Archive for the ‘office gossip’ Category

Foot ‘in’ Mouth is just as much a disease as Ebola, being Ginger or AIDS; it even sounds like a disease. There are other common characteristics prevalent across these three ailments, there is no cure, prognosis is never rosy and you can catch it from unprotected sex with monkeys (allegedly)

I can confirm I am a carrier of foot in mouth and have been so afflicted for many years, I don’t know if I caught it from having sex with a primate but the wife doesn’t have it so I don’t think so. Maybe I caught it from a public toilet seat; I really must get out of the habit of licking them.

Generally I can control the symptoms with judicious application of ‘shutting the fuck up’ although when I forget to take my tablets the repercussions can be severe. My wife pointed me to another herbal cure on the market ‘thinking before you speak’ but I just can’t seem to get on with it, all that happens if I take it is that I come out in hives and get migraines. Warning – sufferers of FiM should not drink alcohol, it only exaggerates symptoms and can lead to the far more serious ‘feet in mouth up to the knee’ syndrome.

In case you were wondering if you were a carrier let me describe several symptomatic incidents, it’s rather like Tourettes I suppose but generally without the pithy one liners and light hearted mockery.

Meeting a vague acquaintance from many years ago in the waiting room of the doctors, I was there to have a monkey bite treated. After striking up a ‘hi, how are you, long time no see’ conversation I congratulated her on her pregnancy and enquired as to how far gone she was and here is where my FiM kicked in, she wasn’t pregnant she was just very fat….. Not my fault really and I think she should have been blaming Mr Kipling not crying and shouting abuse at me!

FiM as many of you will know is technology savvy bug, take the following example which I have previously covered under another guise. I was chatting to Kenneth on our MSN style chat application. Instead of sending Kenneth a message saying ‘Gary(th) is a massive tool and is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot’ my illness made me send the message to Gary(th) instead. Cue much wailing and tearing of hair and that was just Kenneth laughing hysterically when I told him what had happened.

Many years ago calling a girlfriend by the wrong name, yep, I actually did it! Luckily we weren’t playing horizontal gymnastics at the time but we were in a restaurant enjoying dinner, well I say we were enjoying dinner but post FiM outbreak the mood at the table was more psycho than bistro. Word to the wise, either only date women with the same name or fall back on the old cockney pastime of calling everyone ‘love’

Having a not so young lady ask you for your honest opinion on a dress she was wearing at a soiree. Clearly a non FiM sufferer would have known the correct response to this would have been banal platitudes accompanied by much head nodding and arm patting not ’what Marquee did you steal that off?’ The only good news was that her husband managed to loudly snort champagne whilst laughing and I managed to exit stage left before she could turn her anger from him. Yes, I had been drinking and yes later in the evening I did end up in a ceremonial fish pond wearing nothing but a top hat.

I could go on with many more personal examples of how suffers of FiM are afflicted but I won’t. I will just leave you with this reminder – next time someone says or does something so embarrassing that you don’t know whether to laugh uncontrollably or bite through a major vein and end it all remember, it might not be there fault it might be FiM……on the other hand of course they might just be a massive twat.

By the way famous suffers of FiM include George Bush, Adolf Hitler, the other George Bush, most football commentators and that one eyed ex prime minister.


There are mornings when it’s just impossible to get out of bed, the alarm has gone off and you should be in the bathroom scraping polar bear fur from your teeth and contemplating another day of drudgery in the orifice, instead all you can do is summon just enough energy to lay there like Christopher Reeves staring up at a horse’s arse wondering why he can’t feel his feet. It happens to the best of us, not being paralysed in a fall from a horse which is less common and moderately more annoying I am of course referring to that extreme lethargy known as cant-be-arsed-itus
Whilst nine times out of ten we soldier on, claw our way from beneath the duvet and stagger on regardless there are times when it’s simply too much and the only thing to do is text in a lame excuse to your manager, turn over your pillow to hide the claggy cold patch of dribble and re-enter the land of nod, safe in the knowledge that no suspicions will be aroused and your secret will be safe.
Nearly every one of us has at some point made up a reason to be late to school or work (dentists appointment, pets circumcision, car won’t start) or to not come in at all (dentists appointment, own circumcision, car on fire with you trapped in it) and nearly all of us know when our colleagues are attempting to try and pull them wool, the art to this, and it is an art, is think big and brazen and I don’t mean Dawn French!
I have compared below some of the usual excuse suspects and replaced them with more interesting, outlandish and let’s face it eminently more believable alternatives, besides if you are going to get a reprimand and possibly end up unemployed it might as well be for something original!

‘I don’t feel well and have hardly slept’ – ‘My neighbour works at Huntingdon life sciences, his pet Macao escaped and bit me and now I am exhibiting all the early symptoms associated with a military grade small pox infection, If you own a biohazard suit I suggest you put it on.

