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Posts Tagged ‘work’

What does a bent hotdog skewer, a folding step ladder, a husky and laundry room have in common?  Read on, read on.

Once a month on a specific Wednesday I have to be at work a little earlier than usual and this was one of those Wednesdays. As I stepped out of the shower I hear a clap of thunder.  No surprise every time I have to do some traveling for work it manages to rain.  But it wasn’t thunder my wife who just had knee surgery calls out that something must have fallen in the kitchen.  ‘Okay I’ll get dry and have a look”  My wife  thinks it may be that her mother has fallen so she hobbles out of bed and out of the room in search of the disaster that awaits outside our door.   As I’m exiting the bathroom my wife hobbles back in the room and informs me that there is nothing going on out there but the dog is whining in the laundry room, but she was just in too much pain to check on her properly not to mention that the dog always whines at this time in the morning.

I get dressed and head out to check on the dog.  I can’t open the laundry/dog room door.  Sometimes the dog sleeps in front of the door so a little extra shove is needed but this was not to be the case because I hear her prancing around.  I turn the knob and give a harder shove.  The door remains closed.  I drop to the floor and by ‘drop’ I mean slowly lower my achy 47 yr old body to the floor and get my eye on the ground and peer underneath.  At first I see nothing but some dog paws the ground is clear from the door to the washing machine.  Then I notice a metal bar along the edge of the bottom of the washing machine.  We have a folding stepstool behind the door, that metal bar is the base of the frame of the stepstool.  The G*d  D****d  M****r F***ing  step stool is wedged between the bottom of the washer and about a foot up from the bottom of the door!

I let Denyce know the situation and I head to the garage to find something to slide under the door so I can move the step stool.  I found a piece of wood and a hotdog skewer, the kind used to roast a hotdog over a fire.   Sliding the piece of wood under the door did no good, the bottom end of the stool was jammed under the washer, I was pushing so hard on my end of the wood that I was sliding along the linoleum floor, but that stool was not moving.   The hotdog skewer proved to be of less help.   My last option was the window.

As I was heading out the door to get the ladder my wife reminded me to bring my knife to cut the screen. I maneuvered the ladder up the embankment and against the window frame.  I was very excited to see that the storm window was part way up.  I cut the screen and pushed the storm window all the way up.  The inside window was firmly locked in place.  But it was one of those locks that have been around since the dawn of time, surly I could think my way around this lock.  I pressed against the window and there was plenty of wiggle room, I could slide something between the upper and lower frames and wiggle the mechanism out of the catch.  And I had the perfect tool!  A carpet knife is a really thin blade with a hook on the end.  I figure I can hook the edge of the lock and work it backwards. No problem and I still had time to get to work ahead of time.  I slide my knife between the frames and guess what?  No go.  It seems somebody had thought of this before me.  It appears the way this stupid window was built was to keep people out once it is locked!  Can you imagine that?  The frame is offset where they meet so you can’t slide an object between the two!  My last option is to break the window.   Standing on the ladder I look carefully at exactly what I have to do because now it is about to get serious.  I take inventory.  I need a hammer, gloves, eye protection.  I’m going to break the window slide my hand inside open the lock and open the window.  From there I’ll crawl on top of the dryer and voila!  I go over it in my head once again before heading down the ladder.  Is there another way?  I don’t want to break the window.  I’m missing something, I take another look at the window and with a humbling view I do a self assessment of myself.  I’m no longer the scrawny 12 yr old that could wiggle through this window.  I could get my head and shoulders through the window and then I would reach a sudden unpleasant and humiliating stop.  Now What?

I could still break the window and try to entice my 12 year old 60 pound husky to jump on the dryer and wiggle out the window and then we would be both be balanced atop a precarious ladder, nope, not going to happen.

Entering the house my wife informs me that even if I break the window, she doesn’t think I would fit through, yeah already thought that one through, thanks.

