All in a Day’s Work

HU­MOUR ON THE JOB

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Contents -

1970s

Each desk in the of­fice had its ‘In’ and ‘Out’ bas­kets. On one desk, how­ever, the bas­kets were marked ‘Easy come’ and ‘Easy go’.

That desk be­longed to the boss’s son. JOE RYAN, RD JULY 1976 My brother Dave, a law stu­dent, an­nounced that he had ac­quired a hol­i­day job as a pe­tro­leum trans­fer en­gi­neer. It sounded great – un­til we found that his po­si­tion was at a lo­cal ser­vice sta­tion. CLIFF BOWEN, RD NOVEM­BER 1976

One week­end I de­vel­oped an eye ir­ri­ta­tion, and went to a hos­pi­tal emer­gency depart­ment. Af­ter a doc­tor had ex­am­ined me, a nurse ap­peared hold­ing a nee­dle all set for an in­jec­tion.

“Would you please bare your hip, Sir?” she re­quested.

I com­plied, but asked her why the in­jec­tion was so far re­moved from the af­fected area.

“Sir,” the nurse said with a smile, “this in­jec­tion, like the cost of liv­ing, will rise and get you where it hurts.” RON REID, RD NOVEM­BER 1976 Con­cern had been high in Cal­i­for­nia over the pro­longed

Richard Bas­tow, of the Rin­gling Broth­ers and Bar­num and Bai­ley Cir­cus, says he’d rather work with ele­phants than with cho­rus girls. “Ele­phants are more at­ten­tive, they don’t ar­gue with you and they don’t ex­pect you to take them out to din­ner af­ter the show.” EARL WIL­SON, RD JULY 1976

drought. One sug­ges­tion was pro­vided by a Los An­ge­les pet­store owner who put the fol­low­ing sign in front of a win­dow full of adorable pup­pies: “Save wa­ter. Take home a plate licker.” DAVID DIXON, RD OC­TO­BER 1977

Seek­ing a job in jour­nal­ism, a re­source­ful young man sent news­pa­per ed­i­tors a printed no­tice headlined: ‘I’ve Been on Your Pay­roll for the Last Seven Months!’

He ex­plained that they had been sub­si­dis­ing his un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits through their taxes, and con­cluded: “As long as you’re pay­ing me any­way, I might as well be work­ing for you.”

It worked. A daily news­pa­per hired him. WAL­TER MOSSBERG, RD MAY 1979

1980s

When a new of­fice build­ing was un­der con­struc­tion, work­ers set up bar­ri­cades and warn­ing signs to pro­tect the pub­lic. One day an ar­row-shaped sign ap­peared with the words: PEDES­TRIAN DE­TOUR. Put up by a lo­cal shop­keeper, it pointed straight into his premises. G. PERKINS, RD SEPTEM­BER 1987

My sec­re­tary com­plied with my re­quest to out­line her job. I closed my door one morn­ing and sat back to read her list: “1. Types and files. 2. An­swers phone. 3. Greets vis­i­tors.” The list went on, but it was the last item that stopped me: “Reads minds.” “Glenda…” I yelled. “You know I do.” ROGER BRITT, RD SEPTEM­BER 1982

I am a flight in­struc­tor, and one of my stu­dents was hav­ing great trou­ble land­ing the air­craft. He could not judge how close to the ground he should be be­fore get­ting the plane’s nose up.

Strangely enough, dur­ing our first night-time les­son he did an ex­cel­lent job. On each ap­proach, just when I thought I was go­ing to have to take over, he would pull back on the stick and make a beau­ti­ful land­ing.

I asked him what vis­ual ref­er­ence he was us­ing, since there were few clues in the dark. He told me that he just aimed for the end-of-the-run­way lights. Then he waited un­til I stiff­ened in my seat, where­upon he’d pull back and land. A. PAUL BELL, RD NOVEM­BER 1990

A TV news an­chor­woman claimed that off-cam­era and with­out make-up she wouldn’t be recog­nised. To avoid at­tract­ing at­ten­tion in her neigh­bour­hood, she asked her chil­dren not to tell peo­ple what she does when she is away from home.

