The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

February 20, 2007



Get that report in on time. The guy in the next cubicle's a jerk and you're waging war with him for the same promotion. The woman down the hall does nothing but yap, yap, yap all day about her husband.

In this dog-eat-dog workday world, we need to lighten up. We need a chance to surface for air. We need, just a bit, to laugh.

There are many things people do to bring laughter into their workplaces, or at least some sort of diversion. They talk at the water cooler. They go to the bathroom as often as possible.

They line their office areas with things from home, or posters, pictures of their kids, their mates; they dress up from time to time for special occasions, they wear jeans on Fridays...

Seeing as I work in sports at my paper -- everyone else calls it the toy department -- what I've taken to doing lately, especially with it being -99 C outside, is truly bringing sports into the newsroom.
I have a little plush football sitting in one of my 300 freebie coffee cups on my desk, which all are filled with the 800 freebie pens and pencils I never use from the 3,000 news conferences I've attended this year.
People from the city news department, from the editing department, from the business department, from the entertainment/lifestyles department, pass by my department every day.
Of course, I always tease as many people as I can find who'll take it with a smile and tease me back. I admit that females, generally, are my favourite target...and usually are the best teaser-backers.
What I've taken to doing recently is picking up that plush football, standing up, calling out the passerby's name, pretending to take the snap from centre, fading back and saying, "(Name here), GO LONG!"
(Of course I do look around to make sure the publisher or editor-in-chief is not watching).
And the reactions from those writers/editors vary. Such as:
City Desk Editor Larry:
Larry: (Smiles beneath unkempt beard). "I'm too busy." But he puts his hands up anyway...and usually drops my pass. He's a huge Red Sox fan. I tell him we won't be putting any baseball stories in the paper because of that...
News Reporter Lindsey:
Lindsey: "What does that mean? OH!!!" She drops her water bottle in one hand and papers out of the other to try to catch my pass. She drops the ball. She tries to throw it back..."like a girl."
News Reporter Jen:
Me: "JEN, you're so hot!" No, not really...
Me: "JEN!!! GO LONG!!!"
Jen: "You're hot too!" No, not really...
Jen: Sneezes like a little mouse, turns around, opens arms...catches ball in unmentionable but beautiful area in workplace, turns red, shows some athletic ability in throwing ball back. Has boyfriend. Is 30 years younger. Sigh.
News assistant Diane:
Diane: "I'M GOING LONG!!!" Dares me to throw ball over two reporters conducting interviews on phone, across newsroom, without hitting ceiling. Risky. Gives me evil eye as I contemplate risk.
Me, Silently, so as not to disturb others: WIFFFFFFF! Football hits her right between eyes. She laughs in her Betty Rubble way. Other women in her section giggle. Book editor Morley harumphs.
Business Reporter Geoff:
Me: "GEOFF!!! GO LONG!!!"
Geoff: "Screw off!!!" Whips his own football back at me. Knocks boss's ceramic curling stone off ledge, almost breaking it.
News assistant Linda:
Linda: "NO!!!!" She raises hands. Mutters lame excuse that she's got some typing syndrome (which is true, but she's game, so what the heck, she's smiling). She drops ball. Comes up to me, whips it at me full-speed. Gets me.
What kinds of things do you or others do at YOUR workplace to bring levity to the workday?


  1. Just looking at my face is enough for my colleagues to crack up.

  2. Good morning, sunshine. I hope you feel refreshed and rejuvinated after that long rest.

    My workspace is one of three cubicles in a closed office space. My two roomies and I tend to huddle in one of our cubicles (always alternating, of course) and gossip or chit chat about anything under the sun. It hasn't been happening much lately because the three of us are overloaded with work right now. I've also played the occasional game of Freecell during times when I need a quick shift of focus.

    When I used to bring Rainbow with me, I'd walk him around the office and take him outside for a few minutes whenever I needed a little break. Sadly I won't be bringing him to the office throughout the rest of the winter. He pulls too hard and the risk of me falling again are too high.

  3. ww, i tell myself jokes and they are so funny i can't stop laughing. then i have coffee, then attend to personal business, then write my 'to-do' list, then it's lunchtime, and the afternoon starts with another round of jokes...

  4. MJ:

    You're just being shy...I've seen that face, though nobody else has...


    Three days! That's all it was! Not even a rest at all!

    Freecell? I'm reporting you...

    Sounds to me like that's one heck of a good place to work. They let you bring Rainbow in?



    Dat's da ting about working by yourself, I guess, but it sounds fascinating and if you can entertain yourself, all the more so.

    Where do you get those jokes though...

  5. Laurie:

    Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' bout! Poor Larry. Is he the only male in an all-female office?

    Pity...poor victim...

  6. I read your blog.

    I also go and visit the guy who used to be my boss, and complain about the guy who is now my boss! Fortunately almost everybody agrees that he's a tosser, so I'm not alone in complaining.

    Sometimes I do cryptic crosswords. I love the fact that nobody else here understands them.

  7. Actually Larry isn't the only male in the office, but he's pretty shy, so he makes a good target. And he's at a loss to figure out how to retaliate, which makes it even better! ;-)

  8. I'm afraid we're not much into games like that though it would be really cool. What keeps it light in the workplace is the way we trade insults and sarcastic remarks throughout the day.

    I'm lucky to have a boss who is so much fun to work with. Witness one of our normal conversations:

    B - We've been asked to create a promotions board to facilitate executive promotions.
    Me- ok, I'll come up with a structure. We need to come up with criteria.
    B- Yup, that's right.
    Me - How about Looks?
    B- yeah, we need that. Fashion sense?
    Me- Oh yeah, that's important even for men. Whoa, we need audience impact.
    B- OMG, that's perfect!