I sit on the floor listening to my husky loudly complaining on the other side of the door.  My wife asks if I knew the non emergency 911 number.  She calls and talks to the dispatcher who is going to call the fire chief and have him call us back.   Did I mention that my wife and I belong to a C.A.R.T (County Animal Response Team) team?  Yeah and we can’t even get our dog out of the laundry room.  And not only am I going to have to call my boss and tell him I’m going to be a little late, I’ve got to call and tell him I’m not going to be in at all.  And then I’ll have to tell him why.  But I still have time…

While waiting for the call from the fire chief I go back to playing with my hotdog skewer under the door.   My wife suggests that I bend the hotdog skewer at a 90 degree angle.  I bite my tongue at the first thought, and the second.  Not sure what good it will do I go ahead and make the bend, I have no better idea and my wife is usually right about such things.  I slide the skewer back under the door and wiggle it around.  Perhaps it will give me more leverage.  Perhaps I can grip the edge of the step stool between the forks and wiggle it out of the way.  Nothing, then a light clicks on in my head.  With the skewer bent I can use it like a lever, from there with a little swearing and patience I manage to maneuver the skewer into position and push down on my end.  The step ladder moved just a fraction but it moved.  I pressed against the door and it opened just enough for me to see the dogs nose.  Still pressing down on my side of the skewer my wife shoved the door a little bit more.  Together we freed the dog! Reaching around I pull out the offending step stool.  With a sigh of relief my wife calls back the 911 dispatcher who cancels the call

In seconds my wife and I are in action.  I clean the dog pee off the laundry room floor.  Five minutes later we are in the car heading for work.  While I’m not going to be early, I’m going to be okay I can still do what I need to do providing there are no more delays.  Everything is moving nicely.  I’m calculating my time.  While I am going to be late it will only be by a few minutes.  I can call the guys and ask them to wait another 15 minutes for me it won’t delay their day that much, life just got a lot better.

Turning off the exit to drop my wife off at her work we run smack dab into rush hour traffic.  Bottleneck, dead stop!  I call my boss.  I have a wonderful boss and he tells me not to worry, just do what I can.  Of course he doesn’t know the whole story just that I’m held up in traffic.  Later in the day I would fill him in.

Finally I’m at work about half an hour late, I hop in the work van and make the 40 minute trek to Lewistown where they guys are waiting for me. Of course I owed it to them to tell the whole story, in four part harmony.  They laughed and one wondered why I just didn’t take the opportunity to cut out a doggy door?

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Quietly driving the to work, The radio is tuned to our favourite talk radio show,(yes we have reached that age) our friend, the very funny Kevin Nelson is host. I’m negotiating traffic, enjoying the views from the mountain top, just enjoying a quiet ride into work while my wife relaxes in the passenger seat with her eyes closed.  Suddenly my wife speaks up:

Denyce: I just learned I can wink out of both eyes independently.

Silence

Denyce:  If both eyes are open I can close my left eye without a problem however if I close my right eye the left side of my face wrinkles up.

Silence

Denyce:  If both eyes are closed I can open my left eye without a problem but if I open just my right eye my left eye opens just a little bit.

Me:  Well, it has been a while since I’ve been able to write a post for my blog.  But I think that’s about to change.

We both laugh and talk about my upcoming post, and how she got thinking about winking and blinking.

 a moment passes.

Denyce:  Maybe it is because my left leg is shorter than my right leg.

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I’ll Pick You Up

My wife and I are a one car family.  We both work the same hours which means one person gets to work early and leaves late.  After looking at all the facts it was decided that logically it made more sense for me to take the car.  By logically I mean that in the winter I would have to scrape the snow and ice off the car and by the time I arrive at her work the car would be toasty warm.  And in the summer I would get to deal with a car that feels like an easy bake oven, but by the time I get to my wife’s lab the car is nice and cool. 

The other day my wife wasn’t feeling so well so she made an appointment with the doctor which means she had to take the car. She dropped me off at work and said she would call me after her doctor’s appointment.  A few hours later my phone rings.  The display on my phone says ‘car’ along with a picture of my dashboard.  We have OnStar so our car does have its own phone number so I list it that way in my phone.  The conversation went something like this, and please keep in mind my wife really wasn’t feeling well.

Me: “So what did the doctor say?”

Wife: “As I thought, I have an infection in my throat, but I’m going to work anyway seeing as I don’t have a fever and I am not contagious.”

