February 15, 2021 – When things don’t go as planned.

As some of you may know by now, sometimes my big mouth gets me into trouble. I like to refer to it as ‘open mouth, insert foot disease’. If I didn’t have a big brother that also suffers from this ‘condition’, I imagine I’d feel pretty alone in the world; however, because I do, I’m comforted knowing that it isn’t just me getting myself into predicaments since apparently I don’t know how to stop when I’m ahead. There are at least two of us. I’ve mentioned before how I’ve been ‘afflicted’ with this condition since I was very young. My brother (Clover) and I have nearly the same bizarre sense of humor so it’s no wonder he gets into as much trouble as I do because of his oversized orifice. In case you need clarification, I’m referring to the one on his face, the one directly below his nose. Just as I have, he’s had people accuse him of unbelievable things that were completely out of character, but because he often says things that don’t ‘land well’ or he snickers at the wrong time, he tends to become the fall guy.

I thought I’d mention my brother today as a warning. I felt it important to advise you that there are ‘two of us’ out running around, so be on alert! I’m just teasing. I swear, we’re totally harmless! Anyway, I really did want to talk about ‘when things don’t go as planned’. Because I mentioned Ms. Entitled yesterday, I thought to myself, “Why not begin with her?” When I concluded my blog called ‘Entitlement’, I said that after our lively encounter in the office, she stopped coming about two weeks later. What I didn’t mention was that it was totally unexpected, along with sharing all the ‘fun details’ that took place the final day she used our break room and what transpired the following day. The final day she used our break room, which at the time I didn’t realize was her final day, she left me a present. Wasn’t that thoughtful? Well, it’s not what you’re thinking. For her parting gift, she left a thumb tack with the pointy part facing up on the seat of my office chair.

When I discovered what she’d done, it was ‘on’. “This is war!” I announced to my boss. As I said, I didn’t realize she wasn’t coming back, so I put a plan in place to ‘drive her out’ one way or another. All day and all night I thought about what would have the greatest ‘impact’. It didn’t take long to come up with something. “I know, eggs!” I proudly announced to my husband. The scheme didn’t take much prep. I pulled two raw eggs out of the refrigerator and barely cooked them in the microwave before placing them in a Ziploc baggie. The next morning, my intent was to put the baggie containing the undercooked eggs into the microwave (which was located in the break room), cook them for at least 5-10 minutes, and make the room smell so bad that it would be unbearable to stay there for any length of time. Nothing will clear a space quicker than farts or something that smells like farts. I know, it was childish. But this was war!

Per my plan, after notifying my boss that I was getting ready to smell up the break room, I placed the eggs in the microwave and let ‘er rip! I was so proud of my creative plan to drive Ms. Entitled out and I couldn’t wait for her to come over for the first of her three, daily, hour-long ‘visits’. I kept imagining the expression on her face when she walked through the door. And I have to tell you, it stunk to high heaven! It not only stunk up the break room, it stunk up the entire building! That odor clung to everything, and no matter how many windows and doors we cracked open, that ‘funk’ stuck around for the entire day (and then some). Oh! There’s one more thing I should mention while I’m at it. What completely escaped me was that on that particular day, my boss had scheduled several applicants to come into the office and interview for the open warehouse position. That was something I hadn’t factored in when I came up with my ‘grand plan’.

Those poor guys! They all handled it pretty well, but I did feel bad for them. The place smelled like a sewer and an egg salad sandwich got together and had a smelly baby. I kept apologizing and telling them that the office didn’t usually smell ‘this bad’ (while also trying to stifle my laughter) and they seemed pretty understanding. I do wish I could have read their minds though. I am sure they were all questioning whether they really wanted to work for an outfit that stunk like a porta john. Nonetheless, as scheduled, each interviewee showed up at the appointed time and met with my boss to go over their qualifications. Afterward, she walked them through the building as well as the warehouse for a short tour. Who didn’t show up that day? Ms. Entitled! I kid you not!! She didn’t show up that day, or the next, or the next. In fact, she never came back. She didn’t return to use the break room or the toilet.

