2-9-01 - Boardrooms Don't Hit Back
Bruce Lee once gave an interview in which he talked about Jeet Kune Do, the martial arts form he founded. He compared the other martial arts forms to a glass: rigid, unbending, held in place. Jeet Kune Do, he said, was like water poured into the glass. It took on the contours of the container it inhabited. It adjusted effortlessly to fit any shape. It adapted.
Temps are like that. Dumped into mazes of unfamiliar traditions and alien protocol, we flow like water, adjusting, adapting, pouring into the shape of the company around us. We merge and meld, becoming fluent in whatever language of business is spoken, picking up the customs of whatever arcane rituals are practiced, becoming one with the gah ha ha ha ha ha. Damn. I really thought I could get through all that without cracking up.
Really, we stand out like sore thumbs. We're confused and lost and haven't the slightest idea what to do or where to do it.
After two weeks of answering the phone at my job, I came across a binder with some instructions on how to answer the phones. This is par for the course, finding out what you're supposed to be doing after a few weeks of doing it wrong. At the bottom of the list of instructions, I noticed this:
Phrases not to be used on the phone:
Luckily, I've never used either of those phrases on the phone. I generally use "Just hang on a sec" or "Hang on just a sec." Whew! Like water, I tell you!
Also, I have to say how much I respect Bruce Lee. He was a short guy with a nasally voice, like me, but man, could he kick some ass. Speaking of kicking some ass...
You'll have to click it to find out!
2-8-01 - Casting Couch
I was thinking that if someone made a movie about the goings-on at my current temp job, it would be a dreadfully boring film and would do horribly at the box office. Since dreadfully boring films generally do very well at the box-office, this is just kind of a fantasy, but I thought I'd cast movie stars to play the parts of my co-workers.
The Boss: John C. McGinley
You may not know this character actor, but he's been in every Oliver Stone movie ever made. Anyway, he looks just like the guy who owns the company I work for.
I'd have to describe the boss as a slight jerk. By which I mean, he's a total jerk, but his jerkiness is very subtle that it is only noticed by insecure, paranoid, judgmental dorks, such as myself. For example, my supervisor was researching something for him, and he needed it by 3pm, which was when he was planning to leave for the day. Instead of saying "I'll need that by three" or "Can you have that done by the time I leave?", he said "I'll be leaving at three... with... that information."
There was only a slight pause before and after with, but it was enough to secure him as a jerk in my book, which is full of jerks. I call it my "Jerk Book." Wait, wait, no I don't!! Ah, nuts.
My Supervisor: Dyan Cannon
If I had to guess, I'd say my supervisor was a cheerleader in high school, and dazzled people with her bright, phony smile. Twenty-five years later, that smile has become a tense grimace, as if someone were standing behind a door with a gun, telling her to act natural. She's pleasant in a way that makes me very nervous. It's a pleasantness that I suspect would be present no matter what the circumstances. I could run into her office, set it on fire, and put the flames out with my whizz, and I have a feeling she'd still smile and thank me. Creepy.
I felt kind of sorry for her for a while, until she said this to me (smiling): "Boy, what a day. My husband is supposed to pick me up this afternoon to take me to Santa Cruz for the weekend, but they're installing our hot-tub today, and it's taking longer than it should. I also need to figure out where to park my Mercedes while we're gone!"
Yeah. Big problems.
This Other Guy I Work With: Ron Livingston
I don't know what this guy's title is, but he makes me nervous too. He has this ability to totally chew other people out, like totally rail on them about something, and then immediately segue into a chatty, casual conversation with someone else. "I don't know WHAT you thought you were doing, Gary, but it's the STUPIDEST THING I've ever SEEN! What the HELL is WRONG WITH YOU? You make me SICK, you PATHETIC BASTARD! Oh, hey, Ken! Dude, we playing hoops this weekend?"
I'm sure this is how successful people become successful, but I can't do stuff like that. The three times I've raised my voice in my life, I felt guilty about it for months afterwards. I understand that part of having people work for you is yelling at them, but shifting to light-hearted chit-chat without a hitch is just unsettling.
I just don't trust a guy who can rip someone a new asshole without getting poop on his hands.
The Receptionist: Cameron Diaz
She's hot, but man, is the receptionist a dip.
