Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Armageddon Hawk Sighting Spells Trouble

This harbinger of the apocalypse has been sighted flitting from tree to tree in neighborhoods like yours. Most recently, Fern Mckinney of Traverse City, Michigan reported seeing this creature on her fence. She somehow had the presence of mind to snap a quick photograph, knowing all the while that her subject was here to end civilization. When asked how she felt at that moment, Fern told us; "At first I wasn't sure if I was seeing what I thought I saw. I took a closer look and realized...yeah....that's the yellow finch."

She added, "A strange calm came over me when I realized that everyone is going to die, not just me. After that I was able to view it as a great photo opportunity."

The yellow finch, more commonly known as the Armageddon Hawk, is said to visit human civilization only to end it. The hideous and terrifying creature ushers in the End of Days, this according to most ancient scholars whose civilizations have already been destroyed, presumably by the yellow finch. These teachings of old provide us with a warning, to be vigilant and watchful lest we are complacent and unwary of it's presence among us and have not prepared for our final days.

What can you do about it? Not much. Just be wary. Perhaps build large and intricate stone structures that will impress future civilizations? Or maybe now is the time to get aggressive with your 401K?

Friday, April 13, 2012

One Little Radioactive Spill and Everyone Goes All Erin Brockovich

The uproar over the little mishap is not helpful and it is unfounded. Not the mishap, but the uproar. Well, mishaps aren't helpful either, thus the name. It suggests that something happened that wasn't supposed to happen, or, something happened in a way that it was not supposed to. Hell, I'm off track. Anyway....

On Monday, Crock headquarters was notified of an incident that occurred at our distribution hub in Funkhouser, Illinois. Without going into details, the incident resulted in the spilling of a small amount of liquefied Uranium 238. Does that sound scary to you? Well let me ask this; are you a uranium expert? Are you a nuclear physicist?

If the answer is "no" to these questions, we respectfully ask that you shut your mouth about it. As stated in our press release, "the general public was never in any real danger." What part of that statement is unclear?

Although you probably have the ability to understand the statement and the common sense to accept it, it appears that many people do not. They're all in a tissy about radiation poisoning (whatever that is), and so-called "contamination" of the air and water supply in the greater Funkhouser metropolitan area. They say the risk of certain cancers, birth defects, and other adverse health impacts will linger for years to come.

First of all, uranium 238 is an isotope found in NATURALLY OCCURRING uranium ore. It only has a half-life of about 4.5 billion years in its natural state. This was liquefied, so it's half-life is less than 4.2 billion years. We have "safend" this stuff by 300 million years.

Secondly, we only spilled eight gallons of the stuff. That's not even enough to power The State of California for 27,000 years. We spill more than that on purpose during retooling.

Finally, the stuff was completely cleaned up in five minutes. Our trained staff, namely Herb Petersondalehofferdorf, former sanitation engineer and bowling team captain at the Funkhouser facility (may he rest in peace), followed emergency protocol and immediately grabbed a roll of paper towels. Not just any paper towels. We use Bounty, the quicker picker upper. When Herb realized that one roll wasn't going to cut it, he ran to grab a second roll. When he got back to the site of the spill, he found that some nice foreign men in weird full-body costumes had rolled up their sleeves (figuratively) and were actively gathering the spill into nice metallic containers.

Herb died a few minutes later of natural causes, but before he did he told us not to worry. He said the cleanup was complete and the material was being shipped to Iran so it wouldn't be a problem for us any longer.

I don't know about you, but I feel more comfortable believing the last words of a dying janitor than all these mad scientists and witch doctors. The other six employees at the plant didn't even get sick*, why should an entire metro area be worried?

There is nothing here to worry about. The problem has been nice metallic containers....and shipped to Iran. I think they use it for fertilizer or hot sauce or something. Some damn fine salsa, I'm told.
*As of this post, none of the employees of the FDH have reported to work since the incident and their families have been calling wondering if they are working late....since Monday.
On a side note: we are now hiring at our Funkhouser Distribution Hub. All positions. Flexible schedule, competitive pay, excellent benefits package including health insurance, 401-K, danger, mystery, and intrigue. Interested individuals should post questions and qualifications on our facebook wall.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Token People: The Space Invader

Blanket statement Alert: In any given work environment where at least ten people must interact, there will be one person who can easily be identified as a "token" something-or-other.

To illustrate what this means, think of any recent sitcom you've ever watched. If it is oriented around a white family or group of friends you'll find the token black guy (except Friends and Seinfeld for some reason). If oriented around a black people, there will be a token white dude. Two Guys and a Pizza Place needed a token girl. Most of the time, every character is a token something-or-other. There's a fat guy, a moron, a gay guy, a hot chick, a perpetual bachelor, a refrigerator, a goat, and a murder weapon. Don't think about it, just accept it.

A comedian (Emo Philips I think) once joked, "Mother always said every time I get on a bus, there's a werdo on it. I could never find him."

Your workplace is likely filled with token people too. There is one particular token person I would like to discuss because they are a danger to others, themselves, and the earth as a whole. Look around. You should be able to find one of these. If you can't, it's probably you.

