I work in a factory, which of course is the spawn of a corporate universe. Most corporations expect people to behave in a professional manner at all times. I’ve been in the military and very much understand how to conduct myself in a professional manner. I get the opportunity to “practice” this often at work; but I also frequently encounter the folks who actually perform tasks that produce a product, like running machines, etc. These are the folks, in my professional opinion, who are the most valuable part of any corporation. Many of them are not very happy these days… these are uncertain times.
Those who know me are very aware that I’m a WYSIWYG kind of guy. WYSIWYG is an acronym that’s not seen much these days. The term dates back to the 1970s, when dinosaurs roamed the earth; and it stands for What You See Is What You Get. And what you get with me can be rather silly at times; and the workplace is no exception.
I understand that work is work, and that clowning is a different profession than the work stuff for which I get paid. However, we recently enjoyed a requirement to wear safety shoes in the factory; and mine have a big black outline where the toes are. I affectionately call them “clown shoes;” because that’s what they look like to me.
Clown shoes notwithstanding, I’m kinda hooked on spreading a smile around when I can… nothing smutty mind you. Just funny stuff. This seems especially pertinent these days, with so much sadness in the world. On top of all that, my cohorts are stressed about working for a company that too often doesn’t exactly leave one feeling warm and fuzzy inside the nasal passages (or any other vegetable operated pencil sharpener).
I’ve been a bit loony ever since I can remember, and it just doesn’t seem to fade with old age. Perhaps I’ll make strange faces at people while I’m walking… just to break the monotony. Oh yes, and I also know how to walk in a silly manner. And then there are times I find myself singing loudly at work, because it’s already loud there anyway. Often I’ll sing for the mere pleasure of it, maybe whistle or hum a tune. Other times, however, my coworkers give me funny looks because I’m singing Tarzan yodels or maybe some mock operatic rendition like, “FEE GAAA RO!”
My friends in the factory work tons of overtime, so I try to help them smile even about that situation. Here’s a conversation I had just today with a friend, that illustrates my amplified toast hammer encryption:
“You workin’ this weekend?” I asked.
“Yeah,” was the subdued response.
“Sunday too?” I quizzed.
“Yeah, catch up on bills,” she said, and of course I went for it: “Ketchup on bills??” I joked. “Why would you put ketchup on bills?? Doesn’t make them taste any better does it??”
She giggled a little. Mission accomplished.
It could also be possible that I use our instant messaging system to greet friends with spiritually uplifting verse such as:
The break room is closed for today, they’re changing the bearings in the trash compactor and they don’t want anyone to upset the ballast softeners.
I’ve decided not to brush my teeth with Vaseline any longer. It frightens the chimney.
If you don’t start applying sticky labels to your eyebrows you’ll never get to enjoy “Sticky Paper Face Happiness.”
Of course, there are times when I discuss the status quo with my fellow workers; and we commiserate about the sadness we see around us. That’s when I veer off topic and say something truly diabolical like, “I just need to just stay grateful. The pay is decent, it’s close to home, and the benefits are OK. Plus, we have wonderful friendships here.” When the realities of work and the world get me down, I just cling to that childlike notion that in spite of all our troubles, I’m very fortunate to be alive and reasonably healthy.
I’m too proud to be a bum, too chicken to be a criminal, so I work for a living. Might as well have fun while doing it!! I’m definitely still a child. I’m just an old one. Now, would you like me to get out my portable Cook-A-Ma-Thing and fry you up some chicken weed? No?? Well that’s good, because I have no idea what chicken weed is.
Maybe part of the reason I’m so fond of silly stuff is because I grew up watching cartoons like this…