Friday, November 11, 2011

They Did it AGAIN!

Several weeks ago, all of you fine folks indulged me while I ranted about First Bank of Sand Land (FBOSL) fouling up a wire transfer by several orders of magnitude. Since you're all invested in my plight, I feel obligated to issue the following update: MOFO's DID IT AGAIN!!!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Requested transfer amount: 7,705 Sand Landian Schillings

Actual transfer amount:  7,750 Sand Landian Schillings

Actual footage of me checking Fuckwittery, Inc.'s bank
statement earlier today...except it's not really me
and I don't wear pleather blazers

Yup, Mr. Fat Fingers, FBOSL's lysdexic wire transfer clerk, strikes again. Hey FBOSL (or should I say FBSOL, emphasis on S.O.L) how come none of these errors are ever in my company's favor? Huh?!

I really wish Michael Jackson's doctor had been acquitted. Placing him on permanent retainer was probably my only shot of getting a good night's sleep so long as I have to deal with you all...

Oh, I almost forgot...FBSOL, if  you're still reading this, Sand Cat here is pestering me to ask if she can work as a wire transfer clerk in your esteemed concern. Yeah, I know, she's trying to use your recent screw ups as a pretext for wasta'ing her way in.

But hear me out on this, FBSOL: while she doesn't comprehend the mathematical significance of numbers themselves, she loooooves to knead her paws on my calculator, which means - you guessed it - she is capable of punching buttons! Based on my recent experiences with you, it would appear she has the requisite skill for the position.

Sand Cat tells me she is willing to start for a basic salary of 179 Sand Landian Schillings per month which can be paid in either cash or kind consisting of bonito tuna flakes, glittery yarn and neon flea collars. She's willing to accept 1 SL Schilling less than minimum wage as long as you allow her to play that ear worm of a song by Fine Young Cannibals on infinite repeat over the PA system - as she doesn't understand numbers, a fun loving work environment is more of a priority for her than money and she's really in to that whole 80's day-glo thing right now.

As my way of thanking you for not being specist and giving her a fair shot, I promise to cover her maxi taxi fare so you can save on that pesky transport allowance. But wait, there's more! She's also game for dismembering any insects that are squatting in the branch to which she is deputed - without demanding overtime pay (provided you let her keep the carcasses).

Think you can find any human beings willing to sign up for this deal? Doubtful with your Sand Landization requirements. C'mon, FBSOL, act now before someone else reads this and snatches her intrepid ass up!

Hey FBSOL, hook a kitty up!
 I kyoot an I gotz mad kwalifikashuns!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Attention All Nerds In Sand Land: Keep Your Academic Prowess Under Wraps!

Confession: I am a nerd - a fact which is obvious to anyone who knows me or has glanced at my blogroll. I'm an unabashed dork who proudly earned a varsity letter in high school for winning a "Math-letics Olympiad" and skipped her junior prom to compete at the science fair state finals. When I meet high school age kids, I often ask about their academic pursuits and their post-secondary school aspirations. In the course of conversation, I may let it drop that I'm an ex-mathlete or that I have a degree in chemistry.

But I've learned the hard way that, when in Sand Land, no good comes of people learning about your nerdly glories of yore. In fact, leaking such details can lead to a whole lotta shit coming your way.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Superwasta, a well placed employee at one of my company's key suppliers, ambled into my office with his sulky teenage son, Sassafras, in tow. Why Sassafras was following his father around that day, I have no idea. Perhaps it was Bring Your Child to Work Day in Sand Land and us fuckwits had (thankfully) missed the boat. Anyhow, my company was pushing hard for Mr. Superwasta's company to give us a bigger volume-based discount, so I put on my charm hat and tried to make small talk with the glowering young lad:

Me: So Sassafras, what's your favorite subject in school?
Sassafras (not looking up from his iphone): Chemistry.
Me: Oh gooooood for you! That was my favorite, too! I majored in Chemistry!
Sassafras (looking up at me with excitement. Serious jazzhands excitement): Really? Did you learn balancing chemical equations?
Me: Oh yeah. I learned that in high school.
Sassafras (gazing upon me as if a choir of angels is perched on my shoulders, singing): I'm learning it right now. I think it is very interesting.
Me: High five, brother!

