Are there a lot of jerks in weightlifting? Or are they all just dumbbells?
Q: Why wasn't the beach volleyball team hungry?
A: They all had a sandwish
Q: Why was the rowing team so slow?
A: Their sculls were too thick
At every one of these conferences, I get at least one shirt and sometimes more. Usually, it's just the conference t-shirt, some basic wearable that has the conference logo on the front and enough ads on the back to decorate a race car. Sometimes, I'm also speaking at the conference and I get a 'speaker' shirt, which usually looks exactly like the conference shirt, but with the special addition of the word 'speaker' on it somewhere.
Now I don't know about the events you attend, but when I see a guy standing on the stage with a microphone and a laptop, I figure it's a safe bet that he's the speaker. I don't need a shirt to give me that piece of information. And when he opens his mouth and actually speaks, I know that I nailed it.
So why do I need this shirt? If everyone knows I'm a speaker, and I know it too, then does a logo'd t-shirt really give me any more authority?
Everyone else must feel the same because I never see any of the speakers actually wearing the speaker shirts at the conference. Maybe we're just supposed to feel better because we have them in our backpacks, ready to whip out and flaunt to the crowd.
These shirts are like the bridesmaid dresses of the conference set; they have exactly one use in them and that's over the minute you leave that building. The only advantage of a speaker shirt over a bridesmaid dress for me is that at least t-shirts work for me. I look awful in yellow taffeta; it makes me look fat.
But perhaps I should wear the shirt around the house anyway. Whenever I've being disrespected by my wife, or my kids, or my dog, I'll just point to the shirt and say, "Hey, who's the speaker here? Now listen up." Then again, I already carry a microphone around the place and that hasn't done anything for me yet.
This is the domain of catch-phrases, where a single word or phrase can mean entire paragraphs of gibberish.
It is critical that you, the corporate soldier, begin using these phrases soon, and fold them more and more into your conversations until finally you speak only in buzz. As you grow in experience, you will being to speak both more and less with each utterance.
For the beginning buzzer, it is sufficient to simply use phrases that others use as well. The best phrases would be those that you have heard your management chain use; this indicates to them a perceptive ear, an understanding of their dialect, and a willingness to suck up.
But as you get more comfortable with these speech patterns, including the ability to create entire paragraphs of meaningless jargon and a tone of authority in delivering nonsense, it is time for phase II: making up your own phrases.
The key to buzz phrases is a combination of action verbs and metaphors, which when said with the right emphasis can be applied to any situation. The metaphor need not make sense, nor does it need to actually apply to the situation; the importance is in saying the phrase and having it heard by awestruck co-workers as well as management.
You should make up your own phrases in general, at first by random word association late at night followed by memorization, but eventually on the fly as the situation demands. But here are some for consideration:
Parting shots in saying goodbye to someone:
- Flip it on the up side!
- Catch you before it falls
General wisdom to impart, during random silences in meetings:
- Head it off before it's off with your head
- Fat bristles
- Building pontoon bridges
- Broken solid
- We should fence-post it
- He's on the uptake
- Quicker than jello
- A gambler's winnings
- Green it and clean it!
Compliments (Note: use compliments judiciously. You want to be seen as the hero, so don't pass that piece of cake to someone else. Use them just enough to show what a great leader you are, generally for pathetically small things that can't get that other person promoted):
- Stratospheric thinking!
Now go start buzzing. Remember: on the corporate battlefield, it's not what you know, but what others think you know. and with buzz phrases, it's not what you say, but what they think you're saying.
Catch you on the update.
A: In the pole vault.
Q: Why was the racewalker disqualified?
A: Because her nose was running.
Q: What's a horse's favorite event?
A: The mare-athon.
Q: Why is the track team so talkative?
A: Because they're always discus-ing.
(More olympics jokes found here and over here)
A: Because the best you can ever get is bronze.
Q: Why did they send the Olympic judge out in search of the lost wedding ring?
A: Because he was a medal detector.
Q: Why does the Olympic torch always start in Olympia?
A: Because it's hard to put out a Greece fire.
Q: Why were the Canadian athletes upset?
A: Because everyone kept thinking they were from the US, eh?
Other Olympic jokes from 2008:
- Oh, Limpy Ad!
- More Little Olympic Jokes
- Yet More Olympics Jokes
- Probably the Last Little Olympics Jokes
And from 2012:
- Little Olympics Ditty (sheer poetry)
Of the five golden rings
The Olympic atheletes traveled
All the way to Beijings.
To compete in events of
Great strength and skills
Which are really quite hard if
You avoid popping pills.
The feats are all judged by
The scoring selectors,
Choosing winners like great
Human medal detectors.
The runners are racing
And hurdling with pride
And trying to quickly
Get into their stride.
The gymnasts are awesome
As they jump, swing, and strut.
Although they're quite pretty
They could all kick our butt,
On a different note, pole vaulting's
Sure got some studs
Who are jumping for joy
And then landing with thuds.
The volleyball players
Are all soaked in sweat
Which makes for a slimy
And very gross net.
The basketball players
Running fast, fast, and faster
With hoops and great hollers
They court with disaster.
Baseball's a long game with
Three outings an inning.
The team staying wakeful
The longest is winning.
Diving is one sport
Where winners are all.