Was I relieved? You’d better believe it! I was ecstatic! However, once I realized that I stunk up the office for nothing, I was a bit disappointed. I had come up with this ‘ingenious plan’ and it totally backfired. My boss and I and all of the men that came in to interview for the warehouse position were the ones that ‘paid the price’ for my stunt, not the intended target. That place smelled like rotten eggs for days, and it was all for naught! I wish that was the only time I’ve done something that backfired, but it’s not to be. I told you, if it isn’t my actions (remember the Thin Mints and the super glue?), it’s my big mouth that gets me into trouble. Fast forward to my last job, I’ll try and make this quick. I was a receptionist at a senior center. As much as I loved it, there was a lot of ‘dead time’ with nothing to do. After lunch, the place would nearly clear out, so when I wasn’t working on a side project, it left answering the occasional phone call as my only real responsibility.

Monotony and I aren’t friends. I like to add a little ‘flavor’ to the mix now and again to keep things interesting. In my infinite wisdom, I thought it’d be fun to ‘toy’ with the seniors. Let me explain. The president of the board (at the center) and I had a long-running gag. Each time he’d call, when I’d answer the phone, I would change my voice and say one of the following, “You’ve reached Nico’s Pizza, we’ve got a special on a pepperoni pie with extra anchovies. Are you interested?” or “You’ve reached Bob’s Barbershop. Stop on by for a haircut and we’ll throw in a nose hair trim for free,” or “This is Dolores, so-n-so is out of the office today. She may or may not return. Would you like to leave a message?” He always got a kick out of it and we had a lot of fun. Why not try it on others? Seemed like a good idea to me! After some thought, I came up with a new ‘gag’. “I’ll try this on the next caller!” I said to myself.

The next time the phone rang, I was ready. I had even put a script together. When I picked up the receiver, I spoke like an automated machine, “You have reached the such-n-such senior center. We are unable to take your call at this time. If you’d like to leave a message, you will need to call back on Tuesday between 2:24pm and 2:37pm. Thank you and have a nice day.” Once I finished speaking, I sat and waited, the receiver still held to my ear. I was certain that at any second, the lady on the other end of the call would burst out laughing once she realized it was just me trying to liven up the place and we would both then have a good laugh. As I sat and waited, I could hear her talking to her ‘boyfriend’ and repeating what I had said on the phone. It was clear she was confused. When I realized what happened, I interrupted and said, “Hey, it’s me! I was just trying to be funny.” My attempt at humor landed with a loud ‘thud’. She let me know she didn’t find me funny at all.

Sigh. When I thought about it, I realized ‘messing’ with seniors wasn’t such a great idea. With so many ‘factors’ to consider, from questionable hearing to the onset of dementia, it became clear that ‘messing with people’ of an advanced age was actually a terrible idea. There are too many ways things can ‘not go as planned’ and I didn’t want to risk being misunderstood again and have another senior citizen chew me out for my lack of professionalism. I was so disillusioned after that, I never tried it on anyone else (at my workplace). That’s the thing, everyone’s different and not everyone has a sense of humor or has one but doesn’t necessarily ‘get mine’. Does that mean I’ve hung up my whoopie cushion for good? Heck no! I am just a little more careful what I say (or do) and who I say (or do) it to. Before I dive in, I test the waters first.

Before I whip out a ‘rubber chicken’ or a ‘can of snakes’, I try (not always successfully) to make sure I’m not diving into the shallow end because when I have in the past, it usually hasn’t ended well (especially when I attempt the ‘high dive’). Hey, what can I say? At least, I am trying! Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. I love to write and I try to infuse humor into everything I do, especially when I write. And I hope I was able to make you smile, especially if you had a really crappy day. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

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