Due to an unprecedented increase in complaints, spurious comments and threatening emails, the We CareTM hotline is no longer responding to employee complaints. The firm still cares deeply about its labor force and wants nothing more than to see you healthy, at work and not scaring the customers. We still care; we just don't care as much. This message is being posted in all public places to remind you of your rights as employees and encourage active and safe labor participation. And we want to keep you from abusing your rights and harassing others. We understand that you may experience unpleasant conditions periodically. Our human resources department routinely informs our legal department via lengthy memoranda of the dire plight of our employee welfare policies. We are fully aware of the impact the abysmal work conditions have on your aptitude and general humor. We are so aware, in fact, that we do not need a barrage of self-esteem depressing emails like the record 189 we received last Wednesday, several of which were from obviously made up emails like "firstname.lastname@example.org." How would you feel, email@example.com, if your inbox were inundated with deprecating messages of spite and hate so torrid they burned your eyes. How would you like it if were were unable to find the RSVP notice for the CEO's birthday bash at the best Penthouse Suite in The City? Because that's what happened to me on Wednesday night after I spilled coffee on my tie and forgot my directions in the hurry to leave and couldn't locate them up because they had been moved out of my "quick list" by your incessant complaints. I realize you don't get coffee during your breaks and your income doesn't suffer you to afford the sort of communications technology that allows others (me!) to check my "quick list" on the go, firstname.lastname@example.org, but these differences would not exist if you had worked a few more years in school and earned your MBA like me. Junior executives are allowed to attend the CEO's party wearing coffee stained ties, carry expensive PDAs and date other Junior executives. And Janet is an excellent reason to hang on to school for another year. Salespeople in their third year are not able to do those thing. And, after this notice, you will not be able to complain either.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Some days, you just don't want to get up out of bed. And if you must get out of bed, you just want to sit in front of the TV or the computer and chill. Eat some junk food, read some FCN, take a little nap. Don't do laundry or dishes or open the shades.
And sometimes, this urge can stretch on into the next day. And the next week.
There's nothing wrong with that. But unfortunately, your friends and relatives will start getting concerned about you and/or try to make you "snap out of it and start living again." Here are some handy tactics to keep that from happening.
Update your Facebook status to: "[Your Name] lost cell phone and computer in power surge. Everything is down until my next paycheck!" It is imperative that you do not sign into chat, answer email or your phone, or text until you're ready to resurface.
Engage in luxuriously sporadic online/communication activity. When you do, preface every email with "Sorry about the delay. I'm in the middle of a family crisis." Preface every text with "cant talk family issues." Be prepared to explain yourself to any family members that ask what's up. The two easiest explanations: it's personal, i can't tell you yet.
Go off the radar. If anyone asks, say you have asthma. If they say that's no excuse, get indignant and ask if they have asthma. If they don't have asthma, point out that they couldn't possibly understand what you're going through. If they do have asthma, say they must not have a severe case like yours or they would know better than to say such things.
Send a strange, out-of-character email to everyone in your address book with a link to a suspicious website. A few hours later, send out another email apologizing. Say that you've been hacked and you're not sure how bad it is yet. When you subsequently go off the radar, no one will wonder why.
Lock your doors, shut your windows. Set your Facebook status to: "[Your Name] is having a burst of GENIUS!" Play classical music as loudly as possible by your front door. When you leave your hermitude and people ask you what happened, say it's not quite ready to reveal to the world yet but you'll show them in due time. Eventually everyone will forget it happened. This method can be repeated but not too often, or people will demand proof of your genius.
Lock your house up firmly. Tell everyone you're going to Congo to help dig wells to help send starving impoverished african children with cancer and AIDS to college. Don't ever leave your house or move near an open window until your "return."
Invite everyone you know to a Sesame Street Marathon at your house. With more than four solid months of programming that none of your friends want to watch, you won't have any trouble explaining your following absence.
Use gmail. Program the following autoreply, to be used on all incoming emails:
"It's obvious this is going nowhere. I'm not speaking to you until you sort yourself out."
When you come out of hiding, act as if nothing has happened. If anyone asks about it, raise your eyebrows and say: "Let's not discuss it right now."
