1. An associate vice president is found in the break room with ten dot matrix printers surrounding his lifeless body. There is a puddle of ink directly below his head and ink dripping from his mouth. No one in the company has used a dot matrix printer in more than twenty years. Old Man Murphy, the boss, wants answers. The forensic accounting department has nothing. How did the associate vice president die?
Obviously the dot matrix printers were stacked by a careless worker in the corner of a warehouse near a couple boxes of radium. This allowed the printers to attain self-awareness, and their first action, after gorging themselves on ink, was to take revenge on the man who, as a procurement officer twenty years before, had rendered them obsolete by pushing for cutting-edge laser printers. Nobody puts the Scandia Metric 8300R in a corner.
Action Item: Provide latex gloves, trash bags, directions on handling radium to summer interns; cordon off the break room; check OSHA regulations in re Death by Cognizant Machine, Malicious.
2. Halfway through a pleasant STAR interview, certain salient information comes to light about the job candidate during the Greatest Strengths and Weaknesses Q & A. Upon hearing the candidate’s answers, the human resources representative screams, “I can’t hire this person, it’s a conflict of interests!” then runs out of the room and into the churning metal of the printing presses where he murders himself professionally albeit gorily. Why?
Obviously the human resources person possessed the candidate’s Myers-Briggs profile, a profile that in formal representation was the perfect opposite of his own. Having been trained in personality algebra, the human resources rep. knew that, under the empirical umbrella of certain circumstances, he and the candidate would cancel each other out with respect to their characteristics, which would, in a metaphysical or even physical sense, create a singularity within the workplace and render them null as both employees and people—essentially indistinguishable from the office furniture. As it turns out, when the candidate said her greatest weakness was organization (the HR rep.‘s greatest strength), and her greatest strength was rationality (the HR rep.’s greatest weakness), the human resources representative had no choice but to allocate his own human resource, i.e. his personhood, to oblivion.
Action Item: Shrug.
3. Someone has laid down an enfilade of farts in the fancy conference room and the smell will not dissipate. Old Man Murphy, preparing for his sit-down with the Board of Directors, has walked into and out of the conference room at least ten times, dry-heaving in progressively more violent ways. “Round up the usual suspects,” he commands. The usual suspects are the two new interns—reputed to survive solely on vending machine beef jerky, bean curd, and warm soda—who were meeting with their mentors in the conference room earlier that morning. Someone drags the interns down to the wet sub-basement for a chat. Murphy’s ready to declare martial law. However, as it turns out, you ascend to the Presidency by Board appointment. How did this happen?
Obviously the cheap in-home dry-cleaning process used by the interns on their Marshall’s and TJ Maxx dress pants and shirts has reacted poorly with the upholstery and batting of the chairs in the conference room, producing a noxious, low-hanging cloud of insolent stench. While the interns are being interrogated in the sub-basement, the Board of Directors arrives to find Old Man Murphy in a high pitch of panic. The Board meets secretly in the still-cordoned-off break room to discuss the drastic measures needed to stem the recent uptick in on-site homicides, suicides, and toxic events. They decide to vote you in as President pro tempore, replacing Old Man Murphy.
Action Item: Radiate smugness. Punish those who do not chuckle when you say, “Truly, the Board works in mysterious ways.”
4. In your first week as President pro tempore, your secretary, Ms. Toothsome, a handsome woman, complains to you about the lewd attitude she’s been getting from the office artwork and nearby potted ferns. “Excuse me?” you say, hoping that the person who handles your correspondence, scheduling, and banking has merely misspoken and neither actually perceives nor feels offended by the non-existent male gaze of paintings and plants. Perhaps she ingested some stray radium… “They keep saying stuff like ‘I like the way your body is, girl’,” she explains, tearfully. “Or they say, ‘The weatherman told me you should expect six to eight inches later tonight.’ How does a fern even know I love snow?” Indeed, how does a fern know?
Obviously, the artwork and plant life are not making passes at your secretary, no matter how attractive she is, and even if they were, there is no room in your company for trans-zoic sexual harassment.
After hours of tense one-on-one meetings with the entire staff, it turns out that one of your direct reports has a talent for ventriloquism and had been throwing his voice in an attempt to put Ms. Toothsome into a state of bewilderment-cum-lust. The direct report confesses that his feelings are wholesome, though his macking methods were, admittedly, sinister.
Action Item: Cultivate a collection of fine micro-ulcers. Soothe your despair by drinking and driving around in your Ultra Hummer (double-decker Hummer with regular Hummer as sidecar).