Everyone finishes thanks to
Swimming is great
For those who don't choke.
What else could be won
While having a stroke?
Boxing is really
A sport with some clout.
Staying conscious is really
What the fight is a-bout.
But what of the sports
That didn't make the bar?
Would nascar drive us crazy?
Is golf not up to par?
Is kickball off base?
Or dodgeball just missed?
Is Scrabble a bored game?
Or is rapping dis'd?
What about other games
That didn't make the cuts?
Do competitive eaters
Not have the guts?
What of beer softball -
Did that also lose?
Would competitive chugging
Get hisses and booze?
Regardless, each four years
They strive hard and do well
While we watch from our seat.
The harder they try
The more there's to see
So we stay on the couch
As we watch the TV.
But Olympics are more than
Just winning and losing
There's also about us
Watching them and then snoozing.
But maybe someday
We can each be a winner...
Right after the next two
Events and my dinner.
There will be no more birthday parties.
It's that time of year again. The California hills are that beautiful shade of tan that says, "Light me!" So many people are on vacation that the traffic on the highways actually moves during rush hour. And I have so many parties to arrange that I feel like a wedding planner in a polygamist compound.
All of my kids have birthdays within a week of each other. It's not something we planned, it just happened, like sunburn. Or a zit. So every year we spend weeks getting ready for the onslaught of cake, friends, presents, entertainment, and mess that is to come.
It's not that we're big, fancy party people. In fact, we have pretty much escaped the overdone parties that many of our kids' friends have thrown. But any party is a hassle, nonetheless. It makes me pine for the days when 'party' meant a keg standing in a pool of stale beer while music blasted from a stereo loud enough to wake the dead drunk.
Why can't birthday parties be simple? Or, put another way, why can't we avoid parties altogether for our kids? They know they're getting older, we know they're getting older, and all of their friends are getting older right along with them. So why bother with all of the hoopla?
The key, like most things in society, is peer pressure (which is not the same as beer pressure, an essential element in keg parties). Your kid will want a party because they just went to some other kid's party. You feel you have to throw a party because your friend just threw one for their kid. And we all feel like we have to suffer because everyone else suffers.
But meanwhile, we're all aging until we get to a point where, frankly, getting older isn't something we really want to draw attention to. Besides, we're already doing an admirable job of becoming noticeably more decrepit with our graying hair, creaking bones, phlegmy cough, and discussions about bands that have long since OD'd.
When I am King, there will be no more birthday parties. Instead, each child will receive an extra helping of vegetables at the evening meal, and the family will sing something like this song:
Congratulations onSure, it'll be a bit depressing for the kids. But think of how much happier the parents will be, not having to plan something more elaborate. And in being happier, they will provide a better environment for their children, who can keep getting older every year until they finally move out, have their own kids, and start not throwing parties for them in their turn.
One year more and
One year older.
Quickly now the
(Some word here that
rhymes with 'coaches').
I'm not saying we won't have cake anymore. That's the only good part of any party. But instead of having cake once a year, it'll be every day, so as to not draw attention to the birthday. And I get the corner piece with all of the frosting.
Playing kickball will be required for all, for ever.
Someone at work said that we should get a kickball game together, as a team-building event.
Kickball. The very word sticks in my mouth like overcooked squash. It's not even a word anymore, but a series of images and feelings from childhood, most of which look like humiliation, anguish, and a red rubber ball.
For anyone unfamiliar with the game, it's a bit like baseball, but with a different type of ball. Someone that's up at the plate strikes out by failing to kick the ball, and someone in the field disappoints their team by failing to catch it or failing to throw the runner out.
It's usually the first team sport that children play in the U.S., because the requirements are minimal: just the ball and an ability to lose. It is also the first time when we start to divide ourselves into groups that either succeed, get by, or fail utterly. Those in the former group become the team captains, while those in the latter are soon relegated to getting picked last for teams. Day after day on the playground at school, this group watches as the team captains bravely try to pick everyone else before them, finally giving in with an unhappy, "Alright, I'll take Timmy. But you have to take Simon," as Simon wheels his colostomy bag over to the other team's area.
This sets the pattern for the rest of our childhood, as we continue to get picked last for all other sports, activities, and mating rituals.
It is no wonder, then, that we end up as programmers or other geeky professionals, burying ourselves in a field where there are no team captains, no jocks, and no daily pick. In fact, there is little socialization at all, just us communing with our computers because they appreciate us for who we are. Or at least they didn't have a choice of whether we were on their team or not.
Kickball is society's great career chooser; what would happen without that experience to pre-determine our future lives? Of all the tests and classes we took in school, kickball was probably far more influential in helping us with career possibilities and limitations.
But should this arbitrary and cruel selector be left to chance? What happens if a school doesn't have a kickball, or some kids never make it out to recess, or the kids are too busy playing video games to go out to the field? Society would grind to a halt and we would lack the geeks that our kickball tradition has produced.
When I am King, kickball will be a mandatory daily sport from preschool all the way through elementary school. Toddlers will have a red rubber ball as their main toy. Parents will choose their weaker newborns from the delivery room not out of love, but out of a grudging sense of obligation when there is no other option. In every way, our children will enjoy the benefits of this great game and our culture will embody its broken spirit.