Sunday, February 27, 2011

The "Channel Of Clarity"

Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.

                                            ~Mark Twain

While the majority of my career was, wisely, spent with a moderately sized broadcast company, I worked for a McBroadcast company for a little while in a part time capacity to kill time and I had a lot of fun...which is to say that I found myself wishing to be brutally murdered each and every day of my life. 
    I finally decided that I'd had entirely TOO much fun doing meaningful work, such as delivering programming which was immediately tossed out the window like a cigarette butt.  It was a very smooth, self ushered, departure...That is, until I received two letters from the corporate office informing me that I’d been terminated for not coming to work and that I had unclaimed wages.
    The letter stated that they’d been unable to successfully deliver said wages-- triggering a folly of back and forth fruitless communiqués.
   After a high level of frustration and about 73 emails, I decided to employ a helpful and professional tactic to resolve this misunderstanding...I dispatched a business letter.
    This is what several of my friends, family and former colleagues label a recipe for disaster.
    After looking over the emails, I sent the following to the New Orleans Operations Manager. We’ll call this manager…Maury, primarily because that's his name.

To: Maury
From: Jim
Dear Maury,
    I hate to bother you, as I know that you’re busy trying to make your broadcast operation appear local-- even though the majority of your stations are programmed and staffed from 500-plus miles away.
    Sadly, the closest they've been to New Orleans occurred when ordering Cajun Pasta from the TGI Friday's menu in Dallas, Tx.
    By the way, the deep fried Mac -n- Cheese is PURE Heaven.  If TGI Friday's tossed in a hooker in the meal deal, I'd NEVER leave!
    As you know, after retiring, I received two notices from your company in July. It shocked me that the company spent $2.60 on postage as this money could have been used to feed a starving African child for approximately four days.**

**According to Sally Struthers on the "Feed The Children Commercials"

   Your middle manager, who struggles to draft a quarterly “Issues in Responsible Programming” report for the FCC, could have documented feeding a starving kid (or Sally Struthers) as an excellent example as to how your company strives to be a good steward of public airwaves. (At least on paper).
   The first notice indicated that my employment had been terminated-- which wasn’t very helpful at all-- since, in an abundance of common sense, I terminated employment on my own.
    Now that I think about it, your note WAS quite helpful in reminding me that I made a sound and sensible decision indeed; unlike my decision to purchase a "Bowflex Gym." **

**Heretofore known as the world's most expensive coat rack.

    Aside from that.   I found no breaking news in your dispatch-- much     like that of your mid day news/talk radio program.
The note also indicated that my contact information was not up to date and that the company could not reach me as a result.
    As an important reference note, my mailing address and phone number have not changed since my ancestors immigrated to this country 275 years ago.**

**Note: The approximate amount of time it apparently takes to retrieve unpaid wages from your company.

    As far as the mailing address issue is concerned, I did, in fact, briefly contemplate moving to Faluga, Iraq but determined that atmospheric conditions would be much too harsh for a sustainable quality of life-- much like that of your work facility.

The second letter indicated that I'm owed unclaimed wages.

   The “unclaimed wages notice” especially caught my attention as I would deeply love to visit Harrah’s Casino this weekend so that I might toss a few bucks into the slot machine.
    As another important note, should I hit BIG on the “Wild Cherry“ machine, I’ll definitely partake in the scrumptious all you can eat buffet.  Would you care to join me?
    After my unsuccessful resolution to this troubling issue, via 345-thousand emails, I’m now reaching out to you, requesting that you contact me so that we might devise a plan which results in a successful attempt to retrieve these “unclaimed” wagers/wages and fight the War On Terror®

I'll be happy to visit your office if you‘d like.

    By the way, If anyone is celebrating a birthday, I can also bring my neighbor, Kevin. He’s literally a clown.  He used to be a pornographic film actor but that's an entirely long story which would be inappropriate to discuss in a professional business dispatch.
    Kevin has just completed Ringling Brother’s Clown College which, oddly, is managed more efficiently than your facility.
    I shall look forward to a call this week and eagerly await your advice as to how I might proceed in retrieving the casino money…I mean, “unclaimed” wages.

P.S.  Can you PLEASE speak with someone in your sales department about eliminating all of those "Male Sexual Enhancement" commercials???  When did the United States male population collectively lose the ability to attain an erection?

