Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

On Today’s Meeting Agenda There’s a Big Orange Stain

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Good morning, everyone. Thanks for assembling so promptly. It’s quite a breath of fresh air. Free donuts will do that, I guess. Dibs on the Bavarian Cream.

The announced topic of this meeting was something ridiculously boring and irrelevant, and I don’t even remember it: something about adapting to a new paradigm of interactive blah blah blah. But it’s good to see so many of you here anyway, trying to accomplish two things at once: feigning interest in something the CEO has to say, and finding a legitimate excuse to beg off your usual work so you can nap in your auditorium seat while some buffoon dims the lights for a tedious series of PowerPoint slides.

There will be no more PowerPoint presentations today. Or ever. They are a time suck more potent than Angry Birds, more pervasive than pharmaceutical commercials. If you want more details on that last item, see my full ad in Ladies’ Home Journal, and ask your doctor about Dammitol.

That’s right: no more PowerPoint presentations. If you’re calling a meeting, you’d better not waste everyone’s time reading aloud the contents of each slide. We, too, learned how to read many years ago, and can decipher those mysterious markings on our own. If you wish to impart your wisdom to the rest of us, send us a well-written e-mail. Or speak to us. Meetings shall occur only when a group of people need to interact regarding a specific set of issues. The key word in that sentence is “interact,” which does not mean, “you all sit there trying not to make your iPhone use seem too obvious while I drone on and on about some Venn diagram.”

Some of you are using your iPhones even now. Anderson, for example, just tweeted that he’s pretty cheesed about my forcing him to attend a meeting when he had planned to be on the golf course with a client. Crowley is trying to catch up on Marshall’s Facebook feed, which, as I understand, is a daunting task even on a full-size screen. And Lee and Markowitz are messaging each other back and forth in a never-ending contest to see who can interpret my words as rudely as possible.

But I like that. I like the multitasking. I like the efficiency. I like the intolerance for meetings. In keeping with that attitude, I am announcing a new policy, effective immediately, as follows:

1. No meeting shall exceed twenty minutes except by my advance approval. It better be important. Do not waste my time and yours trying to get approval to waste more time.

2. If a meeting exceeds the allotted time, the conference room heaters will turn on full blast, the lights will cease to work and the intercom speakers will emit nothing but the sound of pigs squealing at maximum volume for half an hour.

3. At regular intervals during any meeting, the participants will be asked to vote discreetly though their mobile devices whether the meeting is worthwhile. When a majority of respondents answer negatively, the lights will cease to work and the person conducting the meeting will be docked pay commensurate with the time the meeting took.

4. Since this meeting policy will cause much increased use of e-mail, chat and texting to get things done, it is imperative that we communicate clearly. Any use of creative spellings, missing letters, numbers where letters should be, and the like, will result in the confiscation of the device used to mangle our language so mercilessly. Each badly constructed sentence will result in a day’s participation in our Community Volunteer Initiative, where you will dole out slop to disgusted high school students in the cafeteria at Thomas Jefferson High School over on the next block.

5. That’s it. This meeting is already getting too long. Get the hell back to work before I think of more incentives.


Written by Thag

June 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

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