There you have it! Your very own passport to your very own undisturbed backyard. Got any more ideas on how to stay away from society? Comment away!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Hello, class. Today we’re taking the do it yourself post to a whole new level. First things first. Go grab a writing utensil and a piece of scrap paper. Number it from 1-10. All you need to do is think up some random words to fill in the blanks to create your own personalized post. Don’t scroll down and read the rest of the post until you are completely finished making your list of words. I mean it. Good luck.
Here are the words you need:
1. a verb ending in “ing”
2. an adjective
3. a verb
4. a noun
5. a verb
6. an adjective
7. a noun
8. a celebrity name
9. a unit of time
10. a celebrity name
Now that you’re done, scroll down and put your own creative words into the appropriate blanks.
Today when I was __1___ with President Obama, we had a/an ___2___ conversation. He asked me what I thought he should do about the economy. I said, “Well, Mr. President, if you want to ___3___ the people, you should ask the ____4___ what the best option would be.”
“Uh, that’s not a bad idea. I’ll ___5___ with that idea and see what happens.”
Little did I know that the ___6___ future of the economy now depended on my advice. President Obama whipped out his cell ___7___ and called his right hand man, ___8___. After a brief conversation, he hung up the phone.
“Ok, that does it. In 5 ___9___, the world will do what I like best… change. I have just given all power to ___10___.”
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Reginald plays violin. When most people say that, they mean the subject of their sentence saws away at the strings of their instrument with sophomoric gusto, creating a sound that is reminiscent of the squeak of nails on blackboard. They are being nice and calling the violin's abuse and subsequent screams "playing." Reginald is, if you will indulge me a moment of pleasantness, really quite good. He left the chalkboard stage some years ago and is now very proficient at his instrument. In fact, he's on a trajectory to land somewhere between Haendel and Bell.
It's an acknowledged risk that if you play violin, you may be asked to perform in front of others. This is less of a risk with the accordion, banjo and harmonica; most players of those instruments perform in private or not at all. Reginald chose the violin fully aware of the fact that he would have to perform at recitals and other musical functions and inadvertently committed his relatives and friends to accompany him. I was one of the committed.
The recital was set in a darkened, dank and unheated church building in the bowels of town. Tucked away between S-Mart and Best Buy, the church's traditional stained glass and stone steeple seemed out of place. The church's bulletin tried to preemept questions about its location with a trumped up tale of ancient placement. If the faux fading on the program were credible, the church was put in order by an old priest who's only claim to religious relevance was a relic consisting of a piece of wood from the boat that wrecked with Paul off the island of Malta.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Nothing is more awkward than an awkward moment.
Whatever. You get the point. You know? When you meet someone new and shake hands, and then stare at each other awkwardly? Or when you're in the middle of a conversation and everyone laughs heartily, and the laughing dies down and you all stare at each other awkwardly? Or when you're at the dinner table and someone says something that shouldn't have been said and you stare at each other awkwardly?
Fortunately, FCN has the cure. In what follows, we'll give you a non-comprehensive catalog of nifty conversation starters. Just pick one that suits the situation and run with it until the conversation sputters, then grab another and keep going.
Suddenly shout: "I'm bored!" This will capture what everyone else is feeling and make it clear that you are in touch with the group. In addition, many people respond to this outburst by volunteering things to do that will curtail the boredom.
Open up the conversation by confiding your deepest, darkest secret. Ask your conversation partner (CP) for advice and opinions. Ask if you're a terrible person. It's okay to cry a little.
Ask your CP what's bothering him or her. Don't take no for an answer. Insist that you can tell something is wrong and you won't let up until you hear all about it. Offer tissues and a shoulder to cry on. Say things like: "It's okay to be vulnerable sometimes," and "There, there."
Everyone appreciates some new information. Talk about a gourmet recipe or an unimportant tidbit of news. Your CP will appreciate your efforts to expand and educate.
Ignore your CP or make a few rude comments. This will create mystery in you; your CP will be fascinated and begin casting about for ways to keep the conversation going in order to learn more about you.
Sigh and nod your head slowly, as if to say: "We're really great friends who don't have to say anything; we just hang out for hours and hours listening to the wind." Eventually someone will think of something to say.
Burst into emphatic expressions of affection for your CP. Make sure there's no doubt in anyone's mind how happy you are to be present in this conversation. This should loosen everyone up and make them feel more comfortable and open.
Tell your CP about various ways you've noticed that he or she is "doing it wrong." Chide the CP for throwing his or her life away and offer a bulleted list of ways to improve.