‘My car won’t start’ – ‘3 Middle Eastern gentlemen have been seen in the vicinity of my vehicle acting suspiciously and because of my old job with the Government (I can’t talk about it) I have had to call out the bomb squad and evacuate all the houses in my street. Don’t expect me to be in contact, all mobile phones signals are about to be jammed to prevent remote detonation. If anyone with a tan comes around work looking for me you have permission to stab then in the ears with a pencil.

‘My random relative has died’ – ‘My paternal grandfather has been secretly extradited from his holiday home in Argentina to Israel to answer to a charge of mass genocide. It’s all a case of mistaken identity but as my likeness to a young Grandpappy Heinrich is apparently uncanny I have been asked to dress up as a Waffen SS Major and have a black and white photo taken with some skinny models in pyjamas for some stuffy old judge to look at. I’ll be back once the next UN War crimes tribunal has met and sorted out the confusion.

‘I have an emergency dentist appointment’ – ‘my psychiatrist has changed my lithium dose to a new miracle drug and it’s turned the voices angry. I am afraid that if I leave the house then they will have free reign and the world will end in a blaze of homemade explosive glory. Apparently the side effects wear off in five days but until then if you see me please call the police, the coastguard and the nearest vet.

Of course once your coup de main has been achieved it is advisable to maintain the illusion until you are ready to reappear. It’s no good telling your boss you have Beri Beri and have been quarantined for a week to then be spotted out that night at a local hostelry several sheets to the wind! Note: In this case you have several choices; 1) pretend you have an identical twin 2) try to convince people that alcohol is known to have rejuvenative qualities for those suffering from Beri Beri or 3) lure whomever has spotted you out to the car park under a pretence and then…. Well ok maybe that’s going a bit far.

It would have been easy to have compiled a list of the best excuses for non arrival at work but it’s already been done numerous times on the interweb so instead I thought I’d share the top REAL, yes all these are real! excuses I have either used or heard first hand.

‘On my way to work today I was chased and attacked by a pack of wild dogs’ – I know I know but its true! The unlucky individual ended up with cuts, bruises and a lost ball and had to have several days recuperating. That’ll be the last time he comes to work dressed as Scooby Doo.

‘I have been bitten by a weird escaped venomous insect and my breathing is getting shallow, I am on my way to hospital now’ – That unfortunately was me….. Its always disconcerting when the nurse calls the doctor who calls the specialist who calls the cleaner who asks the question;

‘Have you come into contact with any highly venomous tropical insects recently?’ Like I wouldn’t have mentioned it!!!

They pumped me full of antihistamine and I never found out what it was that attacked me and left the fang marks on my arm but I slept in a mosquito net for weeks.

‘I met a girl in the pub last night, we came back to mine and we are going to spend the day in bed’ – Not me unfortunately…… the gentleman in question had used up all his holiday and obviously felt that honestly was the best policy. It was and the term ‘duvet day’ was never used in the same way ever again.

‘I am trapped in my house because a local film star has died and the city is rioting, if I leave bandits might beat me to death’ – Clearly my company has an office in Bradford! This one was good for a whole week of non work. I wish they did that here every time some B list nobody died, at least Jade’s life would have had some sort of purpose then.

On that note I have warbled on enough, besides I have to leave work early today, my dog has a headache and needs to be kept under close observation in case he explodes.

My boss has invited me to take up the challenge of arranging our department Christmas party, when I say invited I mean ordered, I don’t get a choice – those of you that know me will realise this is about as clever as asking Myra Hindley to baby-sit. This is a ridiculously bad idea for two key reasons, firstly I don’t really like Christmas and secondly I don’t really like the majority of the witless dribbling unwashed masses I am forced to interact with at work, a recipe for festive related disaster me thinks.
The princely sum of £20 per head is available for me to blow on this soirée so an evening at the Ritz is out, incidentally the term ‘per head’ is on the conversational ban list here as it is seen as being derogatory to minorities who were born without heads and also latterly victims of Al Qaeda like that scouse bloke Ken, anyway as usual I digress.
So, I have decided to come at this from a multi faith ethnically diverse and non exclusive approach which for those of you who do not work in directorate three of the thought police (ethnic festival management) means I am going to make it as un Christmassy as humanly possible. Not for the benefit of the PLO sleeper agent in our architecture team although he will be pleased but more because its my party and I don’t like Christmas.
In Bygone years Christmas in an office environment used to be a time of long pub lunches paid for by grateful management, time to bond as a team, to buy each other presents and if your luck is in or you have a spare fiver a ten minute knee trembler in the stationary cupboard with Janet the bike from accounts, all before going home to get ready for the big gratis evening dinner dance, partners welcome.
Christmas isn’t even called Christmas anymore, the ‘Festive period’ is no longer about peace and good will to all men (sexist statement) nor is it about management making that extra effort to make staff feel appreciated and included. It’s all about making sure your dates don’t slip, projects still march inexorably forward and people who know what they are doing are on call over the holidays to assist our offshore friends. As for the knee trembler with Janet well, the stationary cupboard has been rearrnaged into a windowless office with 8 desks crammed into it and even if it wasn’t Janet and her Yule tide duties are now being carried out by someone called Ranjeet in India, at least the post it note ordering part is anyway.
All in all celebrating Corporate Christmas is crap (alliteration mega streak!) its more about making sure work isn’t effected and minority groups aren’t in some way offended, not that any of the ‘minority’ individuals I work with care, the cynical amongst us might say its our paranoid directorate three friends keeping themselves in work and I would have to agree.
All that said at least my boss will be pleased that his year and probably slightly suspicious as I have for once decided to tow the company line, embrace our mission statement and ethos and pull in the same direction as management – in other words I have arranged for our department Christmas to be at our local curry house! Pint of Kingfisher anyone?