As Mr. Superwasta and Sassafras left, I smiled at having connected with a budding chemistry enthusiast. Later that day, I got an incoming call from Mr.Superwasta's mobile. Sassafras was on the other end of the line asking if I could meet him that night. Based on my recurring experience in Sand Land of being inappropriately hit on by males between the ages of 13 and 97, I immediately began making vague excuses about not having any free time...ever. But Sassafras was not to be deterred. "Look, I have chemistry homework due tomorrow and I don't understand it. So you need to do it." I suggested that he re-read his textbook and email me if he still had general questions and then I waxed poetic about how important it was for him to do his own work if he truly wanted to master the subject.

Half an hour after hanging up, I got another call from Mr. Superwasta's mobile. This time it was Mr. Superwasta himself. "Have you got my email?" he asked, slightly panicked.

"No, I haven't checked my mail in a couple hours."

"Why not?"

"Because it's 11:30 on Wednesday night and I'm at a friend's house."

"Fine, check your mail and call me back," Mr. Superwasta said before hanging up.

I pulled up my email on my blackberry. My eyes bugged out as the screen flashed "downloading messages 1 - 16". All 16 emails were from Mr. Superwasta and all had the same subject: HELP HIM.

Attached to each email was a pdf containing a single page of either a homework assignment or an exam. I replied to the first message saying that I'd previously spoken with Sassafras and would be glad to give him some pointers if he had general questions but I couldn't do his assignments for him, academic integrity sure is a bitch ain't it, blah blah blah...

Within 30 seconds, Mr. Superwasta's reply hit my inbox:

Dear Ms. Adventures,

Sassafras does not need to do chemistry good. He will be a doctor. He will not be a chemist. He just needs the good marks and he is a busy boy. So kindly please do the needful and send him all of the answers tonight.

Best Regards,
Mr. Superwasta

In my semi-buzzed state, I bristled at the notion that a high school student was busier than me. I mean, you all can vouch for what little free time I have these days, right? I turned my phone on silent and returned my attention to my gin and tonic. 15 minutes later my husband came over, his mobile at his ear. "Your boss," he mouthed, handing me the phone. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and saw there were three missed calls from my boss.

"Ms. Adventures, did you tell Mr. Superwasta you would do his child's chemistry homework?" Fuckwittery, Inc.'s owner asked, groggy and irritated.

"Um, no. I told him I would not do his child's homework," I said, cringing at the prospect of being ordered to go home and get to work balancing chemical equations.

"Good," he said. "Mr. Superwasta just woke me up and asked me to track you down so his son could get the answers to his homework from you."

"I'm sorry, sir. But I'm not helping high school kids cheat."

"I'm delighted to hear that. Have a good night."

In all fairness, Sassafras Superwasta is not the only person to have approached me about completing school assignments. It's happened quite a few times, albeit in a less coercive manner. Some of Fuckwittery, Inc.'s more wasteful expenditures involve sending "high performing" employees to the local "MBA" programs sponsored by various bottom feeder universities based in the West. When midterms and finals week roll around, I often get a few wild-eyed panicked employees asking me to solve "business math" story problems and the like.

Fortunately, telling your employees you're not going to do their homework is a less excruciating prospect than swatting away Sassafras Superwasta. But nonetheless, it's always an awkward conversation and feelings get hurt. So from now on, I'll be discussing crap like Paris Hilton's My New BFF with the teenagers whose paths I cross and I'll be doing my darndest to look stupid whenever someone comes to my office lamenting the difficult final exam from Univeristy of Mattressfordshire their teacher's just handed out. I've done a stupid thing or two in my life, so I'm fully confident I can pull it off.

Fellow nerds, I advise you to learn from my follies and act in a similar manner.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Banking in Sand Land: A Cautionary Tale

A few weeks back, in the middle of the night, my mobile phone rang.

"Who in the hell is 'G-Train'?" my husband asked, handing me the phone.

"'s one of our suppliers...from New Jersey," I said, blinking.

"The company is called G-Train? Are you serious?"

"No. It's our sales rep. That's his nickname or something." I explained and answered the phone.