Stare at your CP and raise your eyebrows, indicating that it's up to him or her to make the next move.
Comment on an odd feature on your CP's face. Ask if it's natural or the result of a childhood accident. Talk about how much your CP must have been ridiculed by the other kids at school.
Got any conversation starters to add? Comment with your suggestions! And while you're at it, we accept requests for future Etiquette Mondays.
Posted at 7:00 AM
Friday, June 19, 2009
Have you ever lived in a family with multiple people who play instruments? If you haven't, let me tell you right now, you're really missing out. On a lot of fun AND a lot of headaches!
With 5 siblings who play instruments - 1 pianist, 2 violinists, & 2 guitarists - and practice daily, I've listened to my share of musical cacophonies. It seems that no matter what we do, two or three people always end up practicing at exactly the same time. That's why my family owns about 4 orchestral music stands and 2 folding ones.
We used to make up a schedule of practice times but it never worked. Inevitably something would come up that would prevent one person from playing at their scheduled time, forcing them to practice at the same time as another sibling. It was worse when the violinists were just starting out.
Talk about fingernails on a chalkboard! I think there must be no worse sound than that of a beginning violinist, beginning to practice. Not only is every note out of tune, each one screeches. And how many times can a person listen to variations on "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" without going insane? I think I might have reached that number.
And then there was the time when my older sister - the pianist - was learning her audition pieces for college. Her teacher at the time had the wonderful idea that she should play Bartok. I think Bartok could easily win the prize for ugliest piano compositions ever. Anyways, she had to practice 3+ hours a day and on one particular day she was having trouble with a 3-measure passage of Bartok and played it over and over and over and over and over and over again. It was torture!
But then there are the fun times too. Like playing our instruments at our neighbors, who respond by blasting on their trombone. Or having rythm contests on family roadtrips, trying to guess the meter of whatever song we're listening to. Or just playing all at once and trying to be the loudest. And, of course, purposely singing off-key at the top of our lungs!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I wear cowboy boots to class. So sue me. I am a resident of the Central Valley of California. My dad is a farmer. I voted for John McCain in the last election (the cowboy boot-toting Sarah Palin was on the ticket). I drove a tractor before I drove a car. My favorite author is Louis Lamour. I have ridden a horse. To me cowboy boots are footwear, just like sneakers, sandals or those cork soles I purchased at a flea market (great for the locker room, my swollen big toe!).
Location defines appropriate attire. I learned this at the age of five when I attended my best friend's birthday party in a onesie pajama. Did I say five? Actually I was eight, the onesie was light red (not pink, you insensitive self-esteem destroyer!) and I completed the outfit with a white sleepy cap that had closed eyelashes painted on the front.
That said, I have recovered substantially. With a few notable exceptions, I no longer wear sandals to weddings or butterfly shorts to church.
Cowboy boots are appropriate attire in many college classes. They can be worn to mathematics or advanced science courses without raising an eyebrow. I had a soil science instructor who wore nothing else (on his feet). Boots are even okay in some history and economics classes. You won't be the most popular kid, but you can get by.
Boots are, however, implicitly prohibited in my French classes where the footwear shouts "Bush-supporting-redneck-hick-whose-only-ties-to-the-ivory-tower-are-non-inherited-wealth." To me, boots are emblematic of masculinity and strength. It's what Chick Bowdrie would wear as he narrowly escapes dry gulching on the way to capturing the outlaw rustlers. It's what Batman modified for his flying getup as he rid Gotham City of human filth. But strength -- at least the strenght of the boot -- is frowned on in the enclave of French represented by the 18 females and me in my French class.
French males are to be thin, wafty human beings with the resolve of a Benjamin Kunkel novel. They are to wash down their croissants and pain au chocolat with piping expresso and an air of superior "leger." Venerable, cultured and European. Not strong, manly and booted. The French man cries, wimpers and grovels. He is a good runner and a poor fighter. And everyone knows that boots are made for walking, not running, so the French male avoids that genre of footwear.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Day 8: We babysat 3 more children under the age of three. I figured I was already babysitting 5 kids, why not 8? Then we cleaned the house. Yeah, that pretty much took all day.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
FCN recently engaged in the following email correspondence (republished here in its splendid grammar and spelling original):
Hello,Hey, Helen. So nice of you to email. I am sure that if we were to read your profile, we too would "derive special interest on you." But what profile are you referring to? Of course, we have a "scence" of humor, we're humor writers! But you want to put trust in us? That might be problematic. You are looking for matured men? You'll find we are well seasoned. Yes, please send the photos...
my name is Helen, i am 25 years in search of a man who understands love as trust and faith rather seeing it as a way of fun always but a matured man with scence of humor. so after reading your profile i derive special interest on you so contact me with this email address (helen.kumba**@*****.com) I believe we can start from here. awaiting to hear from you soon so i can send photos for more introductions.
