Friday, May 22, 2009

Stupid Corporate Tricks - #5

Today, let us continue the series of stupid corporate tricks. For this tale of workplace merriment, we will go back to the early 1990s. This particular story is more of an employee tale than something done by the company itself. One of my coworkers (let's call him Doug here) was always at odds with our boss (we'll call him Will). This boss will play into several tales before we are done.

To the point of this story, you need to know two things about Will. His desk was always piled high with so many papers that he could never find anything. The other thing is that he had a beloved HP 12C calculator. These used to be very common in business, and used RPN, or Reverse Polish Notation. This allowed for complex calculations in the days before calculators could use pure algebraic order of computation. Will had this one since his business school days, and he was quite fond of it.

One particular morning, we came to work and found a lost and found poster taped to the wall at every elevator landing in our building. Will's calculator had gone missing, and he was quite distressed about it. Now Doug always enjoyed Will's distress, so as you might imagine, he was enjoying this immensely. But then things took a nasty turn.

Will approached Doug and asked him if he had taken his calculator. Doug took great offense at the suggestion, and it didn't take long for him to find his response. As he was walking past Will's cubicle, he noticed the 12c was visible edgewise underneath a huge pile of papers on Will's desk. Doug said, "If I am accused of taking it, I will!" He took it from under the pile and hid it in his desk. He then proceded to create some ransom notes from an anonymous calculator kidnapper. leaving them where Will would find them. Will was going nuts trying to figure it out before Doug tired of the game and put the calculator back, where Will eventually found it.

The story doesn't end there however. A few years later Doug was working in another state for another firm. As fate would have it, I was again working for Will, but at a different company. During this time, Will again misplaced his calculator. I mentioned this to Doug, who immediately created another ransom note and faxed it to Will anonymously. Even though I was quite amused by it all, I also didn't have the heart to tell him what was going on. A couple of days later, Will found his a pile of papers on his desk!

King of the Hill

One of my favorite TV shows is Fox's King of the Hill. Sadly, the show has apparently reached the end of its run. There are unconfirmed reports that Fox has ordered a few more episodes, but these may appear on DVD rather than the network.

The program is the brain child of Mike Judge, who gave us Beavis and Butthead, and more importantly (in my estimation) the great movie that shows the inanity of working in corporate America, Office Space. While I didn't much care for B&B, both Office Space and King were strokes of genius.

So here is perhaps the final episode of King of the Hill, starring America's favorite salesman of "propane and propane accessories", Arlen, Texas' Hank Hill.