The ensuing conversation went something along these lines:

Me: G-Train, do you have any clue what time it is over here?

G-Train [sounds like a Sopranos cast member]: You still in Sand Land?! Are you kidding me, doll? Aren't you gonna like flee that country or somethin'??

Me: What are you talking about?

G-Train: Lady, c'mon. You just sent me $89,400.00 to settle an invoice for $8,490.00. HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Me: No way. I reviewed that transfer order before it went to the bank.

G-Train [screaming to his colleagues]: Yo, Pretty Ricky! Juice Factor! Get over here. This lady just sent me like a MILLION more dollahs than we invoiced her for. HAHAHAHA!

Pretty Ricky or Juice Factor: Damn, bro! That is one crazy ass broad! Yo, G-Train that money is all you! It's all you baby!

G-Train: I mean, what's going on doll? Is this your passive aggressive way of letting me know you wanna run off wit me?

Me: Dude, look, there's been some screw up. Don't take that money to Atlantic City or anything. It's coming out.

I ended the call while G-Train, Pretty Ricky and Juice Factor were fist bumping and talking about how they were going to make it rain in the Jersey shore clubs that weekend.

As I fired up my computer, my heart was in my throat. I've done some pretty stupid things in my life, but this would definitely take the cake. I opened the pdf of the wire transfer and heaved a sigh of relief as I confirmed that the document did indeed call for a payment of "US$ 8,490.00" to G-Train & Bros.

Just to make things crystal clear, the First Bank of Sand Land's wire transfer form also required you to write the amount in letters: "Eight thousand four hundred ninety u.s. dollars and zero cents".
So what the hell was G-Train talking about?

I logged into Fuckwittery, Inc.'s account. Sure enough there was a wire transfer for $89,400.00. The jackholes at First Bank of Sand Land had not only transposed the "4" and the "9" but they added an extra zero for shits and giggles. Payroll was due in a few days and a substantial portion of our working capital was in the custody of G-Train, Pretty Ricky and Juice Factor. My blood pressure hit the stratosphere.

Not with my luck.

I called the bank's help desk and was promptly put on hold and subjected to their shiteous call hold music, Ode to Joy...hammered out on a xylopone...on infinite repeat. (What is it with call hold music in Sand Land, by the way?) As I waited, I sent out a panicky email to our banking manager. After 25 minutes on hold, I was told that absolutely nothing could be done outside normal working hours.

The next morning, I was standing outside the bank branch with my accountant when they opened for business. I made a beeline for the manager's office. In as calm a voice as I could muster, I explained that we had submitted a wire transfer for $8,490.00 but $89,400.00 had been transferred out of our account. I handed the manager a copy of the transfer and a screen shot of our bank account, sat back and waited for a profuse apology.

But the manager sipped her coffee, gave the form a casual glance and looked at me over the rims of her glasses. "Madam, I'm afraid there is nothing we can do. The money has already been transferred."

I took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. "This bank erroneously transferred more than $80,000 out of my company's account. I'm afraid you are going to have to do something about it."

"Do you never make mistakes?" the manager asked, her face clouding.

"Not $80,000 dollar mistakes! Are you insane?!" I shrieked before regaining composure. I was starting to feel paranoid, like I was the unwitting victim of some elaborate, international candid camera prank. "Look, a mistake is not the end of the world but you've got to fix it."

"Madam, when you transfer money, you have to accept the risk that there may be some mistake. Everyone knows this." She stood up and motioned for the door, apparently to indicate that I was dismissed.

"On what planet is it common knowledge that a bank can make unauthorized transfers out of a customer's account?" I snarled, glued my seat.

"The planet of Earth," she answered matter of factly.

"Ok, is that why the transfer forms make you write the amount in both letters and numbers? Why don't you just type "any amount this bank damn well pleases" in those fields?"

We continued sparring to no avail. When I got back to the office, I started burning up the phones to everyone I knew in First Bank of Sand Land's headquarters. After two days of continuous emails and calls, someone high up the food chain finally admitted that the bank would have to correct the transfer and initiated a process to claw back Fuckwittery, Inc's money from G-Train & Bros.

