LET'S FACE IT...
WORKPLACES CAN SOMETIMES BE TEDIOUS.
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:
Me: "LARRY! GO LONG!!!"
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:
Me: "LINDSEY! GO LONG!!!"
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:
Me: LINDA! GO LONG!!!
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?