The atmosphere in the office this week has been one of electric anticipation although unfortunately not because someone has connected up my esteemed leaders swivel chair to the mains and is running a book on how long it will be till his ears burst into flame.
We have someone from the mothership visiting to give us a shot of morale in the arm and a good kick up the arse to boot (pun intended) just in case we thought someone has started caring. This is the smiling, teeth whitened, Grecian 2000 velvet glove which encases the iron fist of day to day stalag luft management of summary executions, public beatings and forlorn, forgotten hope.
This guy looks like an extra from the Sopranos and has a name to match, Jimmy ‘The Spreadsheet’ Ravioli or something equally New Yorky and minority without being too minority. The easy manner and predatory smile of a second hand car salesman or loan shark are offset by the sort of ‘trust me’ ‘man of the people’ mannerisms that defined Tony Blair or at least would be offset if it wasn’t for the fact that Blair is about as trust worthy as a randy Necrophiliac in a Morgue and about as much of a man of the people as PolPot was the 1988 face of spec savers or Nick Griffin is going to be the next poster boy for United Colours of Benetton.
As we are all corralled like reticent sheep towards two hours of total atrophy there is a very unseemly rush and tangle of the usual arsekissers trying to secure front row seats – it reminds me of the herd of thirty something lonely fatties at my wedding clambering over each other to catch my wife’s bouquet – note: I have been married for 5 years, the sad spinster who elbowed and bit her way to bouquet triumph is still single and will remain so, forever.
Jimmy the Spreadsheet greats us all with a cheery wave and a beaming smile – he reminds me slightly of an Italian Kim Jong Ill. Any minute this guy is going to start making a pistol mime with his hands and start picking off people in the audience – pow pow pow! I have decided that if he does I am going to mime running up on stage and setting off a suicide vest – boom boom boom! – I reckon he’ll see the funny side.
The next two hours pass in a blurred mixture of management bullshit, false bonhomie, thinly veiled threats and dictat- rather like Hitler’s Reichstag speech of December 1941 but marginally warmer and cuddlier, if I wasn’t such a cynic I might even have been drawn in.
Now comes my favourite part of these events, its question time! I love this. Its rather like feeding time at a zoo for retarded animals but being compared by a convicted child molester (that might not be true) with a hand held microphone and a comb over. Some of the dribble that these people come out with, have even practised the delivery of in front of a mirror beggars belief, its like car crash T.V.!

‘Hi Jimmy, I have a question, I notice that quarter 3 earnings are up 1.2 percent on quarter 2 earnings, does this mean that soft tip fineline pens will be back in stock in our stationery cupboards?’

‘Hi Jimmy, Welcome to England, I noticed whilst stalking you online that your facebook page lists you as being interested in water sports, for a small rise in grade I will let you wee on me as much as you like….. please Jimmy, pleeeeeeease, I love you!’

Well Jimmy, I have a question to which you won’t have a down pat twee politicians answer, put this in your management pipe and smoke it!

‘Mr Ravioli, I won’t presume to address you in the familiar, I don’t know you from Adam (alarm bells have started ringing and the smile is sliding off his smug fat Wop face) Answer me this…. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if you hadn’t made him redundant and outsourced his role to India??’

Queue red faced head explosion……..

Its rare for the French to be leading the rest of the world when it comes to cutting edge business practices but they seem to have managed it this week and with the usual panache, flair and style you’d expect from the nation that gave us haute cuisine, haute couture and haute white flags.
Faced with the tricky prospect of having to deal with a mutinous communist workforce who go on strike at the drop of a beret and where the labour unions have the sort of power and influence that Gordon Brown gets misty eye (use of singular is deliberate) dreaming about our Gaelic cousins have arrived at an ingenious and cost free solution.
Instead of going through the slow, costly and frankly inefficient process of making all their competent garlic breathed staff redundant, paying them off and replacing them with cheap garlic breathed less competent Indians they have instead arrived at a new and innovative approach.