Me: “Well at least you don’t have a fever, so did you get any good drugs?”

Wife: “Not really just some antibiotics which you will have to pick up before you pick me up.”

Beat

Me: “Before I pick you up?”

Wife: “Yes from the Walmart right by your work, the usual place,”

Me: pulling my phone from my ear so I could look at the display, yup she was calling from the car, “uhm, I don’t think I can pick you up today.

Beat…then chuckling on the other end of the line

Wife: “Well I told you I wasn’t feeling well”

Me: “Well at least you have provided me some material for my next blog!”

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What I Saw

 
 
On Tuesdays I usually have to make the half hour trip to Lewistown for my job.  While not far, it is interesting as I have to cross over a place called 7 mountains.  In the fully loaded box truck you find yourself standing on the gas pedal all the way up the mountain and standing on the breaks while finding a new relationship with God all the way down.  In our fully loaded cargo van down isn’t so bad, but I do find myself standing on the gas pedal on the way up.

 Some of the interesting sites I’ve seen while making this trip:

  • Some Amish folk hooking up a horse team to pull some fallen trees of a farmer’s field.
  • An ornate buggy being pulled by a horse
  • Turkey vultures lazily circling overhead
  • Red Tailed Hawks playing in the thermals
  • A ground hog standing on its hind legs beside its ridiculously large hole and an even larger mound of earth
  • An iron horse, (see above)
  • A detour sign.

I’m not overly fond of detours especially since I have found that they make you get off your route but they don’t always give great directions on how to get back on track.   I slowed down and looked for the signs.  I didn’t find one sign that said: “Brian, to get back to work go that-a-way!” not one!  If you read my previous post about Garmi the Garmin you know I don’t have a great sense of direction.  But I’ve traveled this route many times before so I didn’t have Garmi turned on.  Garmi was safe in its case in my backpack on the seat beside me and I am way to lazy to pull over and plug Garmi in.  So I kept going.  I have theory about driving when I am lost.  I go straight.  There are two reasons for this.  1. If I have to backtrack I don’t have to figure out where I turned.  2. If I go straight long enough I will eventually circle the globe and end up back where I started, and with a little luck by that time the detour will no longer be there and I can continue on as normal.

  • A wasp, on the inside of the vehicle!

A few minutes into my journey I realized I was not alone in the van.  Crawling down the inside of my window was a wasp.  I am somewhat of a jumpy kind of fellow.  Even if I know you are about to touch me, I  will flinch when you do.  Spotting the wasp out of the corner of my eye almost caused me to have a heart attack. It could have been worse, it could have been a spider!  Slowly I lowered my window.  If you are my employer I was going 55 mph, for the rest of you I was doing about 63mph.  I gave the wasp a flick and the wind flung him to the passanger side window where he sat pouting.  I closed my window and we sat in silence.  I tried to talk to him, but all he did was pout.  I called him Ant. Being a wasp I am not sure he liked the name Ant, but he didn’t complain.  I looked back over to him but he was gone. 

Crap!

“Ant?”  No response. I wasn’t happy and he could be anywhere, in the back, under the dash, in my hair.  There was just no telling where he had was and we had just met so I couldn’t even guess as to where he would think to hide.  Then I saw him, on my arm just below my shoulder.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that at this same time I almost drove off the road.  But I didn’t, instead Ant and I got into an altercation.  I punched him in the face!  Ant flew back to the passenger side window and went back to pouting.  I felt a little bad about punching him in the face. 

“Hey Ant, you okay buddy?”  He seemed to be, but he was sulking.   I gave him some time alone with his thoughts and he seemed content to stay where he was.

“Listen Ant, we are about to go over Seven Mountains, it is a stressful enough ride when I’m on my own.  All I am asking is that you stay on your side of the van.” No response.  he still seemed to be pouting.  I couldn’t blame him after all I punched him in the face. “I understand you are upset, but look at this way.  At least you are not paying for gas!”  I think that made him to smile, but it was hard to tell. 