The token space invader. There he is! Always getting up in your grill, leaning over you at your desk, standing way too close, talking directly into your mouth like its a microphone and he is delivering an important public service announcement. As an added bonus, this is usually the guy who's breath is laced with a pungent tribute to his recent consumption of coffee and something similar to a partially decomposed bologna and cabbage sandwich (quick reader pole: If I included mayonnaise here would it be too much?). And, for the token twist of irony, this guy is equipped with an unquenchable thirst inextinguishable burning desire unfulfillable need for....conversation. He'll talk about anything at any time. If you walk away, he will follow. If you say your busy, he'll continue his story anyway, after letting you know it'll be a "quick one". If you take a phone call, even if it sounds very important, he'll wait. If you walk to your car, start it, and drive away he'll hang on to the door handle and drag beside you down the street, talking all the while.

Despite the fact that everyone is uncomfortable, no one takes action to stop it. Sure, they exchange their unpleasant run-ins and space invader stories, each trying to out-creepy the other. Once in a while someone will offer him an Altoid or a case of tic tacs. But these don't solve the problem. Neither does explaining the problem to him. You could look him in the eye and tell him "Back away! This is my personal space and I don't want you polluting it!" and he would think of it as an invitation to tell you about the hilarious antics of a cat he found in a dumpster. Management knows of the problem, but they ignore it saying "He means well.". I guess that's manager-speak for "He's cheap and he has dirt on the owner."

This guy must be stopped! Danger follows him and his ilk. (I've always wanted to work the work "ilk" into a sentence. Done!). My aunt once tried to escape a space invader but was disoriented by the noxious breath and fell into an open manhole where she was swept away by a river of raw sewage. We never saw her again*. That makes this fight personal to me. That is why I hope you will join me in battling this office menace.

It won't be easy. After all, this is a token space invader. You are required to have one on the payroll. When you eliminate one, another will take his place. That's why you can't just kill him. You have to make him use all of his vacation days right away each year. Send him invitations to timeshare presentation out of town. Most of them offer free stuff like toasters, airline miles, calculators, coffee, and bologna/ cabbage sandwiches. Free stuff attracts these types.

Once he has used his vacation, you must go for the sick days. A little salmonella in the coffee cup should do the trick. Careful now! Not too much. He just needs to feel bad enough to stay home a few days. If it doesn't work, try E.Coli. Studies have shown that some space invaders build immunity to certain strains of bacteria, viruses, and verbal insults.
Once he has used his sick days though, he will come to work faithfully if he is even slightly mobile. Offer him an emergency double knee replacement. Don't pay for the surgery, just make it necessary. Use your imagination. Tonya Harding isn't busy these days. Or, for a less illegal option, sometimes these people will respond if you send them calendar invitations to work events outside of the office, especially if they think you will be there. Make up as many as you can until he finally figures out that you won't really be there. That's when you get a coworker to pick up where you left off.

Using these ideas and some of your own, you might be able to get somewhere between 12 and 22 weeks of token-space-invader-free existence per year. And that's better than 52 straight weeks of face-melting one way conversations and being trapped between the toilet and the bathroom door while learning why America should adopt the metric system. It will also drastically reduce your chances of being washed away by sewer rapids.

Thanks for reading and taking this seriously. Next time we discuss token people: the guy who comes to work in the morning thinking about lunch and how to get involved with yours.

*A note about my Aunt: I say that "we" never saw her again but actually my uncle did see her once more. Eleven days after she was washed away by sewer rapids, she arrived on her front porch, dirty, smelly, battered, incoherently babbling. My uncle stood her up, turned her around, and pointed her down the street. She shuffled off into the sunset....and that is the point from which none of us ever saw her again.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Fear of Fear Itself

How about a little bravery for the weekend?

No one likes fear anymore, do they? But disliking it and being afraid of it are two different things. No one likes pain either but we aren't afraid of it. We are however, afraid that pain will hurt. Many of us fear embarrassment because we're afraid it will be embarrassing. We're scared of heights, not because we fear falling but because we're afraid that the ground is too far away to make a safe landing. We're afraid of clowns.  But why are we afraid of fear?  And should we be?

The first step in figuring out why you fear fear is to admit that you do. Though we fight it and try to hide it, even the bravest among us must confess to feeling at least a tinge, a little tickle of fear when we are afraid. If pain or embarrassment or heights don't "get your tremble on", clowns will. So go ahead, admit that you fear fear. Chicken! Fraidee-cat!

Now, the second step in learning why you are such a coward when you are not courageous is to figure out the real reason for your yellowness. I contend that it's usually an effect that you fear rather than a cause. You don't fear bears, you are afraid of being dismembered and eaten by bears....and who wouldn't be afraid of that right? Pain hurts. Falling equals pain which equals hurt and possibly death. Oh, there's a biggie that I almost forgot: death. That's one of the more common effects that stimulate fear reactions. I'd say it's at least in the top 100, maybe even top 50.

With so much scariness, what's wrong with a little fear? Nothing! Embrace the fear!  Stop being afraid to be afraid. Sometimes fear is the only thing between you and an unimaginably violent mutilation.  If you're going to fear fear, you might as well fear terror as well. And while your at it, go ahead and fear horror, fright, spooky, and creepy too (and clowns). Nah. Don't do that. It's perfectly acceptable to fear having an arm ripped off by a copy-machine, just don't fear the copy machine. It's natural to fear having your toenails pried off by a tribe of spider-monkeys on unicycles that invade your home right in the middle of wheel of fortune, just don't be afraid of spider-monkeys (but do be suspicious of them, especially the unicyclers because they usually work for clowns). It's OK to be afraid of death because it can kill you. That's something that fear has no ability to do. Oh wait. Never mind. It IS possible to be scared to death. Forget what I said. If you need me, I'll be hiding under a desk so the fear doesn't get me....or the clown.