Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Ok, so if they don't want you to put Qtips in your ears, why did they make them so long? And with a cushy cotton tip on both ends?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

a man in a bowler hat part 2

Ok, this is a little spooky. I saw the same man, with the same bowler hat, walking down the same street today.

In other news, Remy happily gave me his latest armpit hair update this evening. He discovered one hair in the other armpit, and a growing army of them in the first. He's up to about 1/2 dozen.

He reported no new growth in the pubic region.

Jeebus, my kids are fucking weird.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

a man in a bowler hat

Today I saw a gentleman in a white bowler hat and what appeared to be spats. He was just walking down the street. Wedding? I don't know. It's just not every day you see a man in a bowler, much less a white one. It was like seeing an ostrich downtown.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

dress code

The department managers had to meet this afternoon to discuss clarification of the office dress code. You see, last week, the president gathered us all outside and announced big news! Men no longer had to wear ties! We're going "business casual!" Yay!

Well, apparently people started showing up to work this week in coffee-stained pajamas and flip flops, hence the meeting.

The meeting started with the obligatory passing around of a 3-page ultrasupersecret memo designed to provide more clarification of the "new" company dress policy. The memo included 2 pages of what to wear, what not to wear, and what season to wear or not wear it, delineated neatly by gender.

In effect, it's pretty much the same as the old dress policy that people apparently ignored, except: men don't have to wear ties. Still no jeans. Casual Friday means "pressed"--I mean, who the hell says that?--dockers and polo shirts for men. Women...well, women can get away with more things. But no halters! No crocs! No tight or revealing clothing! No sneakers! No sandals after summer!

This "new" dress code was designed with our comfort in mind, so we're told, to create a more positive and fun work environment. I mean, I can't even say that with a straight face.

So we all look over the memo and Pat, from marketing, and Kathy, one of the VPs, discuss some of the less interesting points about inappropriate wardrobe choices. Like, no outdoor scarves allowed as part of the work wardrobe. Indoor scarves used to be fine for men and women, but Pat explained he deleted "men" from the official scarf sub-policy. Indoor scarves were too much like ties, he explained.

I looked around. Eyes glazed over. Jaws slightly open. A collective thought balloon hung over the long conference table, containing the word, "WTF."

"We really want the managers to get on board with this policy and don't badmouth it," Kathy said, as if the first thing we would do is go running out to our staff and telling them how stupid this was. We can do that tomorrow.

"Please wait until the official announcement goes out at 10 am tomorrow before discussing this with your staff. You may want to call a meeting in case people have questions. And please don't share the contents of this memo with them."

"Wait," Mary said. "So you have a list of things to wear and not to wear, and you don't want to share that with the employees? Why can't they see this memo? How will they know if they're breaking the policy?"

Pat hemmed and hawed. He explained it took 10 meetings to come up with the policy contained within the 3-page memo. I don't think he was kidding.

"Well, use your best judgement. I mean, you don't have to bust them on the first infraction. But if it continues, well, you should talk to the employee."

We looked at the memo and after a series of long, painful silences following Pat's repeated question "does anyone have any questions?" someone piped up:

"What about sandals at this time of year? It's still warm."

"Well, it depends on the sandal," said Kathy. "Not flip flops."

"No. A sandal. Like, I'm wearing sandals now. Would this adhere to policy?" The gal took off her sandal and ceremoniously slapped it on the conference table. There was a moment of nearly deferential silence.

"Well, it's dressier than a regular sandal," someone said.

"It's a dress sandal!" I piped up.

Kathy shook her head a little. I don't think she was actually expecting any of us to make such inane comments. "I think that would be ok."

"And we want to discourage tattooing and body piercings," she added. "But, heh heh, I'm sure you probably wouldn't hire someone who came in here with a nose ring," she added.

"I probably would," Evan, my old pal in rebelliousness, said happily.

"What about short-sleeved, button down shirts for men during the transition seasons?" I asked.

"No. They can wear polos on Friday, but the rest of the week they have to wear long sleeve shirts."