We were doing pretty good until I took the exit off the expressway into Lewistown.  Perhaps his bladder realized that we were almost at the end of the ride.  I know my bladder always does.  Anyway, Ant got antsy and starting to fly again.  “Hey Ant, your nose feeling better?  Don’t make me punch you again”  He flew slowly towards me, just kind of hovered over my steering wheel for a moment then back to ther rearview mirror and back to his perch along the passenger side window.  Finally we reached our destination and we both went on our way. 

I wonder, if And were writing this, what did he see?

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Mouse Poop

My co-worker found some mouse poop on her desk today.  I have to admit there was a certain relief when I found some mouse poop on my desk too, I wouldn’t want the mice to think more of my co-worker then they do of me.  If they are giving gifts, don’t I deserve some too?  For me it is no big deal as I live in the woods, mice are just part of the lifestyle. You regular readers already saw the throw up mouse.  The other day I did find a tiny liver, (or kidney, or something) in the bathtub, pretty darn gross. I looked for the rest of the body but found nothing.  I worried it may have been behind a piece of furniture and it would be smelling in a day or so.  Lucky for us neither the body nor the smell ever materialized nor did any of the cats throw it up and we have seen no sign of worms, all in all an excellent hunt.

So why am I telling you all this?  My co-worker and I took this as a sign and decided it was a good time to wipe down our desks.  I cleared mine of clutter got some sort of germ killing cleaning spray and coated the top of my desk  and got it all nice and sparkly clean, (including cleaning out my keyboard) and then proceeded to put all the clutter back on my desk.  A few moments later my co-worker was doing the same.  While Steph is quite tolerant of bugs she draws the line at mouse poop.  Half way through her cleaning she said; “You should blog about this.”  My first reaction was, why?  My second reaction was what could one possibly say about finding mouse poop on one’s desk especially seeing as my faithful readers have already seen the really gross projectile vomited mouse. (clicky clicky, to get another delicious view)  As I sat here thinking about writing my next post her suggestion became a challenge.

So here I sit at lunch eating a Turkey sandwich, (yes still scrumptious leftovers from Thanksgiving) and blogging about my co-worker finding mouse poop.

My clean desk, after I put all my crap back on it.

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I have a lousy sense of direction.  When I interviewed for the job I am currently in I was informed that we cover not only State College but Lewistown, Huntingdon, Lockhaven, Lykens, Tyrone and we help out our sister warehouse, (who my supervisor also supervises) Williamsport. I was asked if I had issues if asked to travel to any of these destinations.  I was perfectly honest about it and told them that I had no issues about traveling to any of the locations.  Lykens, being the farthest out is only two hours away.  So really it’s no big deal. 

“Nope, no problem” I responded.  However I immediately started thinking about the time I showed up to work at the bank and they asked me to help out in the Avis office. I wasn’t sure what a bank teller was going to do at a car rental agency, but what the heck. Then I remembered that there is a place called Avis Pa.  I had been there once before and my wife was driving.  I was told just go towards the mall and keep left, it should take an hour.   If you look at Google, to get from the State College branch of the bank to the Avis branch you would see it is a basically a straight line.

Two hours later I found myself at the Jersey Shore!  I had no idea when I crossed into Jersey, I didn’t even know Jersey was so close!  What I did know is that something went desperatly wrong.  It turns out that just as there is no Port in Port Matilda the Jersey Shore is not actually in Jersey!  Oh I’m sure there is a shore in Jersey but it is not this Jersey Shore which is probably a good thing because as much as I didn’t want to be lost, I really didn’t want to be lost in Jersey, (new or old) I didn’t have a GPS, I didn’t even have a cell phone, I was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and lost, eventually I had to (gasp!) ask a man at a local business how to get to Avis.  The man was very nice and pretended to understand how I missed the exit.  After all, it is really hard to see that large glaring Avis exit sign.  I think he saw my eyes gloss over as he gave me directions which were basically, ‘drive down this street and make a right’ And this very nice man got in his truck, yes a beat up red truck and had me follow him to the bank. 

In Montreal I never got lost.  Not that my sense of geography or direction was any better, I just didn’t drive.  I got from point to point by walking, transit, or bike.  And if I did get lost all I had to do was find the giant cross on top of the mountain and head for cross.  Once at the top of the mountain I knew where home was.

