“Throwing Your Brains Out with the Trash”

“Throwing Your Brains Out with the Trash”


CPRForrest McHugh was beaming. Employees filed into the auditorium, greeting each other in hushed tones and friendly handshakes. Once everyone was settled, the stage crew dimmed the house lights and trailed Forrest with a spotlight as he approached the podium.

"Welcome to our first employee meeting in our beautiful new building and high tech auditorium." The sound quality was terrific–no microphone squeals–and everyone was attentive.

"You've all worked hard to help us achieve this success. We are so fortunate to have moved to this sparkling new facility in the northwest sector of the city. It's through your hard work and effort that we've been able to move from the grim, grey factory district to an open environment, surrounded by real trees and real flowering plants. The architects and interior designers have done an outstanding job, and I hope that you are as proud and happy to be here as I am."

The crowed buzzed in agreement, while Forrest paused. "It's because we're all so proud of our new environment that I feel we must talk about maintaining that pride. We had a tendency–myself included–to be somewhat careless in our prior facility. Never careless in our work, mind you, but careless about our surroundings. If coffee spilled, we didn't bother to wipe it up. There was often a trail of popcorn that led from the vending machines to some of your desk areas. Our contract cleaning crew was not very effective, and dust bunnies occasionally hopped about when someone left the door ajar and a strong wind whipped through the main floor. We were all so intense about helping this company grow that we didn't pay much attention to our environment. I guess it was pretty hard to see very well in the dismal setting, so it's not surprising none of us looked very hard. But we've moved uptown now, and I'm sure you'll join me in treating this office as though it were your home. You've earned it and deserve to enjoy it for a long, long time."

Forrest smiled and paused as he panned the audience. "To insure that we continually enjoy our new surroundings, I've hired an excellent cleaning service. But I'm also asking each and every one of you to do your part to help maintain the building. If you see a stray piece of paper on the floor, pitch in and help us keep our company beautiful. I, for one, will make it my business to tour the halls on a regular basis and contribute to this ideal. I appreciate your cooperation. I hope you are as thrilled as I am and will join me and Mayor Clemson, as well as your favorite Channel 8 news personalities, in the dedication ceremonies and ribbon cutting. With that in mind, please adjourn to our cafeteria for the ceremony and refreshments."

The houselights brightened and everyone began their exit. The activities and social period lasted about an hour, and employees returned to their work stations to complete the last hour or so of the day.

Ozzie had always been known as a practical joker. He was overweight, balding, and full of mischief. His favorite hangout was Spencer Gifts, checking out the latest gag that he could pull on his co-workers. Ozzie helped make the three years they worked in the factory district's dismal dungeon somewhat tolerable. So, when he stepped off the elevator clutching his chest and falling to the floor, everyone just laughed and walked over him on their way back to their desk. A few looked back, shaking their heads.

"Ozzie will do anything for a laugh," Larry chuckled, but his smile abruptly changed to horror. "Oh, God, Ozzie is really having a heart attack. He's vomiting and gasping for air." In a flash, he directed Dick, "Quick, get some paper towels, I've got to administer CPR." Then he yelled to Marcy, "Call 911."

Dick was a fairly new employee, who was about nineteen years old, and worked in the mail room. He ran to the restroom while Larry was loosening Ozzie's collar. Ozzie was unconscious by this time, and Larry was listening for breath and a heartbeat. Dick promptly arrived with the paper towels. Larry was working on Ozzie and had his hand extended for the paper towels. Instead of handing the towels to Larry so that he could clear Ozzie's air passage, Dick immediately started cleaning the rug.

"What the hell are you doing, you moron?" Larry screamed as the seconds ticked by and panic was setting in.

"Cleaning the rug. Forrest said we needed to take pride in the building," Dick replied earnestly.

"Jesus Christ, give me the goddamn towels and get the hell out of here!" Larry bellowed and worked feverishly until the paramedics arrived.


Beware of the "literal" order taker! We'd give Dick a score of one hundred for effort and dedication and zero for results. He'd be great in a monotonous job that no one else would do.



Excerpted from Outrageous Conduct: Bizarre Behavior at Work©

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