I believe it was the great Deforest Kelly who once said, “we mock that which we don’t understand.” In the years since I first heard this quote I’ve added my own corollary, “we mock those whom we don’t know very well; or those whom we know really well and can take a joke.” Well, I was at an off-site meeting the other day. Since I didn’t know the people there and I still don’t quite understand the logic of their arguments, I’m going to lay in with some serious mocking.
There was this woman from the home office “facilitating” the meeting. (Our department offers a two day training session on how to “facilitate” a meeting. I’ve never been.) She asked the group if we had noticed any impact on our jobs from the anticipation of a new computer system, which is scheduled to come on-line sometime before the state replaces the carpet in my wife’s office. The consensus of the group was a resounding “no.” Flabbergasted, our facilitator wondered aloud why we were not “focusing on getting certain aspects of our job right”, to smooth the transition to the “new way of doing business.” Well, I had one of those rare moments of inspiration. The perfect comment popped into my head from the ether. It had just the right amount of sarcasm to win the sympathy of the room. “I had this radical notion that we were supposed to do our job right all of the time, not just when we want to smooth the transition to a new system.” Come on, give it up. That was pretty good, wasn’t it? To give it a little more flavor, I thought I might say it in a Scottish brogue. What statement doesn’t sound more dramatic with a Scottish brogue?
Of course, I didn’t actually say it. (Naturally, it was my inability to pull off a worthy imitation of Sean Connery which turned the tide.) It’s probably just as well. This comment would have gone over about as well as Che Guevara crashing a dinner party at Joe McCarthy’s place. It might have been fun for a little while, but it would have been a bitch to clean up afterwards.