In Vancouver I never had to travel.  Everything I needed was in a four block radius.  And if I wanted to go downtown I took the skytrain which only went in two directions.  Even I could navigate that. 

My wife and I were hesitant about a GPS. Our only experience with one was through my father.  My folks came to visit, my father had a Tom-Tom and loved it.  We wanted to go to a restaurant in Altoona called Don Pablo’s.  My father punched it into Tom, we explained it wasn’t necessary as the only reason we ever go to Altoona is to go to this particular restaurant and it is easy to get too, it is right off the exit.  But my father insisted.  I watched Tom-Tom as we drove and I too was soon in love with the machine.  But Tom got it wrong.  It had my father get off the highway an exit too early.  We told him no, but he was going to listen to his buddy Tom.  Fine, it was just going to take a little longer.  Then Tom told my father to turn Right.  This was totally the wrong directions.  Images of a cab ride of long ago came to mind.  We convinced my father to disobey Tom.  Lucky my wife has a great sense of direction because now I was as lost as Tom.  My father refused to admit Tom was wrong.  He informed us that there must be another Don Pablo’s.  Why yes, yes there is as Don Pablo’s is actually a chain.  The next closest one to us is in Virginia!  We got to the restaurant and my father still refused to admit defeat, (he is loyal that way) and told the waiter what happened and if there was another Don Pablo’s in the area.  Yes, yes there is if you consider Virginia part of the ‘area’. the waiter understanding my father’s predicament did offer a way out.  He mentioned that there is a Mexican community on the other side of town and perhaps Tom-Tom new a Don Pablo that lived over in that direction.

Of course my father only listened to Tom when it was convenient.  For example we knew how to get to Don Pablo’s but on that occasion my father decided Tom knew better.   However when we were looking for a restaurant in Lancaster Pa, a restaurant non of us had been too, in an area non of us had ever been before, a time when we were at the mercy of Tom-Tom to guide us through the back roads of the Amish country side was the time when my father decides to disregard Tom’s directions with all of Tom’s fancy global positioning.  Tom was telling my father:

“In 500 hundred feet turn left”

“In 200 hundred feet turn left”

     …no turn signal

“In 100 feet turn left”

     …no turn signal no turn.

“Turn Left now!”

     …No turn.

“Recalculating, make a u-turn in 50 feet”…Father continues to go straight. 

Eventually and with enough of us pestering him he makes the U-turn and Tom leads us safely to the restaurant.

I was offered, and accepted the job two days after the initial interview.  My date of hire was a few days before my birthday.  We also had made plans to drive down to California to visit my father-in-law.  All things considered it seemed a great time to purchase a GPS. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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Dispatcher Games

In my ‘Ideas For Blog’ there is a note that simply says ‘dispatcher games’  I know what the note refers to, as will you by the time this post is finished what I can’t figure out is what prompted this note in the first place, not that it really matters.

I started out as a dispatcher, as dispatchers  we mostly talked to technicians.  We made sure they had their jobs in order, and we helped them troubleshoot problems they had in the field.  What the technicians didn’t know is that we dispatchers played some interesting games to make our day that much more bearable. 

My favourite game was the ‘word’ game.  At the beginning of the day we would all write a few words on individual sheets of paper.  The papers were then thrown into a hat and we would each blindly choose a slip of paper.  We then had to use that word in a sentence while talking to the technician.  Of course the technician never knew we were playing a game.  They probably thought we were just a little crazy.  There were only a few rules, the main rule of course is that we had to be respectful of and to the customer.  We would never put a technician in an awkward situation.  A bit of experience, meaning a week or so on the job and you knew in the first few seconds of a conversation whether it was safe to play or not. 

A few examples of the words we used are: Australopithecus, meatballs, nutmeg, bifutus regularis, bigfoot, amniocentesus, neoteny, beens and weeines, etc.  Keep in mind these were technicians installing modems and digital boxes in peoples homes.  So a conversation might go something like this.

Tech: “Hello Bri, this is Dan tech 8433.”

Me: “Hello Dan what can I do for you today.”

