Holidays are fun.

Holidays are fun.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do not poke the aging English major...you will not like the result.

Good evening!

I wasn't going to blog today.  I haven't been feeling great...the weekend was  packed with a lot of stuff that the kept me off the couch and away from the healing power of the nap.  But something happened at the end of the day that was so astounding, I had to share it with you.

When I was a kid, my parents, my dad mostly because as a man of words  (He taught high school English for a couple decades) he enjoyed using words that sounded made up, but were real.  It was his way of sort of testing his audience, seeing who had a grasp on English as their first language and who did not.
One of the words he enjoyed using was jackanape.

As he used the word, in conjunction with things like "slack jawed" and "Dim witted" and his favorite  "culvert dwelling"  (look that one up)  I gathered that it meant something none too complimentary.  (Later, when I majored in English in college, I learned more uses for the word.  Again, not complimentary.)

After a particularly tedious phone call with a person today...the kind where you know from the first second that this person is never going to buy what you're selling because 1) They can't afford it  2)  The job involves far more construction repair than we can do or 3)  They "know a guy" who can do it for half the price but they won't admit any of it, and they wind up mouthing breathing away half an hour.  (They will also waste 60-90minutes of the sales guys' time tomorrow, but that's not my concern at the moment.)  Once off the phone, as I wiped my ear sweat away, I muttered the words, "dim witted jackanape."

LCW, who can't hear anyone when they are on the phone with her, and can't hear the radio even though the walls are bleeding with volume, heard me say that.  She asked what the word jackanape meant.  I admitted that while I did not know the exact definition, I knew it to be an insult, probably dwelling on the person's intelligence or manners.

It is no secret in the office that LCW thinks I use too many big words.  (She, like NBM, was confused by the word "thwarted.")  It is no secret to my friends that the minute someone who speaks English as a first language insults me for using more than 4% of the words in my native tongue, I tend to really get going on the vocabulary. 

Therefore, I did not, as she suggested I do, look on the Internet for the meaning of jackanape. (She has the Internet on her computer as well...something she forgets until she wants to ignore her job completely and download videos on belly fat.)  I had work to do.  Also, I'd already make a second pot of coffee at her command...(one she did not drink,) and I unhooked her headset from her phone, ending two weeks of rage and battle that cannot be put in a blog, but will make the new book I intend to publish by the end of the year.  (Still looking for good title suggestions for that one BTW.)

After thinking about this for an hour or so, not doing any actual work during that time, but you know, before she took a lunch break, LCW decided, loudly, to look up the word "on the web."  (Since I wouldn't do it for her.  Sorry, she makes more than I do and I'd spent the morning cleaning up not one but multiple messes she created over the weekend.  Why they let her "work" unsupervised on Saturdays is beyond me.)

Part of my job is to make phone calls to various inspectors and set appointments vital to the legal completion of the work we do.  In short...if I don't do my job...bad crap happens to the bottom line of the office.

Keep that in mind as you read the following:


Sarah:  (Dialing and the phone, slogging through voice automation, and getting a live inspector.)  Good afternoon!  This is Sarah from Dunder Mifflin...I need to set up--

LCW:  HOW DO YOU SPELL JACKANAPE?

Sarah:  Oh, yes, I'll hold.  Thank you.
LCW:  HOW DO YOU SPELL JACKANAPE?  BECAUSE I CAN'T FIND IT ANYPLACE ON THE WEB.

Sarah:  (trying to maintain a business like voice while Shakespearean banshees are howling three feet behind her.)  Yes, good afternoon Lenny, thank you for taking my call...

LCW:  IT MUST BE A BAND NAME.  THAT'S ALL I CAN FIND IS THE NAME OF A BAND.

Sarah:  Yes, I need to schedule and inspection...I'm sorry, you can't hear me...let me turn up the volume on my phone.  Is that better?

LCW:  OH WAIT...THIS IS A GUY!  JACK AND APES....WAIT, NO, THAT'S STILL A BAND.  BUT THEN THERE's THIS GUY WHO HAS FOLLOWERS.  I WONDER IF A JACKANAPE IS A GUY WHO HAS FOLLOWERS.  SARAH....IS IT A GUY WHO HAS FOLLOWERS?

Sarah:  Yes, I need an inspection on the 25th.  the 25th.  THE 25th.

LCW:  NO.  IT'S GOT TO BE A BAND.  BUT THAT'S NOT INSULTING.    SARAH...THERE'S NO DEFINITION ANYWHERE ON THE WEB ABOUT THIS JACKANAPE.  BUT I MIGHT BE SPELLING IT WRONG. 

Sarah:  Yes, I'm sorry about the noise...They're sandblasting our building.

LCW:  I JUST WISH I KNEW HOW TO SPELL THE WORD OR THAT THERE WAS SOME DEFINITION PLACE ON THE WEB.  WAIT...DO WE HAVE A DICTIONARY IN THE BUILDING?  SARAH, WHERE IS THE DICTIONARY?

Sarah:  Yes, the 25th.  And I do apologise for the noise.  I think someone is slaughtering water buffalo in the shop.  (Sarah hangs up.)

LCW:  WELL I COULDN'T FIND IT.  ARE YOU SURE YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT?  BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT THAT WORD MEANS.

Sarah:  (Picking up the phone and pretending to make another call...not daring to make an actual call because LCW is shouting at the top of her glass scratching voice.)

LCW:  WELL I'M GOING TO LUNCH.

I should mention that the last time I suggested she Google a term...she wondered aloud if I was trying to tell her to translate it into another language. 

I should also mention that the link I have put here for jackanape is the FIRST entry for a Google search involving the letters j-a-c-k-a. 

Tomorrow..."Enigma."

(I'm really hoping Bob and Brian, the guys from my favorite radio morning show on 1029 THE HOG will bring back "Job Horror Stories" sometime this year.  Clearly, I have a winner.  It's just a matter of picking one.)


Finally, don't forget, I'm still looking for titles for my work horror story book.  The five I think are best will go to a vote on My Laundry List Friday Blog this week.



1 comment:

  1. How about "Everybody's got one: Horror stories from the front lines of a small office"

    ReplyDelete

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