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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

That Was the Funnest Meeting EVER; or If I Could Just Get You to Stop That for a Moment...

There are three, physically, in the meeting.  A fourth, a woman with a devastating head cold, attends by phone. 

I sit on the “visitor’s” side of the desk, a bit of corporate real estate littered with toys:  beads, magnets, Silly Putty, “stress” balls. 

I am confused. 

The man sitting next to me – not his first visit, apparently – picks up the Silly Putty and removes it from its plastic, candy-colored egg.  He is rolling it out as the call is placed.  “Hello!  Can you hear me?”

The woman on the other end delivers an asthmatic greeting.  “I cad hear you, yeh,” she gasps.  “I’b sorry I’b dot inna office.”

The man next to me molds the Silly Putty around the plastic egg it came in, smooths its surface.  I turn away.  “We’re not,” I say.  “You sound completely contagious.”

There are polite chuckles from everyone but the man with the putty, who is working an elaborate design along its outside edge. 

“I think I’b gettig bedder,” she says.

Bless her.  She sounds as bad Tuesday as she did Monday.

The meeting proceeds, as meetings are wont to do, but I can't pay attention.

Like the hypnotic, glowing pulse of late-night television, my eyes return, again and again, to the Silly Putty, to the basket of toys.

“Go ahead and take one,” the office's resident whispers.  “That’s what they’re there for.”

But the thing is, I don’t want one.  And I don’t want him to want one, either.  I want to get to the point of this meeting, I want to learn what it is I don’t know, and I want to return to my desk, to write it up, to incorporate it into what I do next.

I don’t want to sit at the kids’ table.

I close my eyes, the better to concentrate on the woman on the phone. 

Holy Hannah.  I have entered "crotchety office worker" territory.  


Shelly said...

If justice ruled, Silly Putty's chair would deliver a small electrical shock to the bum every time he was off task.

Should Fish More said...

Before I was a slovenly non-contributing member of society, meetings were way too common. Once a CEO of a company I was consulting asked me what I thought of a meeting. "That's an hour of my life I'll never get back." was my reply.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Distract and divide. His distraction surely divided you. Take your teething rattle along next time and see how they like that! YAM xx

joeh said...

I see I got out of the office meeting world just in time. This new "Toy" element would have done me in.

Me thinks lady with a cold is overdoing it. I'll bet she is in the next day...2 day sick day rule.

Drake Sigar said...

Take the Silly Putty, it is your destiny.

vanilla said...

Kiddies' table? Toys? Where is it again that you work?

jenny_o said...

Crochety office worker territory - oh no, Pearl! Next you'll be wearing your hair in a scraped-back bun and trading your cute heels for sensible shoes!

I don't get the toys thing either.

Leenie B said...

Stress balls are useful for getting someone's attention if you have a bit of coordination and a good aim. Bet a stress ball bounces better than Silly Putty too.

Joanne Noragon said...

I once knew a man who carried a slide rule like teens carry phones. He made decisions while moving it about. In retrospect, it was his silly putty; however, it got him respect.

Elephant's Child said...

If I was still working in an office I would have put up a flag of ownership in the crotchety corner.

Geezers said...

Welcome to the club. I became "curmudgeon" some time ago.

Daisy said...

Back in "the day", before retirement, I passionately, completely and with vigor , absolutely hated office meetings. I even preferred a dentist appointment to the torture of a meeting!

Daisy said...

I'd play with the magnets. :-) I hate work meetings. I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore.

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Thanks for another bloody good post that has made me feel great and happy reading it

Sioux said...

I'm right with ya. I was in a committee meeting today, and one of the members was busy doing something (not related to the meeting) on his computer (the meeting was in his classroom) during the entire meeting. At the end, when we're all chewing our legs off to get away, he's asking questions. Questions that were covered earlier in the meeting, but he wasn't paying attention.

I had a friend ask, "Why didn't someone say, 'That was covered earlier?' and I replied that I thought about it, but my word choice would not have been appropriate for the work place. (I wanted to say STFU.)

River said...

I used to hate the factory production meetings. The boss would be going on about needing to increase production, so one day I said would it help if we were back out there actually producing shoes instead of listening about producing shoes in here? He wasn't happy...but the meetings continued anyway.

Jocelyn said...

I hate "whimsical on purpose," which is what Basket of Toys sounds like.

I'm also just really sick of people this week, so there's that.

Antares Cryptos said...

Either take an hour off to play or have a meeting.
Wait. That's google.