“I’m at job 3 I’m having some issues getting the modem on line and the customer is here in front of me”.  This is the technicians code for ‘the customer can hear everything that is being said.

No problem Dan, can you give me the serial number and I’ll check to see if the modem is online on our end?”

“Sure thing Bri here you go”

“Okay Dan I can see the modem on our end. I see the modem is trying to get online, but keeps failing at a certain point.  The problem appears to be that the downstream signal level is deep in the red, perhaps you can try and give it some bifitus regularis and see if that clears up the signal issue?”

long pause from the techincian, on my side however the rest of the dispatchers are bent over in fits of laughter.

“…Uhm, thanks I’ll get that signal cleaned up and give you a call back'”

The lesson is, life is often what you make it, so you may as well work with the hand you are dealt and make it as enjoyable as possible.

 

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My Desk

On another blog the author asked the people who follow her to send a picture of the place where they write.  I’m not sure why I found that interesting but I did.  Every now and again, during lunch I take a few minutes to write ideas for this blog.  Sometimes I end up writing an entire post, today is one of those days. Usually, however I blog while sitting on my recliner while watching tv.  My desk is an average desk, probably made in the early 60s.  It has a shallow front drawer which is full of pens and other implements of destruction.  On the right side are two drawers one of which is a filing cabinet which is seldom used, the other is another shallow drawer full of, paper clips, bull dog clips, a calculator, push pins and other thing-a-ma-bobs.  The left side is the exciting side.  Three drawers, my keys and wallet in the top, and I have not opened the others for a month.  Perhaps I should hold a ‘guess what is in my desk’ contest.   Off to the left is the desk top computer followed by the phone that I never use as I use my cell phone, in front of the phone are various papers, on the papers is a ruler and tabs for some dividers to sort out a file cabinet that I sadly do not use.  Two modems that need mailed out to another warehouse, an old-fashioned stapler and a cup of pens. Beside all that is my personal cell phone, my iPod, a wrench, modern stapler, a marker, directly beside me still to my left is a blue coffee cup, (The floor broke my company issued red coffee cup when I dropped it) a speaker for my computer a pad of post-it-notes atop a miniature pallet.  Beside that: a receiving stamp a sponge baseball and eyeball a staple remover and two more markers. Moving to the right, is the other speaker, a remote for the tv that we don’t have, a guy sitting on a toilet holding a roll of tape, (supposed to be toilet paper), a box containing extra keys for the van, box-truck, tech window and back gate, more paperwork. There is a bottle of diet Pepsi, more paperwork, a scissors that doesn’t belong to me…yet, my computer mouse and there is a piece of paper under my keyboard which I’m sure I put there because it is important, but I can’t remember why.

My desk at work

For those of you who might be wondering.  The space directly across from me is my supervisors desk.  unfortunately I only got a portion of my desk in the shot.  My lunch hour was running down so I didn’t have a lot of time to play around.   

So? What is on your desk?

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This past weekend my folks, one sister and my four-year old nephew were visiting from Canada.  It was also our 9th wedding anniversary, so we decided to have a little BBQ at our house, in all there were about 25 people and I think it is safe to say we all had a good time.  I lit a fire in the fire ring so we could make smores, the boy, (my nephew) was very interested in this process and pulled up a chair close to the fire,  he was making it quite clear in all his wiggling that he wasn’t overly comfortable. A co-worker/friend and I were standing off to the side where we overheard the following conversation between my sister, and her son. (who she calls in her blog, ‘the boy’)

My sister: walking up to my wiggling nephew and taking the seat beside him, “Boy are you okay?” 

Boy: “Yes”

“Boy you are wiggling around and can’t keep still, what is wrong?”

“My underpants are sticky”

His underpants were sticky because it was hot, and he was wearing long pants rather than shorts to protect him from mosquito bites. My friend went hysterical, he loved the honesty and simplicity of the answer.  Although we work together and see each other just about every day he clearly hasn’t been paying attention.  For my family such an answer is typical, even so I have to admit there was a poetic beauty about it, especially coming from a four-year old. 