They just hound them to death…..

Not ones to miss a trick and take glory for someone else’s good ideas I await with trepidation as the penny (not a guillotine unfortunately) drops for management here, I can see it now. A large tower will be erected at the end of the car park with a quicklime lined pit dug alongside, meetings will be hosted on top of the aforementioned tower to go though something so mind numbingly eye bleedingly pointless, futile and dull (project delivery framework presentation anyone?) that the only options available to many will be to either attempt to open a major vein with the edge of sheet of torn notepad or to leap athletically to their deaths.
For management it’s a no brainer, not only do you make sure that everyone attends the new project framework delivery presentation but you also manage to cull half your work force in the process, and the best bit… pesky death in service or life insurance for you to fork out for, self inflicted injury isn’t covered.

You gotta hand it to these frogs, unlike the Maginot line its a plan with ne pas de flaws.


Well Dire Straits clearly never worked here did they. The latest stake through the heart of morale here has been unveiled this week – the free coffee and tea vending machines have been upgraded and improved and in keeping with the usual advances now not only do the drinks taste worse than ever (tiny flimsy cardboard cups full of room temperature frothy yaks urine) but now to add insult to injury we have to pay for the privilege of poisoning ourselves as well.
I am fairly certain that these new machines have been purchased from Trotters Independent Traders, they take about ten minutes to spit out what is enthusiastically referred to as an ‘ultimate premium beverage’ they only give change in Reich marks and the cheery little messages on the LCD display have been clearly concocted by a 4 year old Albanian trainee village idiot (Please Drink Ready Take being a good example)
I’m not going to go on about it, frankly its too depressing , instead I am going to compile a list of things that I think will shortly also go the way of the free beverage if the bean flickers, I mean counters get their way:

Electricity – Why have a pesky utility bill to fork out for when you could just install coin meters on every desk and have your employees pay to use their workstation, the harder you flog your workforce the more money you make and the beauty of it is that it’s a self effacing prophecy – the longer they toil to make up for the ceaseless stream of pound coins they are haemorrhaging the steadier the steam becomes. Whilst we are on the subject in fact why not just make people buy their own laptops and phones but don’t be expecting to keep personal data on them, tut tut, that’s against company policy.

Desk Space – Got carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica or terminal piles?, been told you need an orthopaedic chair and a raised desk to alleviate your symptoms? Well stop bleating and fuck off and work for a company that values its staff! Under our new Lease Lend system if you want a chair and a desk you will have to pay for them and no you can’t bring your own or work from home, we already rake it in from making you pay to park here.

Sanitary facilities (know as toilets to normal people) – Take a leaf from the great cities in Europe and have a guard on the door soliciting money (cash to splash you might call it) to allow you to use the toilet, and in keeping with nearly all great European cities even though you are paying do not expect the facilities to resemble anything other than something across between Blackadders outside privy and a charity run dysentery clinic in Mumbai.

Oxygen – I don’t mean those trending little bottles of pure O that are supposed to alleviate Cocaine induced migraines I mean the air that we breathe and that everyone apart from Kevin Costner needs to stay alive – if its in the office its technically yours so why not charge for it.

Anyone got any other examples or bad coffee machine related experiences, let me know using the comments option

Its been a while and for that I can only apologise, hatching dastardly plots to take over the world and avoiding the long arm of the thought police have been taking up the majority of my time and when I haven’t been plotting I’ve been potting (you should see my early crop new potatoes!)

Anyways, here I am , back by popular demand and raring to go so corporate cronies and the gingers amongst us be afraid, be very afraid.

We have a new gate at work it’s a work of art really, some might even go as far as to say its morale boozing in its majesty, and if morale boosting was ever needed its now. Petrol related suicides in the car park are up 43 % and its becoming increasingly impossible to wander over to the canteen without having to dodge the pin striped bombs of despair that come wailing from the heavens and are making an unholy mess of the carefully manicured walkways around the site. That being said every cloud has a silver lining and the crows and rats seem to be loving the economic downturn but be warned scavenging is not without its risks and more than one greedy opportunist (no, I am not referring to the HR department) has choked to death on a solid silver cufflink or a Hermes broach torn from still twitching middle management flesh

So then , back to our moral boosting new gothic style gates you can tell at first glance that a great deal of thought and attention to detail has gone into these, and as with bikinis less is more as any artist worth their salt can tell you. This minimalist functional celebration of all the values, beliefs and positive character traits that drive this business forward is a triumph and cannot fail to have the desired effect on the despondent masses who stream through its welcoming embrace every morning on their way to paradise.

In fact why don’t I just shut up and post a picture