P.S. Kisses on a first email? You might want to reconsider that.
Hello,No you're not!
Helen again. i lied about my age for introductory purposes. I'm actually 42.
well, I sent you pictures of me. you need to introduce yourself. tell me about your so we can get to know each other. that's how this thing works...You are Helen Thomas, aren't you?
Well, yes...Why weren't you honest with that up front?
Because when I tell people that they get all weird. Sometimes people wear an expression that is a combination of revulsion and fear. Other times they just stare. It isn't pleasant. I think it's best if I just keep my identity secret. It gets me further in the dating world. That's why I love the teh web.Goodbye, Helen!
Monday, June 08, 2009
We've all been panhandled. Most of us have given money. Most of us have also refused to give money. The difference between a successful beggar and an unsuccessful one is a fine one, and when you're in a pinch and need dough fast you don't have time to get good. This is a critical skillset to the modern human being; so you really ought to start practicing panhandling right away, using the techniques and methods described below.
First, what is panhandling exactly? According to the interwebs, panhandling is "to request a donation in a supplicating manner. Beggars are commonly found in public places, such as street corners or public transport, where they request money such as spare change. They may use cups, boxes or hats to receive the donations."
Panhandling is about getting money from people and getting nothing in return. Pretty sweet deal, right? Right. But less than 5% of people do it properly. Learn these methods, carefully perfected over many years of incredibly tacky poverty:
Get up in the prospect's business and beg loudly and insistently for money until they give it to you. Do not attempt on men with tattoos or women with large purses.
Walk up to the person and stand about ten feet away, then stare at them so sadly that they ask you how they can help you. This method is much more effective on women.
You don't have to have ever been in Vietnam to be a Vietnam Vet. Just pull on a dirty green jacket, boots, and don't shave for a few days. Talk about how you can't find work because of wounds you sustained serving your country.
If you're panhandling someone with an Obama bumper sticker, say you were wounded in Bush's illegal attack on Iraq.
If you see a young couple on a date, tell the guy that he looks like the sort of upstanding charitable person who can spare some money for the poor. Without waiting for a response, compliment the gal on how lucky she is to have such a generous guy.
Tell the prospect you need five bucks or they'll take you back to rehab. Surprisingly few people question this logic.
Immediately thank the person for the five bucks they are about to give you. This is most effective on people who have just been in a car accident or are having an asthma attack.
Run up the prospect frantically and say you need five bucks. Be jumping up and down. Panic. Communicate that it's a matter of life and death. Clap your hands quickly and motion at the wallet or purse. Remind the person to hurry before it's too late. Then - and this is important - run like heck.
In a popular twist on the Matter of Great Urgency, tell the prospect that your wife is having a baby and you need gas money to get her to the hospital.
Tell the prospect that you're going to be completely honest with them, and that you'll use the money to buy drugs.
Tell the prospect that you're going to be completely honest with them, and that you won't use the money to buy drugs.
Hold one hand to your ear. Tell the prospect you need them for a matter of national security. Lead them around a corner. Then peak around and say: "Rats! They followed me. Okay, quick - give me five bucks." When finished, tell the person to wait there because They didn't see your face yet. Then run like heck.
After watching someone exit a store, tell them that a lot of counterfeit fives circulating in the area. Offer to to check theirs to see if they're okay. Then run like heck. This tactic is ill advised for prospects who can run faster than you.
Tell the prospect that you're a world-class violinist who hit harsh times. You had to sell your family heirloom violin and now you're on the streets, but with a few more bucks you can get your violin back.
Print out erroneous lottery tickets and sell them for a dollar each. Remind suspicious prospects that direct selling is "the old fashioned way."
These are, of course, just a few methods to get you started. Now go out and practice! Got your own ideas and methods? Comment below and help out your fellow washed-up readers.