One day she over­heard her son re­ply to a ques­tion about her work: “I can’t tell. I just know she gets all dressed up and goes out at night.” MAG­GIE WHITE, RD SEPTEM­BER 1981

My wife and I en­joyed our warm wood-burn­ing stove, but bring­ing the logs up from the garage proved to be too much for we oc­to­ge­nar­i­ans. Re­call­ing that dumb­wait­ers had once been used to con­vey meals from one floor to an­other, we agreed that some­thing like that could eas­ily lift a few chunks of wood. We ran an ad in the lo­cal news­pa­per: “Wanted dumb­waiter – the kind used to trans­port meals from a lower to an up­per floor. Con­di­tion not im­por­tant but must be re­stor­able.”

The re­sult? No dumb­waiter, but three peo­ple called – two re­quest­ing an in­ter­view, and the third to ask if this would be per­ma­nent and what were the wages. PAUL BOHNE, RD JULY 1986 When some new tax laws were passed, my brother, an ac­coun­tant, at­tended a sem­i­nar on them. One man had a ques­tion. “I’m sorry,” he be­gan, “but I’m thor­oughly con­fused.”

“Good,” an­swered the speaker. “That means you’ve been pay­ing at­ten­tion.” DIANE REYNOLDS, RD SEPTEM­BER 1987

An ex­pec­tant fa­ther who works for our bank was wait­ing ner­vously for a call from his wife. She could go into labour at any time, and he was try­ing to con­cen­trate on his job. Our man­ager ap­proached him and asked how his wife was do­ing.

“The trans­ac­tions are now 15 min­utes apart,” he replied. VANY VILA, RD NOVEM­BER 1990

1990s

A woman came into the cloth­ing shop where I work, seek­ing an out­fit to make her look youth­ful for her 40th high school re­u­nion. While she tried on dress af­ter dress, sev­eral school girls came into the fit­ting room with se­lec­tions for their for­mal dance party. “This dress makes me look 40 years old,” one of the girls re­marked. My other cus­tomer poked her head out from her cu­bi­cle and said, “Let me have it. That’s just what I’m look­ing for!” ALICE CARDELLA, RD SEPTEM­BER 1994

A man was sell­ing his home and hired me to re­pair a hole in the wall he had made years ear­lier for ex­tra stor­age. I patched the area and painted it so that there was no sign a hole had ever been there.

That night I got a call from the client thank­ing me for the ex­cel­lent work. Then he asked if I could come back and per­form the same job the next day. He had for­got­ten to tell me that his cat al­ways hid in the stor­age area. ROBERT SID­NEY, RD FE­BRU­ARY 1997

2000s

A friend of mine is a po­lice of­fi­cer in the dog squad. One night, he was dis­patched to the scene of a pos­si­ble bur­glary and dis­cov­ered the back door of a build­ing ajar.

He let the dog out of his car and com­manded it to en­ter and seek.

The dog lunged through the door­way, then froze and backed out. My friend was puz­zled un­til he in­ves­ti­gated fur­ther. Then he no­ticed the sign on the build­ing: ‘Vet­eri­nary surgery.’ EL­IZ­A­BETH BEN­NETT, RD FE­BRU­ARY 2002

Wait­ing for my or­der in a cof­feeshop, I heard one of the work­ers say, “Look, here comes the grand non-fat latte.”

His col­league replied, “Yeah and right be­hind him is a café mocha.”

Each of the cus­tomers or­dered the pre­dicted bev­er­ages, and I was im­pressed that the work­ers knew their cus­tomers’ habits. But I was less sure when I re­alised that one of them had said when I walked in the door: “Here comes the tall drip.” JAMES M. MOR­TON, RD JUNE 2000

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