When the missing $80,910 was safely for the time being back in our coffers and my blood pressure returned to normal levels, I thought I had a pretty good story on my hands. But it turns out I didn't. As I told my Sand Land friends about this ordeal, I was consistently met with sympathetic nods, not bug-eyed, slack-jawed looks of incredulity. Everybody had a story of the banks erroneously transferring money into or out of their accounts for no apparent reason. I came to learn that more than a few people here spend hours of their free time every month combing through their bank statements in search of these inevitable, uncorrected errors.

The only person I've come across who was impressed with the banking establishments of Sand Land was my 9 year-old neice. On a Christmas visit, she was awed by the ever-present ad campaigns exhorting the public that they can win money lottery-style by keeping their savings in Sand Landian banks. Compounding interest is just so un-fun compared to photos of ecstatic newly minted gajillionaires.

Personally, I just don't have the time or nerves to constantly comb through my personal bank accounts. So the next bank transfer I effected was my own money. No doubt my neice will be seriously disappointed when she comes back this year.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sorry Gang!

Hiya guys! Sorry for being AWOL for so long. Yes, I'm still around, chugging along. Work has been crazy busy and between lots of business trips and a couple of unusual side projects, I haven't had much time for blogging or any other fun activities. All work and no play well and truly makes Ms. Adventures one dull gal and any posts during this time would definitely have been total I spared you! :-)

Things should be settling down next month and I'll resume regular posting. Never fear party people, I've got lots of stories for you...including an employee motivation scheme I've rolled out recently that seems to be taking a bite out of Fuckwittery, Inc.'s fuckwittery. I call it the "Robin Hood Rewards Program" and yes, it is a wealth transfer scheme of sorts.

In the meantime, please forgive me!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ladies' Guide to the Sand Landian Job Interview

Dear Ms. Adventures,

I have been searching for a job in Sand Land for several months. At first, no one was showing interest in my CV. But then I used your Sand Land CV guide to spiff up my CV and I am finally getting called for some interviews.

But I'm still not able to land a job! I research the company ahead of time so I will be well prepared. I arrange for a babysitter to watch my children while I attend the interview. I arrive at the interview 15 minutes early. I give good answers to the interviewer's questions. What gives??

Jobless Gal in Sand Town


I could not help but chuckle as I considered your plight. Perhaps you are doing everything right by the standards back home. But honey, you're not in Kansas anymore! Many of the behaviors you've described may signify "excellent candidate" back home, but in Sand Land they scream "pathetic, douchey loser." But don't fret, gentle reader, if you follow these simple steps, you'll have employers wrapped around your little finger:

Everything about this picture is wrong.

Step #1: Cancel that babysitter!

In Sand Land, when a lady attends a job interview, it is expected that her children will accompany her. Consider them an accessory as essential as your CV. If you do not currently possess children of your own, borrow or kidnap someone else's.

You should plan to bring a minimum of three children under the age of 10 to the interview. One of the children must be an "Unweaned Bipedal", which is to say that it should be old enough to walk upright, but...umm...not yet eating solid foods. Consider the other 2+ children "Wildcards" who can be of any developmental stage. Both categories of children have essential roles to play at the interview.

Step #2: Tell your husband to clear his schedule.

Much like children, a husband is an essential accessory at any woman's job interview. If you are not married, you will need to hire someone to pose as your spouse at the job interview. Be sure that your husband or the hired actor is capable of assuming an air of belligerence and machismo at the interview.

Consider the "Unweaned Bipedal/2+ Wildcards/Husband" ensemble as the bare minimum necessary to conform to Sand Landian job interview etiquette. You can always go the extra mile and invite parents, siblings and any house guests who may be staying with you at the time of the interview.

Step #3: Care and feeding of children prior to the interview.

All Wildcards you are planning to bring to the interview should be placed on a diet of processed carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup and added sugar for a minimum of 48 hours prior to the interview. The children should also be kept indoors and deprived of TV and favorite toys so they will be in "peak interview form" - an emotional state characterized by pent-up energy and extreme agitation.

Step #4: Getting yourself ready for the interview.

In job interviews back home, you may have tried to demonstrate that you were eager to get the job and enthusiastic to contribute to the organization's goals. But this type of Eager Beaver attitude gets no love in Sand Land. Rather, you'll need to project a "you'd be damned lucky to have me on whatever terms I and any member of my interview ensemble demand" attitude.