"Even now, when it's still hot?"

Pat looked at me and shook his head.

"Ok," I continued. "What about tight, thigh-high skirts? I see women wearing them. What about skirt lengths in general?" This was not outlined in the memo, a rather glaring oversight, in my opinion. But, face it, men who run companies like women in their short skirts, so presto: no short skirt policy. Capris? Out, unless it's summer. Business shorts? Ugly, and also out. Tight, short skirts? Absolutely, and encouraged--every day!

Pat stuttered, clearly taken aback by a rather feminist challenge to the dress policy.

"Uh, nothing, no...not too tight, no revealing clothes."

As it happens, there's one gal in sales who's nice as can be, from what I hear, but her body is of Barbie doll proportions, and she adorns it with the tightest clothes imaginable, matched only by 5-inch spike heels that make her feet turn outward as she struggles to maintain her balance while attempting to make tiny baby steps in her thigh-high, too-tight skirt.

What will become of her and her wardrobe? My point being, if they're going to make stupid rules, they should apply to everyone. But if one person gets to break them, we all do.

After a few more dumb questions about pantyhose and Dockers and winter coats, the meeting was adjourned.

I followed up later with Evan, who has since partaken of the corporate koolaid, and has become an executive editor. I helped hire him, initially, more than 10 years ago, and at that time we seemed to share a certain delight in rebelling against the man, of vowing not to get sucked into the corporate vortex of despair.

"Well, THAT was fun," I wrote in an email.

After some snark, he wrote: "it comes down to the sad truth that this place is run like a burgeoning 1950's Michigan accounting firm, plopped out of time in 21st-century South Jersey. You either work here or don't. You know?"

And with that, Evan spit out a little of the koolaid on his too-baggy, unpressed pants and his untucked polo shirt. There's still hope for him. For all of us. Maybe one day I'll come in braless. That was NOT mentioned in the dress policy.

Thanks for keeping the spirit alive, dude.

Monday, September 08, 2008

spanish inquisition

Well, one new thing I'm participating in is a fantasy football league. Is that pathetic or what? I mean, I may as well attend a Star Wars convention.

My pal Conni suggested I join up and play along with my boss (Dave) and the A/V dude (Mcponytail) from my current job.

I had to think carefully about this. Is it good business sense to join your colleagues at sports bars for the purpose of drinking and relentlessly taunting each other? That's the kind of action I was promised if I joined up. I mean, never mind the actual games. So after thinking carefully for about a minute, I joined up.

First thing, of course, was the draft, which took place at an appropriately seedy bar, nestled within the reeds and cattails on a nearby Jersey swamp.

Dave and I wasted way too much time and paper at work the day before, printing rosters and draft info. He started it. So armed with our paperwork and folders and looking all important, we cut out on time (!) and headed to the bar.

The tables were set up to accommodate 10 managers, 5 women and 5 men. We drank some beer and drafted away.

My first pick was immediately greeted with catcalls and comments like "yeah, great pick for 3rd string," and "loser." Sassy talk like that. I think it was Alex Smith (who's got some shoulder problem; I dropped him yesterday.)

My next pick was a little more impressive: Plaxico Burress. Greeted with admiring grunts.

Aha, maybe I do know what I'm doing.

Or, maybe I couldn't deny myself the pleasure of drafting someone named "Plaxico." Yes, that's it.

Drafting continued, accompanied by more beer. Drafting ended, followed by more beer. In all, I probably drank more beer that night than I have...even since 4th of July. And I'm not a beer drinker. But the combination seemed to work, the beer and football, to prevent a hangover the next day. Because if there's something worse than having to face your kids when you're hungover, it's your desk at work.

On Thursday night, my team was in first place. By Monday night, my team--the Spanish Inquisition, with the Iggles defense--was next to last.

But it's not about the football. It's about the snarky repartee, the casually sarcastic aside, the playful sexual banter, the overtly hostile verbal abuse from friends and coworkers. I hope they're prepared. Because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.