A Lost Monday

Feeling lost in the office

Busy season is winding down at work, and people are naturally feeling burned out, demoralized, and somewhat lost. So you can imagine our relief the other day when three motivational posters were mounted on the wall.

You’ve probably seen these around, though I think they were much more popular a few years ago before the entire American work force basically gave up. They feature a colorful photograph of some inspirational scene (towering mountains, scenic seashores, kittens hanging in there, etc.), with one word across the top and a pithy quote across the bottom. Even the most casual glimpse of the composition encourages workers to pause reflectively for a moment, then shrug, the wonder how management can afford these if they can’t afford to buy us coffee. (Perhaps because they don’t sell coffee in the bargain bin at Staples).

The first poster reads “Teamwork” and shows a group kayaking down a raging river, something I’ll admit we do too rarely in financial document processing. The quote is “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after” and is attributed to an individual named “Gold Smith,” though a quick check on-line reveals it’s actually 18th-century Irish poet Oliver Goldsmith. I think the message here is that they’re getting ready to reorganize our department into teams.

The second poster is titled “Imagination” and features a stunning image of Yosemite’s El Capitan granite cliff at dawn. Quoted is Robert F. Kennedy, who said “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why … I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” I think this is meant to convey the message that you can request vacation days around the July Fourth holiday weekend if you want, but you have as much chance of getting them approved as you do of scaling a 4,800-foot rock face.

The third wall hanging is called “Vision” and portrays Utah’s Monument Valley, with a saying from Eleanor Roosevelt that “The future belongs to those who behold the beauty of their dreams.” The theme here is that it’s a good thing to be able to see well if you’re going to be a proofreader.

I’ve contemplated these passages for several days now (they’re located right beneath the timeclock) and find myself inspired, renewed and refreshed. Of course, a good stiff cup of coffee might accomplish the same thing but, as I said, I believe it’s more expensive than discount posters.

Loser on the racetrack

Auto racing’s favorite loser is Dale Earnhardt Jr. Following last weekend’s National Rifle Association convention here in Charlotte, this week we’re hosting the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, with the big Coca-Cola 600 car race next weekend. (I think the week after that, we’re set for some kind of Hitler Youth reunion.) “Junior,” as he’s affectionately known, finished twelfth in the Sprint Race.

Earnhardt’s fame is derived less from any great skill as a driver and more from the fact that his father, Dale Sr., was one of the sport’s most successful drivers ever, except maybe for those few seconds in 2001 when he fatally crashed into a wall. The father’s huge fan base gravitated to the son, who has proceeded to spend the last ten years finishing among the also-rans in just about every event he enters.

But the fans remain intensely loyal, and he can still be accurately promoted as a “five-time winner,” even though the competition is for NASCAR’s most popular driver. In recognition of that honor, the Bradford Exchange — makers of quality doo-dads and gee-gaws since Way Back When — ran a large ad in the Charlotte Observer Saturday for the official Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Cuckoo Clock.

“Now you can show your loyalty to this hard-charging NASCAR driver with an officially licensed, custom-designed cuckoo clock,” reads the half-page promo. “A stylized image of Dale’s ride is the centerpiece of this timekeeping treasure crafted with a real wood case and richly accented with gleaming chrome and asphalt. A swinging pendulum embossed with Dale’s number 88 add to the winning style. And here’s the best part: Every hour, Junior’s car comes out the door on top to race around the track accompanied by the sounds of the speedway.”

No word on whether or not the clock runs chronically slow.

Not just lost dogs …

I often see “lost dog” signs while jogging through my neighborhood. They’re both amateurish and touching, and never removed once the dog is found. They’re left to fade in the sun and eventually crumble to dust.

Also decomposing in a similar fashion by the highway last week was a dead raccoon. Within a day, however, some enterprising would-be comedy writer had erected a sign next to the body which read “Free Coonskin Cap — some assembly required.”

That’s some pretty clever stuff as far as roadside literary efforts go. It gives me hope that one day, when this whole internet/blogging/digital revolution thing has faded into history, there will still be at least one medium available for me to publish my humor columns.

I can write them in longhand and nail them to a telephone pole. My style might have to become a little more concise, so as to convey my point to readers whizzing by at 45 m.p.h., but I’ve always felt I’m a little long-winded anyway.

Not sure how I might tally the number of views without the help of WordPress’s stats feature, though.

Lost on an island

With last night’s shocking revelation in the finale of “Lost” that TV’s favorite castaways could’ve gotten off the island any time they wanted if they’d used Gilligan’s fillings as a radio transmitter, we’ve seen the end of the most challenging drama of the new century. The one thing I always missed about “Lost,” though, was its lack of a theme song.

So allow me to propose one, even though I know it’s a little late.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful flight
That started down Australia way
And ended just last night
The star was the mighty doctor Jack
The female lead was Kate
They flew into a fearsome storm
It looked like it was fate
You knew those two would mate
The plotline it was getting rough
The logic it was tossed
If not for the recaps and the highlights shows
The viewers would be lost
For they were watching “Lost”
The show took place on the shore of this uncharted desert isle
With Benjamin
And Sawyer too
The Korean guy and his wife
There’s Locke, Sayid,
Hurley and the Smoke Monster
On Mysterious Isle
So this is the tale of an unknown cast
They’ve been here six long years
(Except for occasional trips through time)
At least they have careers
The Dharmas and the Others too
They did their best to seek
New ways to kill main characters
And bring them back next week
No theme, no laughs, no spin-off shows,
Not a single luxury
Like Richard on “Survivor”
They’re sweaty as they can be
You joined them every week, you fools
It took you quite a while
To see that there was nothing here
On Mysterious Isle

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One Response to “A Lost Monday”

  1. fakename2 Says:

    As for the stats…you could nail a pencil to the tree on a string, and invite readers to make a hash mark. It might get complicated though, trying to explain that every fifth person has to make a diagonal mark through the first four.
    And speaking of dead racoons, that reminds me that week before last, I found a freshly dead mouse in the house. I respectfully picked it up by the tail and respectfully threw it into the ferns beside the driveway. The next morning, it had moved and was now lying in the driveway some two feet from where I had respectfully tried to lay it to rest. Since its little feet were still curled up in the same position as the day before, I doubted that it got there of its own accord. I suspect a hawk found it and once the initial excitement wore off, the hawk found it was too dead. There is dead, and then there is too dead. The hawk could have saved itself a lot of trouble by just asking my cat about it.

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