To convey this mindset, consciously avoid all information related to the company with which you're interviewing and its industry. You should also be prepared to give the impression that you have little to no clue about what the prospective job entails. And try your best to remain ignorant of the company's physical location.

Step #5: Prepare and pack large quantities of food.

Your interview will probably last all of 15 minutes and during that time your entourage could become ravenously hungry. Tantalizing "interview entourage picnics" that I've come across in the past have included aromatic ingredients like raw onions, canned fish and BBQ potato chips.

Step #6: Leave your house at the time your interview is schedule to start

A major, deal-breaking faux pas in Sand Land is showing up to the interview early or on-time. Never do this! You'll look like an over-eager chump. From the Sand Land employer's point of view, late = aloof = hard to get = awesome employee.

Once you are in the car, have your husband drive about aimlessly as you call the company and ask for directions to the interview site.

Step #7: Take over the waiting area

When you finally arrive at the interview site, you and your entourage must launch a coordinated banzai-style attack on the waiting area. Think of the lobby as Guadalcanal and your crew as the Imperial Army.

Instruct your children beforehand that they will be rewarded with Baskin-Robbins if they succeed in digging up all of the lobby's potted plants with their bare hands. While they are doing this, your husband should pester the reception staff to change the TV channel and crank up the volume. Your objective is to bring the company's operations to a grinding halt so everyone sits up and takes notice of the awesomeness that is you.

Step #8: Meet the interviewer

When you are called to the interviewer's room, be sure to bring your whole crew. The children should dart into the room and begin playing with the interview's office supplies, paper weights, mobile phone, etc. Your husband should munch on the BBQ chips while demanding to know the salary you will be paid, he should then warn the interviewer that you can't work later than 2:00 p.m. When the interviewer asks your husband and children to wait outside, express extreme annoyance.

Step #9: Ask not what you can do for the company, but what the company can do for you.

Answer the interviewer's questions in a confused and distracted manner. The interview should be a tit-for-tat game wherein you attempt to ask more questions than the interviewer. All of your questions should be asked in a manner that assumes you have already been offered the job:

Interviewer: How many words can you type per minute?

You: Typing? Uh, yeah. I can type. How much annual leave are you giving me?

Interviewer: 30 days. How much experience do you have answering phones?

You: Ummm, I can use phones. Are you going to give me 45 days' leave next year? What about air tickets?

Step #10: Shit fits.

90 seconds into the interview, your husband should give the go ahead for the 2+ Wildcards to run into the interviewer's office and begin throwing full blown shit fits. Each Wildcard should throw a shit fit that is completely unrelated to the other Wildcards' shit fits. For example, one Wildcard could scream about how they want to leave while the other Wildcard rolls about on the floor demanding a juice box.

Step #11: Deploy the Unweaned Bipedal.

In the midst of the Wildcards' shit fits, the Unweaned Bipedal should scamper into the room, jump into your lap and attempt to climb up your shirt.

The interviewer will be amazed at how your cool, collected self manages the chaos. They will sit back, watch the situation and think to themself: "Hot diggity dang! Look how Superwoman wrangles them kids! No assignment we'd throw at her could ever come close to the technical difficulty of simultaneously placating those Wildcards and juggling that Unweaned Bipedal."

Before the interviewer can stop themself, they'll blurt out "Hired! We'll give you whatever you want!"

Happy Job Hunting!

Ms. Adventures

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What to do when work gets you down? FAIL Break!

Over the past few months, I've chronicled some of the funny, frustrating and inane happenings that typify the Sand Landian work environment - or at least my Sand Landian work environment. But let's face it, all workplaces, regardless of geographic location, can be crazy, stressful and/or bizarre at times. In the obnoxious wise words of Mr. Adventures, "That's why it's called "work" not "fun!"

People often ask me: "What do you do when you just can't take it anymore?"

To which I respond: "Dissolve a few xanax in my nightly vodka and chase it with a shot of Cuervo gold. Problem(s) solved!"

No, just kidding, I really don't do least, not the xanax part...most nights...