Not that Cameron Diaz is a dip.
But she kinda looks like Cameron Diaz.
(By the way, my link to the Tom Tomorrow cartoon was broken for most of yesterday. It's fixed now.)
2-7-01 - Beer Trap
Why am I such a successful temp? Well, it's because I've got a mind like a steel trap. Unfortunately, my thoughts often chew off one of their own feet and scurry away, leaving me with just a small furry nub to puzzle over. What the hell was that?
I had a good idea for an update today, but once I got home from work, watched four hours of syndicated reruns, had a few drinks, played video games, took a nap, had a few more drinks, goofed around on the internet, and made a trip to the store to buy more stuff to drink, I couldn't remember what the idea was. Weird. I do think, however, that it had something to do with temping.
So, I'll just let the readers of this site take over today.
Sent in by Peter, here's a link to a cartoon about temping by Tom Tomorrow:
And, sent in by Kate, here's what the book "Who Moved My Cheese?" looks like in Japan:
It apparently translates to "Where Did My Cheese Go?", which as Kate puts it, fits in with the "conflict-avoiding tendencies in Japanese society & language." Well, I don't know from Japanese, but it sounds right to me. "No one moved your Cheese, like they do in America, it just kinda left. Do not blame us!!!" Maybe in some other country, it translates to: "Your Cheese is Gone, and You Have no one to Blame but Yourself, Worthless Citizen."
Finally, Amy writes: "...I found this web site that actually had a word and definition for something you described yourself doing in one of your entries..."
And she's right! The site is www.americandialect.org, and there's an article about the Word of the Year 2000, in which the American Dialect Society has a few drinks and then votes on the word or phrase that was most notable or prominent in the past year ("Chad" was the winner this year. (Not some guy named Chad, but the whole Florida ballot thing you may have heard about)).
From the site: "Most Outrageous was wall humping, rubbing a thigh against a security card scanner to allow access without the inconvenience of removing the card from one's pocket."
I did mention something like this on my site at some point, although I can't for the life of me remember where. The old steel trap at work again.
Thanks to Peter, Kate, and um... whatsername... Amy! I love you three so much it aches.
2-6-01 - I Am Just A Hurl
Last week I stole an Ab-Rocker from a Dumpster and brought it home. I've used it faithfully every night since. The results?
Well, I know why it was in the Abba-Dabba-Dumpster. It's an Abba-Dabba-Piece-Of-Shit. Doesn't work. By which I mean, it functions, it doesn't fall apart, and I can sit on it and make rocking motions and work my abs, but it doesn't actually do anything.
Not that I was expecting rock-hard abs in just one week or anything. I thought it might take two or three. But it doesn't even seem to be exercising my abdominal muscles. Or any muscles. Try to understand, if I have to jog briskly across a four-lane street to beat the light, I can feel it in my legs for a week. If I super-size my meal deal, the added weight of the extra French fries makes my arms ache for the rest of the night. I'm in really poor shape here. So, an exercise device with even minimal muscle-working potential should make me feel something the next day. With the Ab-Rocker, I feel nothing. If only real exercise were this painless!
Of course, karma took care of me on Sunday. Gambling isn't legal in this town, so for kicks, I sometimes try to eat seafood from a fast-food restaurant. I took a chance on a fish-sticks meal from Jack-In-The-Box, and the house won. I spent most of Sunday periodically vomiting.
Talk about an ab workout! I can hardly move today, my stomach is so sore. Yarking works all the muscles of the stomach! The upper, middle, and those hard-to-work lower muscles. Supporting my weight over the can did wonders for my arms and shoulders, while running to the bathroom worked my thighs, calves, and buttocks!
You know, we always hear about how supermodels are sticking fingers down their throats to lose weight, but has anyone considered the muscle-toning benefits of bulimia? You heard it here first!
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2-1-01 - Five Finger Discount
The construction office I'm working in has an embezzler. Or had. She split, and now the office is trying to determine just how much she stole and how she stole it.
Have you ever seen a movie or TV drama where a character is suspected of embezzling from the company they work for? It usually goes like this:
INT. OFFICE - Two businessmen are standing in a hallway.
Businessman #1: Ted, I think Jim is embezzling from us.
