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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Say, Do You Have Two Tens for a Twenty? – No. Wait. If You Could Give Me Two Fives and – Here, Hold This for a Second…

The last year or so has been a challenge at work that I have not only sullenly risen to meet but one in whose eye I have regularly spit.

How’s that for awkward?

It is, of course, no more awkward than the many reports I’ve been asked to pull and manipulate. Ask anyone at work and they’ll tell you: Pearl enjoys a good swift numerical beating. I am continually surrounded by aggressive, uncooperative numbers. Some of them black and haughty, others red and thumbing their negative noses in my direction, they swirl around my head, tangle in my earrings and cause me to say things like “Have you checked the date parameters?” and “Q2 is dead! Long live Q3!”

Don’t get the wrong idea. Some of my best friends are numbers. I once dated a number! But I’m a verbal kinda gal. I’m comfortable with the printed word, with speech. For example, when people start talking in circles? I’m quite good at getting to the heart of something, verbally. I’m not one for the ol’ “for the purposes of this argument, we’ll use this word to mean this.” No, sorry. We won’t. Any time someone wants to amend the meaning of a word, it’s because they want that word’s dignity to be associated with what they’re about to sell you.

Pay no attention to the poop on the sidewalk! We prefer to call it “urban mousse”.

Hmmm. I don’t know where that came from.

Ah, yes. Numbers.

While I may have a good solid grasp on the English language and can understand other languages what are close to it, I’m afraid I might be one of those people who can be duped out of money through numerical chicanery.

“Do you have change for a twenty?”

No. No, I don’t; and even if I did, I would tell you that I didn’t, because within a couple exchanges, I will have given you a twenty, there would be some fast-talking, perhaps some flirtation, and I’d walk away with a ten-dollar bill, red-faced and wondering what the hell just happened.

It hasn’t happened yet, but it could.

I don’t know. I don’t know where I went wrong. One day I knew exactly what I was doing, the next day I was being asked to pull together a monthly forecast by region and would I drill down to the office level and include columns speaking to the percentage of change from one week to the next.


I said, “Of course,” but I didn’t know what I was getting into.

Claudia tells me I’m just that much more a valued employee, that I’m “knowledge-based”, which I think is sneaky-number-talk for “fast 10-keyer”. I’m on to her.

So I take copious notes and ask a lot of questions, because when times are hard and you’re given the opportunity to add on to your skill set, you do it. I’m no dummy.

Now if I could just get the ringing, elfin laughter of the numbers out of my head...


Steam Me Up, Kid said...

Mousse. That's good. Where were you when I was writing my last post? Shoot.

Suzanne said...

Urban mousse.

You are writing for money, right?

Pat said...

You're the little engine that could.

CatLadyLarew said...

Urban mousse... how appropriate for my post today... gotta steal that from you.

Pearl said...

What, are we all on some sort of poop wave length?! That's undignified ladies. :-D

Steam Me Up, I loved that last post, btw. Don't recall if I commented. I may not have -- the shine off it was blinding. Once there is a new topic, let me know and I'll write in a question!

Suzanne, I wish. But it would be cool, wouldn't it? Then you could say you knew me when and I would be on the hook for all kinds of beer and deepfried bar food. Mmmm!

Pat, Only cuz I think I can, I think I can!

CatLadyLarew, it's a lovely visual, isn't it?

ladytruth said...

I have something for you over at my blog :)

Warty Mammal said...

"The last year or so has been a challenge at work that I have not only sullenly risen to meet but one in whose eye I have regularly spit."


Douglas said...

My usual response to...

"Have you got change for a twenty?"


"Sure, here's 3 bucks."

The Jules said...

Your grasp on the English lanuage is better than mine, and I'm English.

Of course, I learned good England when I were a children.

Lynn said...

All that and narration, too!

Travis Erwin said...

Reading your blog makes me smile.

A Mom on Spin said...

Numbers? I hate numbers! But then again I never heard them laugh. . .

Amber Star said...

When I worked I had to make sense of a great amount of nonsense that involved a lot of sneaky numbers. The only way I could figure out how to accomplish this, nobody had done this before in the 12 years the data had been all jacked up, for want of a better description.

I got it sorted out with Excel and had to teach myself how to use that program, but I whipped those numbers into shape and they would only get rowdy occasionally. I also spoke harshly to them.

One day someone said some mean things to me and I quit right there on the spot and have never missed the job. I didn't need to work...it was just for fun and a little, very little, cash for me to blow on clothes, etc.

When I was in Cuernavaca to study Spanish the first night I made a conversion chart for the money. I knew for a certainty I'd get swindled and that's the truth. The conversion was 2,500 pesos to $1, so I felt pretty sure that would blow my tiny mind while trying to figure out the language.

Sorry to go on like this, but it struck a chord in my memory that I was sure you had been waiting to hear about.

The urban mousse...that is a good one. We don't have a dog...thank goodness.

Not The Rockefellers said...

What did the zero say to the eight?
Nice belt.

A little number levity.

Hey! When I worked for a bank a squillion years ago someone tried that bill changing scam with me...but my sheer inepititude coupled with dangerous confidence left him short changed and scratching his head

Peace - Rene

Adelaide said...

This post made me laugh. Also, I love the caption at the top, under your blog's name.

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Wow, we must have the same job. Small world. Although I've never heard the numbers actually laughing at me. They do seem rather uncooperative at times.