. I left it with an orange to chill in our (fortified and limited access) dispatch room’s refrigerator and when I returned a couple hours later, it, my orange, several salad dressing packagers, and a bag of carrot sticks had been snatched.
In spite of the jokes and sitcom stories of this sort of thing, this is my first incident of food being stolen in nearly 3 years of office work. Also, what sort of ruffian steals healthy food from the office fridge? Aren’t the soda cans labeled “Property of T-Dawg” and the “secret” candy bars in the freezer usually the first to go?
So, orange peeler thief, you’re on notice. Either return it unharmed and be spared, or suffer the vicious voodoo curse I am prepared to unleash on you!
“That’s disgusting…thanks for taking one for the team.” “But I don’t want to take one for the team. I want to leave the team to its moldy fate.” – Student employee, C.
One of the downsides of working at a university is that everything is time is cyclical. The wheel of life and work turns by semesters and even though you are out of school, you are directly affected by this fact. For example, I do most of my hiring and firing of students at the beginning of new semesters – kids graduate, have tough schedules, or sometimes even drop out and have to be terminated or replaced. During Fall and Winter terms I’m involved with projects related to various athletic seasons. When Spring and Summer terms roll around I, and others, will be beating our heads on our desks for whole weeks at a time for lack of work – you can only reorganize the supply closet, update your all of your forms, and rearrange your staplers so many times before you’re quite longing for heinous crimes to be committed.
But there is a sneaky week or two in the middle of every semester, after you’ve finished hiring all of your new students and finished your major projects, and just before you have to start ordering next month’s supplies and prep next term’s spreadsheets, that you are stuck.
It is at this soul numbing point that I start wandering about the office begging for work. Susie is usually pretty good at giving me some filing or shredding, or handing one of her own projects over to me if she is swamped, but even her ideas can give out. And so it proved this mid-Winter.
I had my annual employee evaluation and told her that since I began working here I’ve tried to streamline and improve processes and I’ve been successful – to the point that I regularly don’t have enough to do, especially during mid-term deadlock. When she asked what sort of small project ideas I’ve come up with, I listed the various tasks I’ve given myself over the past year and declared without guilt that the idea well has run dry. After a moment she said she had a job that needed doing but didn’t want to offend me by asking. I told her I didn’t mind.
So today I spent an hour on hand and knees cleaning out the two refrigerators in the break area.
And let me just state for the record, there are mothers all over the United States today, wringing their hands and weeping as they try to figure out where they went wrong.
I pulled seven one litre bottles of soda that were up to a year old (and fermenting), three packages of cream cheese that had turned teal (and grown eyes), almost an entire pizza that had dried out months ago (and fossilized), and several tupperware filled with various rotting mush (that had apparently evolved highly enough to invent a rudimentary form of communication). Let us not speak of the fish I found. Really. Let’s not.
“I’ve ridden the tiger ragged. That tiger, it’s rolled over on its blazing back and put up its paws and just asked me to stop.” – Glenn Duncan, I Lucifer
I really was expecting a slow day today, kittens. It’s below freezing so no one’s about, my phone has rung exactly twice, and until 11 this morning I was staring at my empty inbox wondering how I would fill the time. Woof, was I misled!
Hennessy and I are wrangling dozens of student uniforms that have gone “missing” over the past few months since we have nothing to give to the handfuls of new students we keep hiring. Shockingly, all these “missing” uniforms have turned up in the very locker rooms students and supervisors have sworn blind they’ve not been in for months.
I’m up to my elbows in paperwork finding arrest records, dating from before I was born, on microfiche, running background checks, and logging hours of training for our officers. Goodness knows whether or not I’ll get lunch before 3 at this point!
However, that quiet time was semi-productive. After a period of Wiki-surfing, it is now a driving ambition of my life to achieve this honor!
Can I manage this without moving to Nebraska? Somehow I feel as though I mingle well with the august company. Admiral C. Small Dog of the good ship HMS Guppy!
Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect. – W. Clement Stone
Dear Salesperson Who Thinks You Are Clever,
You’re not. You are approximately the four hundred twenty-seventh person this week to try to get access to an administrator by claiming to be a close personal friend. I am not quite an idiot, thank you, and I have heard every single one of the techniques you will try to get around me.
“He’ll see me, he asked me to come in,” you say. I doubt that, since he’s been on vacation most of this week and plans on being out of the office for a good chunk of the next as well.
