I’ll Have the Last Laugh


Medium Rare, Please

by Cherri Ellis

The Office- one of the original epic pranks

Of all the qualities a creature can bring to this universe, love is clearly the most important.  Right behind love, however, is a sense of humor.   If you want people to consent to being around you for any length of time, you had better have some semblance of a sense of humor. This is nowhere more important than the workplace.  Family is forever, and you don’t get to choose them. Your friends you get to select, so you are around them by choice. But the co-worker is a category in between:  You don’t get to choose them, but you do spend more time with them than you actually do your own family.

Once I returned to work and unlocked my office to find every single surface covered in small, bright plastic bags left over from some event.  They were overlapping everywhere, like neon kudzu, and covered every square inch of my working area.   The pictures on the shelves and walls were all facing backwards, and my computer and mouse were bubble wrapped.  I started to call one of the edit suites to acknowledge the joke, but my phone had been giftwrapped in Christmas paper.  There were life-size cardboard cutouts of the company mascot holding signs and wearing hats, and my refrigerator had been duct-taped shut, so that when I tried to open it the whole thing tipped toward me.   It was all very funny, and really sweet actually, since I was returning from a tough medical leave.

I cleaned up, and they left me alone to settle at my desk and work in silence for a while, completely unaware that they had cranked the double speakers on my phone system  and changed the ringtone to the two DUN DUNH chords  of Law and Order. They waited long enough for me to find my groove and actually start being productive, and then they dialed me.  When  the sound exploded in the room, I looked like I had been tazed.  I screamed and sort of convulsed, and since my chair was on wheels, the spasm took me all the way across the room into the dry erase board.   I could hear the high fives throughout the production department.    It was good to be back.

I have another friend at work who—every month when this esteemed magazine hits the newsstands—walks to my office waving the issue.  “Oh, sure,” he exclaims loudly, “you talk about everyone, but have you ever mentioned me?  Me, who took notes for you at the meeting you missed?”

I pointed out that he had used the first letter of each line of his notes to spell out a particularly rude sentiment to me, but he went on as if he hadn’t heard. The conversation escalated as the months passed, until he finally was offering an open tab for dinner and drinks at Flemings in exchange for his mention.   It really seemed to bug him that I couldn’t be bought, but he doesn’t understand journalistic integrity.

I know of people in another office who got a co-worker’s password, and when he came back from his vacation he couldn’t get his computer to do anything.  The reason why?   They had digitally hidden all of his icons after taking a screen shot of them, and then made the screenshot his desktop picture.  He clicked and clicked his little mouse off on one program after another, eventually crawling under his desk to check the outlets, at which point people were struggling to contain themselves. Think what that group could accomplish if they applied that level of skill and teamwork to their professional assignments..

I knew my child was funnier than me the day she sent her father a particular text which requires a little background info.  When Chelsea was a senior in high school, her dad was particularly paranoid about her safety.  With her August birthday, she was always the youngest of all her friends and was only 17 years old when she graduated.  It was an interesting year, with her knowing she was headed to college soon, where she could rip and run completely unfettered, and him knowing that according to the Gregorian calendar, she has only been on the planet 17 years, or roughly the age of a really good single-malt scotch.

Whenever she was out with friends that year, he would do his best to track her, but the truth is you don’t know where a teenager who can drive is located unless you are looking dead at them.  So one night he curtly texted her his usual three questions:

“Who are you with?  Where are you? What are you doing?”   She quickly returned his text. “With Bubba and Jamal in an alley in Ensley sippin on a bottle of Patron.”   I howled.  I’m glad she is funny.  It is going to serve her very well in life.

And so, my friends, I beseech you to sail into 2012 on a wave of laughter.  Be ready to work yourself to the bone, but do it with a smile on your face and a twinkle in your eye.   Life is too short to take yourself so seriously.  I promise you, circumstances can change quickly, and whatever it was that you spent last night complaining about could by morning not even make your Top Ten list of irritants.

That will wrap up my sermon, but in closing, I would like to say… Phillip Lozito.  That’s the name of my co-worker/friend who now has to take me to Flemings.  His name is Phillip Lozito, and he’s actually a great guy.  Journalistic integrity?  Who am I kidding?  I will start with a cold glass of Sonoma Cutrer, and leave the wine list with us, please.

2 Responses to “I’ll Have the Last Laugh”

  1. I Love this. You Rock. Email it to me please so I can share it with my co-workers. (I no longer get the magazine) Love you, Miss you…:)

  2. Bruce Mckee says:

    I watch and read and keep up quietly. I am very proud of you and Buz….I read your column so I can stay connected silently because that is what I do. I am going to guess that you are doing better then you think you should. You always bring a smile to my face and for that I will always be grateful. I miss you both but you more because you are prettier then he is. I would have called but I don’t have your number but this is kind of fun. First time talking to a columnist via the WWW so If I spelled something I hope you will clance over it. Thanks so much for the smile you gave me today. me

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