The Tire Shop has closed. We’ve opened a theater company at a new location (below). See you there.
Tales from the Tire Shop and Other Assorted Gibberish
The Tire Shop has closed. We’ve opened a theater company at a new location (below). See you there.
It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I just don’t care.
– Peter Gibbons in Office Space
I’m very busy at work these days. Not just busy meaning I’m involved in a lot of activities. But busy meaning that I’m working on projects that will add value to the business. Granted, I can’t seem to find time to leave work and go to the driving range anymore, but at least I’m not working on the mythical three year plan. Mythical because no one has ever actually seen it in action. Kind of like a Unicorn.
Being busy really is wonderful in a lot of ways. At “the company” I was not at all busy. I had way too much time to sit around and think about my life and the universe and how I into it all. I distinctly remember sitting at my desk, staring out of the window, and thinking of the very real possibility that the last few lines of my obituary would read “his spirit broken, Tire Shop spent the last few years of his life critiquing poetry.”
Tough. All of that is behind me now. No longer do I have the time to postulate on the contents of my obituary. No longer can I leave work at noon and head to the cigar shop to hang out with the old retired men for three hours. No longer am I able I paint my house while listening in to useless conference calls run by useless people. No longer can I wander uselessly through the building, spreading good cheer and cynacism to all.
From this point forth, my thoughts be busy or be nothing worth.
It’s been nearly two months now since I left “the company.” I still speak with many of you townies who I left behind so many days ago. I also speak to many of my fellow travelers who left our favorite disfunctional little town to venture out into the world and find serenity.
What, you ask, are the most common words I hear coming from these two groups?
Townies – Please get me out!
Travelers – Sure I’m working in a Leper colony, but I just thank the good Lord I’m not a Townie anymore.
I’m sorry Townies but this is the truth.
I, for one, have many fond memories. Looking back at “the company” is kind of like looking back to those Friday nights at the roller rink. My friends and I had so much fun skating around, weaving in and out between the punks, the hoods, the mullets, and the glitter.
There were the group of girls skating around in a Greek Phalanx formation, the prettiest ones always positioned toward the center. No way to get to the center without confronting a guard. “Why hello Ulga. I was wondering if I might have a word with Candy and Trixie?”
There was the really flexible limbo guy. Usually a thin Asian man I always noticed. Probably was the same guy every time. He came to this country and someone told him that Limbo was the key to a woman’s heart.
There were the ruffians. The teenagers who bowled everyone on the rink over with their hi jinks.
There were the sucker fish. Those junior high and high school couples who hung out in dark corners with their faces mashed together.
There were the wall clingers. The stars of the roller rink really. Grasping at the burgundy shag carpets on the walls as they inched around the perimeter of the rink at a slugs pace.
There was the much older guy who was by himself and creeped everyone out with his Camaro mustache and serial killer stares.
There were the video game leeches. They didn’t even put skates on. Just hung out by the Galaga machine all night looking for loose quarters.
You get the picture. I’m not sure of how these groups are analagous with those at “the company,” but I’m sure you’ll use your imagination.
Have you ever worked with someone who did too much? Someone who went way beyond the call of the job, but so much so it was to the detriment of the work. One of these completely inefficient happy asses who takes three hours to forward you a spreadsheet because they are color coding each cell and developing a color reference guide for you.
Delegation becomes impossible with these people. If you split up a task, i.e., you do A and I’ll do B, they end up doing both and tossing in C for good measure. Meanwhile you’re standing there holding your own version of B with the added choice of deciding which B to use.
My mother, God love her, is one of these people. One time I called her and told her I was coming over in an hour to cut her grass. When I got there, she was just finishing cutting her grass. “I just thought I’d do it so you wouldn’t have to,” she said. Thanks a shitload Ma. I guess I’ll drive home now.
The following is pretty much verbatim from an actual conversation I had with my mother last fall:
“Hey Mom it’s Tire Shop.”
“Oh, hi honey, how are you doing?”
“Good. Look, we’d like to invite you over for Thanksgiving dinner next week. Just a few people. Nothing extravagant.”
“Oh great. Why don’t you let me bring something? I can make the turkey, dressing, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes.”
“Uh, that seems like quite a bit.”
“Well you guys will have so much to do otherwise, I thought I could just bring those few things.”
“Few things? Ma that’s the whole damn dinner.”
