Tomorrow is the last day of National Laugh at Work Week, and I wanted to pay homage to all those times I’ve collapsed in mirth at my desk due to spontaneous hilarity.
Well. There was one time, when a macho coworker walked into a spider dangling from a web and screamed like an eight year old girl.
And that’s it. Virtually all of the rest of my guffaws at work were of the “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” variety. To wit:
The time I was 21 and received a reprimand from a supervisor at my summer business internship for inappropriate dress, for, as far as I was able to determine, having the skirt of my conservative Ann Taylor suit hit one inch above the knee. The reprimand was given by a man wearing polyester plaid Sansabelt slacks and a bolo tie.
The time my boss, the co-owner of the company along with her husband, walked in the front door of the office after an extended absence that she had clearly spent having unannounced and extensive plastic surgery. Her cheekbones were hooked over the tips of her ears, and she blinked serially rather than in tandem. Twelve seconds later her husband walked in wearing the same expression of frozen, raw surprise. They both looked at me, waiting for a reaction that might spell out my future with the company. I managed to choke, “Good to see you both, you sure look well rested!” before running into the bathroom to hide for the rest of the day.
The time co-workers were jumping ship like scared rats as the corporation went down, and one of the guys showed up in a suit every other day in our casual dress office. “I have to go to a funeral,” he’d say loudly, to cover up his dress-up transgression, before darting out for a lunchtime interview. It got to the point that I’d greet him with “another great-aunt?” and he’d say, “No, third cousin this time,” before grabbing his resume and hitting the door.
The time I worked at an annual trade show in London with a sales team that had made a valiant effort to show me the bottom of every pint glass in England the night before. Our employer refused to put chairs into our booth for fear we’d use them during our 10 hour booth shifts. Therefore we negotiated in low and still-boozy whispers – “let me lean against the booth support post for the next 5 minutes, I can’t stop swaying and I think I’m gonna throw up on the monitor.”
Another trade show, this one in Hannover, where my employer was showcasing a fabulous new software product in the booth of an important, huge client – only our programming team hadn’t quite finished creating said product yet. The team arrived at the show and immediately moved into a secret closet in the middle of the booth to continue round-the-clock programming. Even I, the marketing person, was crammed inside the Clown Closet and given a laptop with which write code. Every three hours or so, they’d dispatch me out to the sales team so I could pass a message: “Alerts work now, you can demonstrate those! But don’t try to change Geographic Region or the whole thing crashes!”
Every time I pulled out the breast pump in my office after my first maternity leave, and one of my co-workers yelled “Mooooooooo!” over the top of the cubicles.
The time I got laid off when I was nine months pregnant with my second child, and one of the C-level execs ambled over to my desk as I was packing up my sad box of belongings and said, “So, guess this comes at a good time for you – now you can have maternity leave!” Yes, and thanks to you it’ll be unpaid!
Yes indeedy, lots of laughs at work. Is it any wonder I’m self-employed?