Thursday, August 16, 2007

Office Decorum


Love the columns. I was wondering if you had any advice as to how I can appropriately discuss my bowel movements at the office. I understand it's a private matter but sometimes you just need to communicate.

Thanks in advance,

Gerry Wipscott (Craig's brother)
Ft. Wayne, Indiana

At first glance I would presume there is no appropriate way to openly discuss your "business" but perhaps that's an intellectually lazy response. After spending some time thinking about this I've identified the following rules that should guide you on your way.

1. The Warning. A subtle "stick with the first stall" to a co-worker entering the men's room shouldn't be considered crude by anyone in their right mind. I deem this very acceptable discourse
2. Self-affirmation. Congratulating yourself on a job well done shouldn't be limited to your vocation or charitable endeavours. You've worked hard, now enjoy the accolades. The key is to be appropriate. Here's an example:

"Man, that was textbook".

You may want to follow that with a loud clap. As far as the rest of the office knows you could have just made a big sale or re-negotiated favourable terms with your biggest supplier. Getting someone else to congratulate you may be a bit more difficult. The best hopes lie with the office kiss-ass. Try looking in the sales department. He'll instinctively praise you as you're self-congratulatory behaviour will make him think you're important. It'll be funny when you tell him why he's congratulating you.
3. Humour. Again, the key is to identify the aspects of the event that are tastefully humorous not disgusting. Also, don't make any references while still in the men's room. Your audience requires some space between the subject and the jokes as to limit visualization. Try out a couple of these tomorrow morning around 10:45 (that's my usual appointment, yours may differ) and watch your status at the office skyrocket.

"Next time I'll take the doctor's advice and opt for the C-section".
"So that's where I left my keys..."
"I tell you what, I have a newfound respect for Richard Gere"

I hope that helps, Gerry. Hopefully you won't mind the bigger office and extra vacation time.

As a follow-on to yesterday's note, my buddy from Africa never showed. My idealistic image of him has been shattered. If he has been pinched for smuggling blood diamonds I just hope he's taking those jerks at DeBeers and Birks down with him.

All the best and whatever you do, don't look at your investment portfolios today. You'll also want to avoid tall office towers. It could start raining stockbrokers at any moment.

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