“Well you guys can make a desert and buy the napkins.”
“I don’t think so Ma. Just show up. We’ll do the rest.”
“Well I think you should at least let me buy the turkey.”
“Why would we let you buy the turkey? We’re inviting you to OUR house for Thanksgiving.”
“Okay, you buy the turkey and I’ll clean it and cook it.”
“Well, if you guys are making all the food I’m going to pay you for it.”
“Pay us. What are we a restaurant? Can’t you just bring a desert or something?”
“Oh, well yes I suppose I could make a desert.”
“That would really be great Ma.”
“Okay. You want me to bring some plates and silverware?”
Yes. This is my life.
Have you ever been on a conference call with twenty or so people all jabbering about how unimportant their jobs are when, all of a sudden, there is this horrible echo when people talk. It starts with the screeching sound of speaker feedback. Shortly after the feedback ends, the echoes begin. Everyone continues talking for a moment, ignoring the fact that they sound like they are spelunking in a deep cavern. Finally, someone says “does anyone else hear that echo?” Then the whiny lady who is on every conference call says “yes, it’s just awful. I think my ears are starting to bleed.” Others confirm that they also can hear the echo and eventually it is agreed that everyone should hang up and dial back in.
Has that ever happened to you?
If so, there is a really good chance that the cause of that horrible echo was yours truly.
I will know divulge my secret. Here’s the scoop on how it’s done.
Simply dial into the conference call on your desk phone as you normally would. When you’re ready to f-up the entire meeting, take out your mobile phone, dial into the bridge, and hold the mobile phone upside down up against the receiver on your desk phone. Hilarity ensues.
There are more that a few indications you should look for when trying to determine when you should reduce the conference call to shambles. A few keys that I always use are as follows:
I just realized that every item after bullet one is really just a derivative of the Bastard Ratio. That’s really all you need after all.
Why would I do this you ask? Why would I deliberately ruin a useless meeting. Three reasons:
Let’s face it. The only real fun any of us ever had in our lives has been evil. Have you ever really had good clean fun? Not if you’re honest with yourself. Anytime I have a chance to have some evil fun I jump on it. So should you.
Yesterday I had to go through manager sensitivity training and watch the fabulously cheesy “Sexual Harassment and You” video. It appeared that the video had been produced by a former pornographic film director who is taking his first steps in breaking into legitimate cinema. Really high quality acting and script writing. It was perhaps the most entertaining movie I’ve seen in quite some time. Let me walk you through a few of my favorite scenes.
Interior: Pan through a nondescript office space. Bill and Jane sit typing on their computer key boards. Their cubicles are adjacent to each other and have low walls so they easily see into each others work space. Bill stops his typing and begins staring at Jane with a lascivious smile on his face.
“Hey Jane, looking good today,” Bill says through his huge grin.
“Oh, why…thanks I guess,” Jane stammers a bit worried.
There is a long pause as Jane goes back to typing. After a spell, you can hear an off camera voice, probably the director, say softly “Bill…line!”
“Say,” Bill continues with surprise, “I’ve got two tickets to the Bon Jovi concert tonight. What say you and I throw on our acid washed jeans, toss a silky scarf headband on, and head out together. Maybe we could even get a little slippery when wet after the concert if you know what I mean.”
Bill leans forward and winks at Jane who looks very dismayed.
“Thanks Bill,” Jane says with a half-smile, “but I’ve got Jazzercise class tonight. And besides, you know I’m going out with Stan from logistics. We’re getting kind of serious – like maybe even exclusive. Plus word on the street is he’s got a much larger hoo hoo dilly than you do. Got that Tiny Archibald?”
Bill sinks down in his chair like a dead slug.
“You dirty @#@$,” he whispers.
So obviously Jane sexually harassed Bill in that one. Bill should ask her to stop and report her behaviour immediately to his manager and Human Resources.
Interior: In a small office behind a wooden desk sits a fantastically old and horrifyingly ugly female. She is wearing a house dress and appears to have a hunch back. Her name is Lard Woman and she is working away, typing on her keyboard with one hand while eating some raw meat with the other. There is a knock at the door and Lard Woman looks up from her computer with a string of beef hanging from her black teeth.
“Who is it,” Lard Woman grunts.
The door opens and in walks Sluggo, the office tard.
“Hi Lard Woman,” Sluggo says tentatively. “Tina said you wanted to see me.”