Yesterday I was sitting in my office at work, my co-worker was in the other room helping out one of the technicians.  I always keep an ear open just in case there is something I need to deal with.  I heard the following conversation:

Technician: “Hey, what’s up?”

Co-worker: “My underpants are sticky!”

I almost died laughing.

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I don’t play a lot of jokes on people I think practical jokes are stupid, mean and usually don’t end well.  But in this instance I couldn’t help myself.

Back in my banking days a co-worker, (Kim) was given a betta (Siamese fighting fish) from one of our customers.  Kim kept the fish (who we will call ‘fish’) on her desk and grew quite attached.  One fateful day Kim asked me to look after Fish while she went on vacation.  I don’t know what came over me.  Two days before Kim was to come back to work I found a fish bowl exactly like Kim’s, I found the same blue gravel the same plant the same everything.  Then I got a fish, Kim’s fish was red, I purchased a blue one.  On the day of kim’s return I exchanged the red one with the blue one.  Kim went right to fish as I pretended to count the money in my teller drawer.  It took about 15 minutes before Kim came running across the bank;

“Brian what happened to Fish?”  

“Nothing, why? is everything okay?”

“He is blue!”

I didn’t really have a plan.  I figured she would assume Fish had died and I tried to cover it by replacing it with an imposter only I was too stupid to buy another red one.  But something in the way Kim looked and sounded told me that Kim thought it was still Fish, so…

Me, “Yeah, and?”

“When I left he was red!”

“Really? how long have you been gone, two weeks?”

“Brian, Fish was red! is there something wrong with him?”

Blink! “Uhm no, I thought he changed while you were still here, I guess he changed colour after you left.”

“He changed colour, why is he sick or is that normal?”

Now I have to be fair, Kim is an extremely intelligent woman and somebody I greatly respect.  Clearly however this was not her strong suit. “Kim, Fish is fine all Betta’s are blue I thought you knew that.  They start out red but turn blue almost overnight when they reach a certain age.”

I noticed that the rest of the tellers vanished into the vault, they obviously couldn’t keep it together as the conversation progressed, I also realized I had nowhere for this scenario to go and it had to come to an end.  Kim had bought the story hook line and sinker and the look of relief on her face was priceless.  But all I could think of was how to back out of the situation without making Kim look stupid. Making her look stupid was the furthest thing from my mind.  I figured she was going to be mad at me for trying to cover up the fact that Fish had died, I could live with that as Fish was fine but this reaction while even more funny, had the potential to cause some hurt feelings. 

“Fish is fine Kim”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I am sure, wait one second I will prove fish is just fine.”

At which point I got the real fish and showed Kim.  The next line was spectacular.

“Brian! You also got a fish!”

“Well yes I guess I did, this however is your fish, the blue one your desk is an imposter”  There was a pregnant pause while Kim’s brain kicked into gear and the gales of laughter that came from her was music to my ears.  She laughed till the tears were pouring from her eyes, she saw it all,  she saw the funny part of the joke, she saw how stupid she must have sounded and how funny that must have been.  She took it the way it was given a humours, harmless joke among friends. 

I write this for a few reasons.  1) is I think it is funny.  2) I watched a YouTube video of a magician making a fool out of his audience and was reminded of why there are people who don’t like magicians.  To my magic friends, please respect your audience, they are there for you, shouldn’t you be there for them? 3) We would all be better off if we didn’t take ourselves so seriously.

By the end of the week each teller had a fish at their window.  We loved them, we looked after them made sure the bowls were always clean, they gave the bank a really nice atmosphere.  The customers loved them and the regulars would come in and check on each fish.  Some of the tellers allowed the customers to name the fish.  I however named mine ‘Stick’. People would ask me why his name was stick.  I just told them to think about it.  Usually as they were leaving the bank they would start to laugh.  They got it! ‘fish stick’

We had the fish for about 6 months or more when the powers that be told us we could not keep the fish at the bank.  We tried to fight the decision,  customers called the manager and district manager telling them how much they liked the fish, but those in power were not hearing any of it, and in the end we each took one home.  Stick, like all our pets became part of the family and lived for a good three years.  Today, a good four years after his passing my wife and I still fondly remember Stick.

 

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