    See what I mean?

  9. Interesting and funny : what you do, how people react, how you describe it (well written).

  10. Slacker!
    You could be writing an expose on the mirage of Barry Bond's quest for the Hall of Fame or a comparison of Gretzky and the New Kid On The Block..or how dirty Gordie Howe was..or a story on Domi and Belinda and which position she preferred..or how prevelent LSD is in Curling or why Winnipeg will NEVER get an NHL franchise or why we will always be stuck with such a low level Baseball League or why the sky is blue or why the elbow patches are loose on your mandatory brown corduroy Sports department jacket or who put the Bop in the Bop Shoo Bop Doo Wop or why you took three days off...


  11. Good to see the mental vacation has done you some good:)

    We have dress up days, free barbeques, and casual friday fairly subdued though... WE have to be profession as we wrok with money...

    Thats is why a semi goth, with purple hair, and 300 lewd stories fits really well here.

  12. Stace:

    You read my blog...AT WORK? Gad, woman! That's a flagrant abuse of employee time and a dismissible offence?

    Oh...yeah, I sometimes do it too...

    That's got to be one of the most common fun things to do at work, complain about the boss.

    I do it, all the time. And I kinda like that term, "tosser." It's Aussie only, seems to me.

    Love the cryptic crosswords diversion...


    Poor, poor Larry...the perfect target. Women can be so cruel...he needs to tease you back, that's the answer.

    Women don't know how to take teasing...I know because I once conducted a poll/contest.


    You got it, girl! What could beat insults and sarcasm?

    Sounds to me like your boss is like any boss...let others come up with the ideas, and then they just take the credit!!!




    I like the story on Belinda. But do you think there'd be a market for a piece on my courduroy jacket I never wear?

    And when did I take three days off?

    That other stuff? Been there, done that...


    Actually, mate, I was coerced into doing another post so I had to be entirely silly.

    In other words, I'm not sure I really had a mental vacation, just vacuousness.

    So you work with money...that explains why you always post about physics and numbers...

  13. My breaks at work is all abt working...and work is all abt blogging. LOL!


  14. My work is in the home -so for levity???-....ummmmmm....get on the computer :).

  15. I just noticed that there isn't any music. Where's the music? Did HE nag you into removing it?

  16. Anna:

    Goofball is over here right now and no, he doesn't like music on others' blogs.

    I tell him to screw off.

    He's saying he doesn't like "dorky" music. He thinks he's Wolfman Jack or something.

    I'll have music back on my blog tomorrow...

    He says he likes your music, but he turns it off anyway...because he can't do two things at once.

    We're considering starting a new "joint blog" called WHEW! What do you think?

  17. Wolfman Jack - Ha! Now there's a blast from the past. I actually remember him!

    WHEW... kinda like WHAM! It's the first thing that came to mind. So which one of you enjoys... ummm... strolls in the park?

    I'm generally not very fond of group blogs, but I (along with hundreds of others) would read WHEW religiously if it belonged to just the two of you. I just wouldn't want your individual blogs to disappear. I like reading you separately and I think WHEW would have a totally different dynamic.

    So did the tit mug come out last night? Do we get to see more pictures?

  18. Anna:


    (Scratches head about reference to walk in the park, realizes he's pop-culture ignorant).

    No, WHEW (I assume you get the acronym) went over like a lead balloon.

    HE mentioned something about something. Whatever. I think it's dead. It was never alive.

    Besides that, I can barely keep up with my own blog, and have hardly been visiting others, let alone start up a second one.

    Besides, HE and I would probably kill each other by Week 2.

    The tit mug did not come out. All HE wanted to do was play on the computer.

  19. I love this song by Gordon Lightfoot.

  20. No comment...just that Gordon Lightfoot makes me melt. That James Blunt guy can take lessons from him about singing "beautiful" songs.

  21. Laurie and Ms. Val:

    Well, you both probably know he's Canajun.

    One of our folk heroes and most beautiful poets/songwriters ever, he almost died in the last cuppla years after long bouts of alcoholism and who knows what else.

    I put him on a par with great Americans like Jim Croce and Harry Chapin.

    Personally, my fave Canajuns are Bruce Cockburn, kd lang and Jann Arden.

  22. As you are aware my work place consists of my classrooms. I try to bring cheer to my students by making maths as interesting as possible. I do not succeed at times. But I never give up.


  23. I listen to progressive political talk radio all day, and from time to time I yell out, "Asshole!" or "Liar!" and my co-workers like to tease me. Yesterday it was "Dumbass!" to a comment, and I got laughing admonishments from two co-workers. It lightens the mood since we're all working pretty hard, mostly!

    Last year a co-worker of mine ran into a gas truck and caused a serious traffic delay and made it into the news because of the petrol all over the place. When he returned to work I had set out toy trucks and yellow tape on his desk, re-enacting the accident in detail. That was priceless. ;)

    I got hit with the truck.

  24. Gautami:

    You're a peach! I so admire teachers, they have so much impact on who our kids grow up to be.

    What age of children do you teach? I was terrible in math...and the class joker.

    While the rest of work with adults for the most part, your workplace is dealing with kids.

    I think it's great for you to admit that sometimes you don't always succeed in making it interesting for them.

    The big thing is that you never give up.



    I think I'd have to be watchin' out for you in the workplace, girl.

    I can see us waging a constant war of giggles and skullduggery that would keep things light...

    This poor guy...sounds like you got him, but good...


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