“Yes, come in Sluggo” says Lard Woman enthusiastically as she flings the hunk of raw meat behind her. It sticks to the wall with a god awful splat.
Sluggo starts to sit but stops suddenly as Lard Woman holds up her hand and says “ahh ah ahh.”
“What’s wrong,” Sluggo asks.
Lard Woman smiles and says “turn around once before you sit, will ya sweetie.”
Sluggo blushes, does a quick spin, and sits down, farting loudly as his butt hits the chair leather.
“Oops,” he says his face turning even redder.
“No worries,” Lard Woman says cooly, “I don’t mind a man who farts and stinks real bad.”
Lard Woman’s face goes deadly serious as she begins. “Look Sluggo it’s coming up on annual review time for you. I really think you deserve a big raise. But things are really tight, know what I mean.”
Sluggo nods slowly, unsure of the connotation.
“Here’s the thing Sluggo,” Lard Woman says leaning forward to look him in the eye. “I’m not going to lie to you. I find you very attractive. That dent in your forehead. Those crossed baby blue eyes of yours. Your pearly white tooth. I mean how’s a girl supposed to get any work done around here when all day long she has to feast her eyes on a hunk of skin like you. I just can’t concentrate with a spitting image of a meth-addicted Hamburgler hanging around my door.”
She laughs and leans back in her chair to look him over.
“So I’ll tell ya what,” she continues while peeling the raw meat hunk off the wall behind her and taking a seductive bite, “why don’t you stop over my place tonight about seven and we’ll discuss your performance. Could do wonders for your salary level you know.”
Sluggo looks her in the eye, worried but curious. He says nothing, but answers her with two simultaneous farts, first a whistler and a then a steamboat horn.
So this one is a bit confusing since it could be consensual and not necessarily considered sexual harassment. But setting that aside I think it’s pretty clear that both of these mutants should be executed by firing squad for even considering having relations with each other.
So that was my day. How was yours?
I remember there was a story floating around a few years back about a guy who was fired from “the company” because he had his secretary take his ethics compliance test for him. Apparently, as the poor woman was taking the test, she came across the section that stated it is unethical to take the ethics compliance test for your boss. Then she came across the section that stated if one were to witness an ethics violation, such as being forced to take the ethics compliance test for another party, that the incident should be reported via the ethics hot-line.
Oh irony. How I love thee. Let me count the ways.
Not sure what comes over a person to so blatantly and visibly violate the ethical standards of their particular company. Thank goodness there is an ethics hot-line though.
“Hey there. So is this the ethics hotline?”
“Yes sir, how can I help you today?”
“Great. Well I’ve got several things I want to run by you.”
“Okay. Let’s just take them one at a time. First start by giving me your name or, if you’d like to remain anonymous, a name I can call you during this conversation.”
“Oh. Well. I guess I’ll remain anonymous then. So why don’t you call me…ah…let’s see…what have I always wanted to be named? I’ve got it! Call me Spartacus.”
“You want me to call you Spartacus?”
“Yeah. I’ve always been a huge fan of Kirk Douglas and gladiator movies.”
“Okay Mr…ahem…Spartacus. How can I help you?”
“Could you call me Dr. Spartacus? Because I think…”
“LET’S JUST GET ON WITH IT!”
“Okay. Well the other day I was working late at the office and suddenly realized that I was late for dinner with my wife. I jumped out of my chair, rushed to pack my things, and headed out in a real tizzy. Later when I got home I realized that I’d accidentally grabbed one of the company pencils in my rush out of the office and…well…it had broken in the bottom of my satchel.”
“And what? That’s it. I accidentally took a company pencil home and broke it.”
“Mr. Spartacus you’ve got to be kidding me. Is that the reason why you called the ethics hot-line?”
“Well, that was the main reason sure. Then there was last week when I accidentally crapped myself at work.”
“Yeah, I dumped a fantasically large poop-n-turd in my pantaloons just after breakfast. So I crab crawled down the hallway and into the men’s bathroom, took off my soiled underoos, then stuffed them into the bathroom trash can with a little note on them that said ‘This One’s For You Julio.’ Then I free-balled it the rest of the day. Is that unethical?”
“Dear God Dr. Spartacus what the hell…”
“I also wanted to ask you about a little incident I had with a live sheep in the new mother’s room…”