Ted: Hm. I'll check it out.
A LITTLE LATER:
Ted (sitting at a desk with a printout): You were right, Businessman #1. Jim is embezzling from us. Look at this.
(Ted holds up printout.)
Businessman #1 (looking at printout for one second): Yes. I was right. Good work, Ted. You're getting a promotion.
Ted: Okay. You should also think about getting a real name one of these days.
Pretty cool, huh? Oh, wait, I forgot a scene...
INT. OFFICE - A temp sits at a reception desk for days, going through two years worth of returned checks, putting them in numerical order, confirming the amounts on the copies, checking them against bank statements, verifying the company names they were made out to, totaling them month by month, then creating a printout summarizing it.
(Temp collapses from neck cramps and eyestrain and lack of cigarette breaks. Ted takes the printout and goes to sit in his office.)
1-31-01 - Oops!
Not My Desk would like to issue to following corrections:
On August 6, 2000, it was reported that the writer of Not My Desk attended the Alameda Wine & Art & Loud, Poorly-Dressed Rabble Faire, where he witnessed "...that one tent run by that guy who sells his own paintings of lighthouses, that no one ever goes into, even by accident." This was a factual error, as at least one person did indeed visit that tent accidentally.
On August 14, 2000, it was implied that the writer hated to mention the fact that a slow-moving, wheelchair ridden man had caused him to miss his train. This is not true. The writer was happy to mention it, and mentions it often. More often than necessary, in fact.
On September 21, 2000, in a piece called "Open Letter to the Guy Who Sits Across From Me," it was reported that the writer could see the dude's nipples right through the thin dress shirts he (the dude) wore. Omitted from this article was the fact that the dude's ear-hair was totally out of control, too, man. Nasty.
On October 13, 2000, a guarantee was given that Clint Eastwood had never used the word "Yepper" (a term implying agreement, such as "Yes" or "Yep") in his life. This is untrue; Eastwood has in fact used it twice: Once, in 1941, at the age of 11, and again in 1987, while serving as mayor of Carmel-By-The-Sea, California. Interestingly enough, both uses of the word were in response to the same question, which was: "You mean to tell me that Brazilian Somali Sheep actually get that large?"
On numerous occasions, the word bitchin' should have appeared as wicked cool.
During the Temp Test (November 5,2000), this picture appeared in error:
The correct picture should have been:
In the "Venture" installment of Vision of the Future (November 12, 2000), the word "Winky" was used 19 times, though only 9 of those times were in reference to the actual name of the character in the game. The other 10 times, it was used in reference to the writer's genitals. This is not really an error, but it is a rather cheap way to get laughs.
On November 22nd, 2000, readers were assured that despite his harsh words, the writer was not making physical threats towards Spencer Johnson, M.D., and did not wish him bodily harm. This was bullshit.
On January 16, 2001, it was implied that the writer was disappointed that he could not lick his own anus. This is a half-truth.
We apologize for these errors.
1-30-01 - Yabba Dabba Doof
Guess what? I am now the proud owner of an Ab-Rocker. As seen on television!
You've probably seen the infomercial for the Ab-Rocker, which generally airs between infomercials for the Ab-Roller, the Ab-Doer, the Ab-Glider, the Ab-Hurter, the Ab-Honker, the Ab-Abber, and five hundred million other fitness devices that promise to a) give you powerful and sexy-looking abdominal muscles, b) take up only five minutes of your time, and c) fit under your bed.
Fitting under your bed is a major selling point for these devices, although there's a commercial for an even smaller ab-workout device called the Abslide, which is so small, you can take it with you wherever you go, provided you own a gigantic purse. I'm not sure why you'd need to take it with you, since you only need to use it for five minutes a day anyway, but I guess if you only get three and a half minutes done at home, you can take it to a friend's house and put it under their bed or something.
But the thing about the Ab-Rocker that sets it apart from the others is that it's part of the Body-By-Jake system. You may have seen Jake on his infomercial, where he shows off his professional knowledge of personal fitness as well as the fact that he is a complete moron. Jake has specfic rules for working on your abdominal muscles, and he calls them his "Abba-Dabba-Do's" and "Abba-Dabba-Don't's." It would seem that the first "Abba-Dabba-Don't" would be to never, ever use the phrase "Abba-Dabba-Do." But that's Jake! He's a retarded oaf!