“He’s a very old friend of mine, but I don’t know how to get in touch with him,” you try next. That’s funny. I’ve got phone numbers, email, blogs, Facebook, googling, and any number of ways to get in touch with my “very old friends.”
“Don’t you know who I am?!” you cry in desperation. No. And since it’s my job to most relevant people, that ought to tell you something.
See, Small Dog may be a minor secretary way down on the totem pole, but she’s good at her job. And it would take a far cleverer salesman than you to get past the gates. You may leave your card and contact information like everybody else.
So far we have also seen, two Avatar people (the blue ones), one Lord Voldemort, and several Waldos (as “Where’s…”). Also a green plastic army guy, a BP oil spill, and the entire Monty Python crew.
And, speaking of clothes, the winner of our giveaway is…
Amanda who said her favorite thing about herself was: “my skin tone. I’m extremely white, but I’ve got enough on my mom’s olive hues to pull off pretty much any hair color. And changing up the hair is fun stuff.”
Congratulations Amanda! I’ll be contacting you to ship your prize to you!
“It occurred to me that my speech or my silence, indeed any action of mine, would be a mere futility.” – Joseph Conrad
I was given a project today. One that I’m still trying to make sense of. It can best be summarized by my puzzled response to Lt. Figaro when he gave it to me. At the time of assignment, Susie’s and my eyebrows were having a contest to see whose could climb higher.
“So you want me to run reports.”
“From a database I don’t have access to, using a program that hasn’t worked form months, to organize information that no one can find, with query requests that don’t exist.”
“Hi, this is [ahem] from the History department. We’ve just received a package that appears to contain a human skull. Could you send someone over, please?”
– [ahem] from History department
We sent over an officer half expecting to uncover a Halloween decoration with “Made in China” stamped merrily across it. Imagine our surprise then when he carted back a box containing two and half genuine human noggins! Look to be Native American remains, they’re trying to trace them now. Naturally the desecration of human bodies and disturbing of Indian remains is both illegal and (especially at this time of year) liable to open portals into the nether world, but sue me, I’m thrilled. I dashed back to the patrol room, slapped on a pair of plastic gloves, and got to handle them under the officer’s watchful eye. It’s the most interesting thing that’s happened in a couple of weeks! And if I drop dead in the near future, you can snuff it up to an ancient curse.
In less bizarre but equally exciting news, poodles, come back tomorrow for an exciting new giveaway!
Note: the prize will not include federally protected remains, items, artwork, etc. Apologies in advance for any disappointment.
“It’s like saying ‘Macbeth’ in the theatre!” – Grey’s Anatomy
Surviving in the corporate world, even on the rather planktonian level of a University police office, requires certain precautions of the supernatural variety. Whether by occult design or unnatural happenstance, bad things often happen in threes. Whenever one needs a large print job, an obligatory sacrifice of small animals/Freshmen is usually necessary to get its resident poltergeist to permit the entire project to come out unscathed. When discussing hypothetical future events, it is absolutely necessary to pound, not simply knock, on wood to ensure that nothing will hex your efforts.
And you must never, under any circumstances, ever make the fatal mistake of saying that the office is “quiet.” It matters not if it’s dull as tombs, to draw attention to any dearth of activity is to invoke the wrath of the Office Gods who delight in punishing mortals. The moment you mention that you haven’t enough to do, that no one has come to the front desk in some weeks, or that the phone hasn’t even rung in approximately 400 years…le deluge.
Cars start colliding, thieves pour from the shadows and swipe everything in sight, power lines go down and tornadoes spin up.
Friday I made the classic error. Hennessy and I were comparing late afternoon notes on our days when I confessed that the office was dead.
Immediately bellows erupted from Lt. Figaro’s office and echoed down the hall as he and a patron got into it a bit over the phone. And mere moments after that a young lady appeared, asking one of the officers to do something to a report (I didn’t hear precisely what, but it seemed she wished to come off sounding better than she felt the report currently did). She was instantly and brusquely informed that no such change would be made and was bid a stern good day and exited snarling. Every phone in the office started ringing. Lt. Figaro finally hung up on his frothing foe and stormed out to raise havoc in the patrol room.
Seeing that she was next in line for a lashing, I quietly suggested to Hennessy that she and I extricate ourselves from the situation my tongue had foolishly caused. We escaped to do the laundry run.