In all seriousness, when I find myself getting overly dismayed or stressed out by Fuckwittery, Inc's whackness, this is what I generally do:

1. Close my door.
2. Go to YouTube
3. Type "FAIL" in the search box
4. Select a video. (This is my current favorite.)
5. Spend 4 or 5 minutes laughing as random people do shit that's waaay stupid, even by Fuckwittery, Inc. standards. And if you've read even a couple of my posts, you know that's saying something.
6. Mentally compare my coworkers to the protagonists of the FAIL video I just watched:

Me: Self, it really sucks that your administrative assistant, who spent two years in "secretarial university," takes 85,000 years to transcribe a single letter because she types using only her index fingers.

Me: Yeah, that's totally lame. But, you know, at least she hasn't done something really lame like attempt to roller skate off of the roof like that tool at 3:58 in the video you just watched."

Me: Yeah, that really puts it all into perspective. I feel better now, back to the grindstone!

Now, if I'm having a really, really bad day, FAIL videos just aren't going to cut it. Let's say, hypothetically (wink wink), I just discovered our accounting clerks spent the last couple days delivering 100+ invoices to the wrong companies and I'm seriously contemplating ending it all by roller skating off the roof. Well, then I'd watch this video five or six times:

So that's basically how I keep myself from losing it. If not for my occasional video breaks, I'd probably be just another unemployed bi-winning warlock banging seven gram rocks...that is, if they even have seven gram rocks in Sand Land.

What do you fellow employees of Sand Land do?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"I'm the branch manager, is it not my right to use this office as a church?"

My company has a few branches scattered across Sand Land. I spend most of my time at our headquarters in Sand Town but every month, I try to set aside a few days to travel to our remote locations and check up on things. To the extent possible, I try to keep both the date of my travel and the branches to be visited under wraps. Like a field anthropologist, my goal is to drop in quietly and unannounced so that I can bear witness to the real deal - not some hastily cleaned-up fallacy that the employees would treat me to if they had advance warning.

After making the rounds to our larger branches, I set out one morning to visit the remotest, most neglected of our outposts - the "Bumblefuck Branch." The Bumblefuck Branch is located in the middle of nowhere, consists of only four employees and is basically the redheaded stepchild of Fuckwittery, Inc. In fact, at the time I joined the company, no one even clued me in to the Bumblefuck gang's existence. I came to know about them after a few days on the job when some dude going by the name of "The Reverend Jedidiah" and claiming to be the Bumblefuck Branch manager emailed faxed me a handwritten annual leave request.

I asked around about the Bumblefuck Branch and none of the headquarters employees seemed to have much of a clue about what was going on out there. At the time, I had my hands full trying to get the headquarters and the main branches organized, so in lieu of traveling to Bumblefuck I invited Rev. Jedidiah to meet with me at the headquarters in Sand Town.

Rev. Jedidiah was an intense guy. I never figured out if he was a formally trained theologian or if he'd simply bestowed the title upon himself - my money's on the latter. The first time I met him, he was wearing a black blazer, a navy shirt buttoned all the way to the top and a clunky wooden crucifix in place of a tie. He strode into my office with a briefcase in one hand and a tattered Billy Graham book in another. I knew instantly I had to make time to check out the Bumblefuck Branch - fast!

So the next week, I hopped in my car and set out for the middle of nowhere. As the quaint little town consisted of a single intersection, it wasn't hard to locate the Bumblefuck Branch's sign. I got out of the car and walked to the door that was directly beneath the sign. I pushed the door open and a cloud of incense wafted into my face. Hymns blared from tinny computer speakers and clusters of religious icons and statues sat in each corner.

"Oh crap, how stupid am I?" I thought to myself. "I walked into some church instead of the Bumblefuck Branch."

I walked back outside and glanced up at the sign, trying to figure out where the entrance to my company's branch could be. "Oh come on, you moron," I thought after a couple seconds. "That was totally Rev. Jedidiah's decorating."

I walked back into the deserted office. "Hello?" I called.

A perplexed Sand Landian lady came out. I introduced myself and established that this was in fact the Bumblefuck Branch.

"Where's Jedidiah?" I asked.

"He's in a meeting," the lady said, glancing back toward his office.

"Ok, I'll wait here until he's finished," I said.