You may be wondering why I would spend money on an Ab-Rocker, something I am clearly skeptical of. Well, I didn't.
I found it in a Dumpster!
I was taking a cigarette break at work, wandering around in the alley outside the building. I looked at the Dumpster, and there it was, the Ab-Rocker, in all its Ab-Rocking glory, and I thought, "Hmm. I want that. That should be mine."
(I need to note here that the Ab-Rocker was on top of the rest of the junk that was filling the Dumpster, so it's not like I went digging through piles of stinking refuse to find it. Really.)
Of course, this leads to a much deeper question, such as why would I even touch something in a Dumpster, particularly something that I am clearly skeptical of, and something that someone was initially not skeptical of, but is now skeptical enough of to huck it into the trash. I mean, it could be broken, and even if it isn't, the fact that it's sitting in a Dumpster isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for the product.
The answer: I wanted it. I thought it should be mine. So, after work, I moved my car over near the Dumpster, and stopped, leaving the engine running.
The problem with pilfering garbage near work is that you really don't want anyone from work seeing you do it, or they will tell everyone in the office about it, and everyone will laugh at you and call you "Garbage-Picker." I would, anyway. So, I had to be careful, since it was quitting time and people were trickling out of the office.
As I found out, picking crap out of a Dumpster isn't any easier in front of complete strangers, and it seemed to be rush hour for meandering teenagers, elderly sightseers, and other passersby. Four boys walked slowly past my car, pausing to have a smoke in front of the very Dumpster that held my prize. When they finally left, I got out of my car, but an old woman in hospital scrubs was walking her cocker spaniel a few feet away, so I quickly popped the hood of my car, pretending I had car trouble, which isn't hard because my car rattles and wheezes more than the Tin Man with emphysema.
I pretended to scrutinize the engine while the woman's cocker spaniel had what must have been the longest and slowest bowel movement in canine history, and then they left. I started for the Dumpster again, but just then, three girls moseyed by. They were just cute enough for me to worry about looking stupid in front of them, a problem I solved by leaning back over the engine and slamming my forehead into the corner of the raised hood of my car, digging a nice furrow into my head just above my receding hairline.
I somehow remained conscious and standing, and finally, the girls left. No one seemed to be coming out of the office, so it was time to get my free discarded Ab-Rocker! Blood slowly Abba-Dabba-Dripping down my forehead, I hurried to the Dumpster and yanked the Ab-Rocker out of it, causing the lid of the Dumpster, which the handles of the Ab-Rocker had been holding up, to crash down on my head, in roughly the same spot that was already throbbing and bleeding.
Moments like these are why I rarely, if ever, leave my apartment.
I angrily wrestled the Ab-Rocker into my trunk, managed to close it, then looked up as my supervisor's Mercedes slid by. I'm not sure if she saw me scurrying around, bleeding and stealing trash, but I was beyond caring due to the multiple head traumas I had sustained, which, as far as I can tell, have entirely obliterated my memories of grammar school. This is probably a good thing, because I'm guessing I got beat up and cried a lot.
The Ab-Rocker is still in my trunk. I'm waiting until it gets much later and the streets clear before I sneak it up to my apartment. I've also realized that if it is broken or doesn't work, or both, as I suspect, it'll be just as embarrassing throwing it in another Dumpster.
I mean, stealing it from the trash is one thing.
I just don't want people thinking I paid for it.
1-29-01 - More Art
Hi kids! Feast your beady little eyes on this:
(you'll want to click it for the full-sized image)
This was sent to me by Leth. Thanks, Leth! I love all the details like the book on the desk, the reflections, the bong, the ashtray, and well, pretty much everything. Very cool. If this had been a reader art contest, Leth would have pretty much kicked everyone else's asses. But I thank everyone who sent something in, and I'll be putting up a page for all the art I got.
And, sent in by Carey, is some Post-It Note art! This artwork isn't specifically Not My Desk related, but it's cool and it was done on company time! Carey, I salute you. Here are some samples:
Those are some purdy Post-It Notes! Thanks, Carey. Click here for Carey's link.
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