To: Jim
From: Maury
Today, when I followed up with HR, they informed me that they have reached out to you on NUMEROUS occasions as well.
With all due respect, this is ridiculous, call the business office during business hours, and ask for HR. Simple.
    If you want this done, as I do, simply call and get it done. Thanks.
Operations Manager, Channel Of Clarity
New Orleans

To: Maury
From: Jim

I’m taking a moment from my busy schedule to provide an update with regards to my query into the process for reclaiming the casino money…er, uncollected wages.
    I took your advice...right after listening to the "Male Sexual Enhancement" commercial on your station 1-thousand times last evening.
    I also took liberty, as you'll notice in the email attachment, to make punctuation edits on your previous email missive.
    I will give benefit of the doubt that you sent it from an I-Phone.  The Android is much more functional.
    When I initially read your advice, it occurred to me that your words held a resounding level of familiarity.
    Primarily because I have executed your precise set of instructions on several occasions for three months. Of course, unfortunately, I've also gained 5-pounds over this same time period.  This is due to the fact that, at Popeye's, the savings NEVER stop with their value menu!  I'm on a budget because you have all of my money.
    I suspect that a 6-year old would have taken it upon his/herself to follow your protocol in resolving this matter. Happily, I now feel great relief that I'm smarter than a 6-year old.**

**Unless you ask my ex-girlfriend.

    Not being one to pessimistically give in to adversity, much like the United Nations, The EU or those who negotiate with terrorists, I gave your instructions their due attention and called the business line.
    After being placed on eternal hold, forced to listen to what I can only describe as broadcast doo doo, I left HR another voicemail.
    I’m rather embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve become somewhat romantically involved with the HR voicemail system. Your executive assistant sounds HOT!!
    As far as HR reaching out on “numerous” occasions, you should know that they left a message after my initial query and I returned the call.  They were, again, unavailable but called back and left a voicemail for me. I called back and they were, again, unavailable.**

**This is what irritating, boring people call “phone-tag.”

Let’s break this down with a fun math analogy:
Maury Mathematics
HR making an initial call + Me returning the call + HR making a return call =  “Numerous” HR attempts to reach out.

The Rest Of The World Mathematics

HR making an initial call + HR making a return call = Two calls

**(And me having sexual fantasies about a voice mailbox recording.)

    I give benefit of the doubt in allowing for the possibility that my continued unsuccessful attempts to make contact this particular week might be due to “Super Bowl Fever.”


    As a courtesy, I’ll keep you apprised of the outcome but, in the meantime, please do not hesitate to call with any updates, helpful pointers or if you have any financial interest in getting in on my Super Bowl Pool.
   I like you Maury…probably more so than a man should like another man. Are you busy Friday evening?


To: Jim
From: Maury
    With all due respect, Jim, I don’t care for your tone or silliness. And, quite frankly, I think you are being downright rude. We will cut a check today though.

To: Maury
From: Jim
My manners are indeed lacking and I feel absolutely terrible that I didn't exert better efforts over the course of seeing you each and every day in the radio  empire to tell you a bit more about myself but you usually whisked past me, looking at the floor, as though you'd been summoned to the White House Situation Room. 
    I also would have told you in the initial job interview but you were at the golf course that day and staffed it out to that creepy Program Director.
    Anyway, enough about your "hands-off" management's a little bit about me:

5' 11''
160 and a half pounds
Decent athletic build
Blonde hair
Blue eyes
Above average private parts (I've been told)
Clinically insane

    If you would, please pass the above info on to the HR assistant lady
    Thank you for the rapid response to my inquiry, as I can now stop taking out my frustration upon the cat.   
    I can either pick up the check at your offices or, even better, why don't you join me at the casino this evening?  It's "Taco Tuesday" and that can only mean ONE thing...We will skip the tacos and drink $100 in 2-for-1 Margaritas and throw up on someone's lawn!

    Maury left a check for me at the front desk the following morning.  I'm happy to report that I wasn't taken into custody but I finally met the voicemail woman.  She met me for margaritas at the casino later that night.
    She is, indeed, quite attractive.

copyright Pontchartrain Press 2011

Author's Note: This little piece is dedicated to my mother and father.  My dad provided more accidental comedy than I could even begin to write in this lifetime...but I'm trying 
    Today, however, marks 2-years since my mom's passing and I'm abundantly thankful for her deep appreciation for my ascerbic sense of humor. 
    Even though she had to endure numerous parent-teacher conferences because of it, she never missed an opportunity to encourage me to push forward in reaching my hopes and dreams. 
    While I miss her so much today, I take comfort in that I'm thankful for her love and support everyday.  So...She and my father are always with me I suppose.  And now they're with you, in spirit, in this particular writing piece. 
    As a side note, no employees were harmed in the making of this story (except me) and, Maury is no longer with the company.  What a shock!  Hope he got his final paycheck.