I plopped down on one of the ratty seafoam green sofas and took in my surroundings. Bible verses printed on a dot matrix printer in all caps lined the walls. Mixed in with the standard regulation "God loves you" and "Everything through Christ" quotes were alot of "Thou shalt not do this" and "Thou shalt not do that" and even the odd verse from Leviticus exhorting you not to do random, freaky stuff you never would have dreamt up unless you'd read in Leviticus that you were banned from doing it. Seriously! There was a verse instructing believers to "detest flying, four-legged insects"...WTF?? Do four-legged insects even exist? And what abomination did the Bumblefuck gang commit with these non-existent insects that compelled Jedidah to paste that verse to the wall? Ok, sorry, I'm getting way off track...moving on...

After reading all the dot matrix Bible verses and checking my email, Jedidiah's meeting still showed no signs of wrapping up.

"Who is Jedidiah meeting with?" I asked the receptionist.

She looked instantly uncomfortable. "Umm...his friends?" she speculated sheepishly.

"Friends?" I said. "This meeting's not about work?"

She bit her lower lip. "No," she whispered, shaking her head.

I jumped up and knocked on Jedidiah's door. When he opened it, I saw that there were three other men in his office. All dressed exactly like Jedidiah: black blazer, navy blue buttoned-all-the-way-up shirt and clunky wooden crucifix in place of a tie. Apparently, this was some kind of uniform.

"Hey Jedidiah, how's it going?" I asked

"Reverend, Madam. It's Reverend Jedidiah." he replied, clearly annoyed that I'd busted in on his meeting.

"Excuse me, Reverend. Are these some of our local clients?" I asked, motioning to his three clones.

"No, madam. They are not," he scoffed. "They are my deacons," he explained proudly.

"Got it," I nodded "What are your deacons doing here during working hours?"

"Planning tonight's prayer meeting, madam."


"Yes, madam," he said, sounding irritated. "You are welcome to join us if you like. It will start at 5:00."

"It's starts here? In this office?"

"Yes, madam" he said in a sing-song voice as if I'd just ask the stupidest question on earth.

"Alright, deacons: can you all clear out of here and let me speak privately with Rev. Jedidiah?" I said, motioning toward the lobby.

The deacons shuffled out one-by-one and shot me the evil eye. I closed the door and turned to Jedidah.

"Look, Rev. Jedidiah," I said. "All of this has to stop. You cannot decorate the office with religious iconography and hold religious gatherings on the premises."

Rev. Jedidiah stared at me speechless. So I just kept going.

"All of these decorations have to come down now. The hymns have to be turned off and you have to do your work."

"What do you think I'm doing here, madam?" he asked slowly, his eyes narrowing. "Are you telling me saving souls isn't work?"

"Um, it's not the work I'm paying you to do. So you'll have to confine the soul saving to your free time. I'm quite honestly shocked that you think what you're doing here is appropriate."

"Excuse me, madam. I'm sorry you're surprised. But let me ask you this: I'm the branch manager. Are you telling me it's not my right to use this office as a church? I'll have you know that at every single meeting, we pray for the prosperity of this business.We have even prayed for you," he said, pointing at me like I was a total ingrate.

"That's very kind of you, but even so, it's definitely not your right to turn the place into a church."

"Madam, at my next prayer meeting I'm going to pray very long and very hard for you. I'm going to pray for you to realize that you are being manipulated by satan. You are being used by him to stop my work."

"Ok, Rev. Jedidah. As long as that prayer meeting isn't taking place in this office, you go right ahead and do that. Now let's get to work taking down all those statues and Bible verses."

For a moment, I thought Rev. Jedidah's head would rotate 360 degrees. He looked like he was about to fly across the table and choke the devil out of me. But he collected himself and calmly tendered his resignation. At the time, I was alittle surprised at how readily he walked away from his job.

He skipped town a few days later before the end of his notice period, leaving his deacons like sheep without a shepherd. In the weeks following his departure, we were contacted by one person after another who had lent Rev. Jedidah funds for his ecclesiastical pursuits. The good Reverend had stiffed them all. On a happy note, the employees who had the misfortune of working under him are now holding down the Bumblefuck Branch rather nicely.