Sometimes I feel like there isn’t much difference between my commute to work and the Oregon Trail.
With the economy improved, my son, Pat, finally found a job in electrical engineering. Pat traveled to various locales to analyze and fix problems with his company’s equipment. Yet it frustrated him that his employer gave him little training.
One day Pat heard about some training classes coming up and asked if he might attend. “Oh, sure,” his boss said. “You’re going to be the instructor.”
Analyst: I can give you the numbers, but you can’t go public with it.
Marketing Manager: I’m not going to go public with it. I’ll just present it at a meeting.
Analyst: Who’s going to be at the meeting?
Marketing Manager: It’s a stakeholder meeting. So whoever wants to come. You know, it’s open to the public.
From the police blotter, or, what a beat cop deals with every day:
• A deputy responded to a report of a vehicle stopping at mailboxes. It was the mail carrier.
• A woman said her son was attacked by a cat, and the cat would not allow her to take her son to the hospital.
• A resident said someone had entered his home at night and taken five pounds of bacon. Upon further investigation, police discovered his wife had gotten up for a late-night snack.
• A man reported that a squirrel was running in circles on Davis Drive, and he wasn’t sure if it was sick or had been hit by a car. An officer responded, and as he drove on the street, he ran over the squirrel.
Have you ever been a victim of a JIB (job interview breakdown)? These men and women have:
• “I was so nervous at a job interview, when he asked me what I wanted to be in five years, I said, ‘Race car driver.’”
• “The guy asked me to tell him a little about myself, and I literally forgot who I was.”
• “I got asked about punctuality. I went on about how it was good to speak clearly and politely, and it was nice to use proper grammar in speech and writing.”
My boss and I took a job applicant to lunch, where we tried, with little success, to get him to open up about his experience and qualifications. Frustrated, my boss set his salad aside and proposed a specific and complex situation to the young man, then asked, “What would you do?”
The applicant hesitated, then, looking my boss straight in the eye, said, “Are you going to eat all those tomatoes?”
John Richman, Webster, New York
• I’m employed at a computer security company and have a colleague whose name is M. Alware. His e-mail address is [email protected]
• My ex-boss’s name is R. Stone. His e-mail was [email protected]
• My name is James Pan. Every other permutation of my name was taken (e.g., jpan, jamesp), so I’m stuck with [email protected]
I have a question. = I have 18 questions.
I’ll look into it. = I’ve already forgotten about it.
I tried my best. = I did the bare minimum.
Happy to discuss further. = Don’t ask me about this again.
No worries. = You really messed up this time.
Take care. = This is the last you’ll ever hear from me.
Cheers! = I have no respect for you or myself!
As a Speech therapist, I was working with a preschooler on body-part identification and the k sound. To that end, I had him use Play-Doh to make a sculpture of me.
“Is that my neck?” I asked, trying to get him to repeat the word.
“No, that’s your chin,” he said.
He added more Play-Doh. “Is that my neck?” I asked.
“No, that’s your other chin.”
Ilene Smith, Milan, Michigan
I’ve been working on my PhD
in engineering for the past five years, but my kids don’t necessarily see that as work.
As we were driving past Walmart one day, my son spotted a Now Hiring sign and suggested that I could get a job there.
Hoping to make a point, I asked, “Do you think they’re looking for an engineer?”
“Oh, sure,” he said. “They’ll hire anybody.”
Christopher Fields, Fort Collins, Colorado
I supervised an employee who had a negative view of everything I did. If I took a vacation day, I was “never there.” If I praised someone’s work, it was “too little, too late.”
He eventually took another job but was fired six months later. Shortly thereafter, he contacted me, hoping to return to his old job.
“Have you learned anything from this experience?” I asked.
“Yes, I should have stayed here,” he admitted. “You’re too indecisive to have ever fired me.”
Terry O’Connor, Chantilly, Virginia
Before google, there were librarians. Here are some queries posed to the poor, suffering staff of public libraries:
• A woman wanted “inspirational material on grass and lawns.”
• “Who built the English Channel?”
• “Is there a full moon every night in Acapulco?”
• “Music suitable for a doll wedding to take place between a Shirley Temple doll and a teddy bear.”
• “Can the New York Public Library recommend a good forger?”
A woman called our airline customer-service desk asking if she could take her dog on board.
“Sure,” I said, “as long as you provide your own kennel.” I further explained that the kennel needed to be large enough for the dog to stand up, sit down, turn around, and roll over.
The customer was flummoxed: “I’ll never be able to teach him all of that by tomorrow!”
After football fans in Philadelphia were treated to a particularly excruciating loss earlier in the season, a man phoned a sports-radio talk-show host to say, “Everyone should call in and give one word for that game.”
“What’s your word?” the host replied.
“Bored out of my mind,” said the caller.
From Sports Illustrated
Librarians may be shy, but their patrons aren’t. Look at their oddball requests:
A patron offered me $100 to steal a cactus from somebody’s yard.
A patron wanted me to find a book to teach her dog German.
A patron on his way to the casino asked to rub my red hair for luck.
A patron once asked me for my home phone number so she could call me with reference questions when I wasn’t at work.
Roz Warren, from womensvoicesforchange.org