All in a Day’s Work
HUMOUR ON THE JOB
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
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
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
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