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Not Shielded From Your Sarcasm

, , , , , , | Learning | June 9, 2018

(I work at the largest university in Alaska, and we frequently have earthquake drills and, of course, the required fire drills. I am designated as one of our building safety personnel in charge of evacuating the building and getting people to the designated “safe” area away from the building, a large portion of which is floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows. The meeting area is located safely behind the cement parking garage, a good distance from our building. However, people get weirdly stubborn about moving to the correct area, even as I wave and point and usher them. I start becoming very creative in handling these recalcitrant evacuees.)

Me: *in official vest and over bullhorn* “Please step this way behind the parking garage, towards the designated meeting area!”

(A few people move.)

Me: “Folks, please be sure to thank those people over there—” *indicates the people still stubbornly standing right next to the giant glass building* “—who have bravely volunteered to be a human shield for you in the event of a fire or other disaster in which our building, made entirely of glass, could potentially explode outward.” *pause for effect* “Their sacrifice in protecting you from the explosive shrapnel will be much appreciated!”

(The human shields eschew the honor and glory, and move to relative safety behind the parking garage, glaring at me all the while.)

Me: *mentally shrugging; it’s part of my job and I can’t get fired over this* “Thank you for playing the ‘How to stay alive during a natural disaster’ game! Herb, tell them what they’ve won!”

(Most people were laughing pretty hard at this point. The few holdouts glowered at me the entire time.)

I Love The Smell Of Ineptitude In The Morning

, , , , , | Working | June 3, 2018

The office where I work processes mail for several big corporations, by opening the envelopes and entering the data into the digital systems. Since these companies are quite big, there is, of course, the occasional angry ex-customer who tries to get back at the company by sending them nonsensical stuff — nude pictures, etc. — as if that would do anything to the company. However, in some cases, a joker goes much further by sending an envelope filled with powder, in order to create an anthrax hoax. Procedure is to put such an envelope down and warn everybody, after which no one who enters the room is supposed to leave.

One day, a coworker who works in a different room — and is known to be not very smart or hard-working — finds such an envelope. Instead of following procedure, he throws the thing into a garbage bin and takes the bin downstairs where he shows it to our manager in order to ask what to do with it. Afterwards, the coworker is berated by the senior emergency response officer (ERO) for not following procedure.

A few days later, I overhear the coworker talking with a few of his colleagues. As always, he is moaning and complaining about how he is treated. “Yes, there is a guideline, but you can’t expect me to read it every day.” The other coworkers seem to support him, with one of them even claiming she will go outside if it ever happens again — which you never should do. All of them speak demeaningly about the ERO, claiming he just wants to be important. I know the man as a very calm and friendly guy.

Several months go by. I am sent to the warehouse with one of my coworkers. The ERO is in charge of the task we are supposed to do, so he walks along to show us. On our way, we see the whiny coworker, who is working through the mail of another client of ours. He is doing this wearing gloves, which he always does; he’s the only person in the company who does this. The other coworker makes some small talk, asking what the guy is doing.

“With gloves on?” she asks.

His answer: “Yes, that’s necessary. You never know what’s in these letters.”

I couldn’t help but whisper to the ERO, “And if he finds something, he will walk through half the building with it.”

A few months later, I find an anthrax hoax myself in my department. We sere complimented on how well we handle it. At least the coworker’s blunder had some good use.

Might Need A Stone For Him Very Soon, Too

, , , , , | Right | May 23, 2018

(We have a family business that sells gravestones. My husband is manning our shop when an elderly man walks in.)

Husband: “Good afternoon.”

Customer: “I want to order a stone for my wife.”

Husband: “If you’d like to come through to the office, and take a seat, I will show you some samples, and designs.”

(The elderly man walks very carefully, feeling his way with his stick, up to the two steps and into the hallway. After half an hour or so, the transaction is complete and the man stands up.)

Customer: “Where are the steps? How many are there?”

(He feels his way slowly down them, walks to the door, and asks:)

Customer: “Wasn’t there another step here?”

(My husband is concerned as to how he will manage to walk up the road, as there are a number of roads to cross. He mentions this to him, only to be told:)

Customer: “Oh, its all right; I have my car keys here.”

(He walked over to the car outside, got in, and drove away.)


Working Here Is The Bomb

, , , , , | Working | May 22, 2018

(One day I discover that the door to the chemicals cabinet in the lab is unlocked. Assuming this is an oversight, I inform one of the chemists who I am friendly with.)

Me: “Hey, [Chemist], I just wanted to let you know the door to the cabinet in that room is unlocked.”

Chemist: “Oh, that’s always unlocked.”

Me: “Really? But everyone who has access to this building can just walk into that room. Isn’t there really dangerous stuff in there?”

Chemist: “Oh, yes. You could make TNT with the stuff we have here.”

Me: *looks shocked*

Chemist: “What you do is—” *starts telling me the recipe for TNT*

Me: “I don’t need to know! But seriously isn’t that dangerous? A lot of people have access to this building.”

Chemist: “Ah, but you see, the trick is to make it without blowing yourself up. Most likely they’d kill themselves.”

Me: “Ah, they should make plastique. It’s nitroglycerin, basically, but it’s a bit more stable. I learned to make it when I was a kid.”

Chemist: *looks shocked*

Me: “That’s a quote from Terminator. I don’t actually know how to make a bomb.”

Couldn’t Just Come Out And Say That

, , , , | Working | April 30, 2018

(I work with two guys who have a compulsion to always be right. Whatever you say, whether logic is with you or not, they’re right, and you’re wrong. We work at height a lot.)

Coworker: “We need some eye bolts to tie the ladder to when we’re going on that roof next week.”

Me: “I’ll get some at the weekend.”

(Monday rolls by.)

Me: “I got the eye bolts. They didn’t have the ones for the plastic plugs, so I got all metal, instead.”

Coworker: “They’re not big enough.”

Me: *I’ve read half a page ahead* “That’s okay. Here. I got the next two sizes up, as well.”

Coworker: “They’re… too strong.”

Me: “You’re going to be 30 feet in the air, and these eye bolts could save your life if something went wrong, and they’re too strong?”


Coworker: “I already bought some.”