Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
November 10, 2008
Death, or Missing the
4:30 Meeting? Not as Obvious As You Think!
only need Lacey for one thing. She prevents me from running the company
into the ground. And I don’t just mean the surface of the ground. Have
you ever heard of the abyss – the place where they’re going to cast all
the unredeemed souls at the end of time? That’s where the company would
end up if I were left to my own devices and I didn’t have Lacey around.
I try to make sure I don’t abuse her, lest she take a job working for
some sane CEO. As such, it got my attention when I noticed her sitting
at her desk the other day with her nose red, her eyes scratchy and
watery and her general appearance roughly fitting the description of
death warmed over.
“You look awful,” I said in my inimitably charming way.
feel like crap,” she said.
“Why are you here?” I wondered, since I am of course a caring and
“D.F.,” she said, “I read
your column about sick days. If you’re going to expect me to sit
home staring at my laptop anyway, I might as well be here. Why make my
kids sick when I can be making my co-workers sick?”
“Good point,” I said. “Your co-workers deserve to be sick. But just do
me a favor and let it happen naturally. Don’t go up and tongue-kiss
That’s when she threw an X-acto knife at me. Don’t worry. Tourniquets
stop bleeding, and I still have one eye.
But as it turns out, this was not the real reason she insisted on coming
to work in such a condition. It was all about the 4:30 meeting.
“If I miss the 4:30 meeting,” she said, “that will not be good.”
“It would be good for you,” I said. “Any time you can get out of a
meeting, that’s good.”
She shook her head.
“D.F., you’re an idiot,” she said.
“Hey!” I said. “You’re fired!”
“Shut up, I am not,” she said. “Look, if I’m not in that meeting, then
Melanie will walk all over this project, or as she would say, she will
‘take ownership.’ Do you know what will happen if Melanie ‘takes
ownership’ of the project?”
thought about that. Yes, I did know what would happen if Melanie “took
ownership” of the project. First, Melanie would start re-assigning
everyone on the project team, just because she could. Then she would
call the client to be sure the client knew that she, not Lacey, was
“taking the ball and running with it” – a piece of information she would
then reiterate via six or seven e-mails.
“So you’re basically risking death to keep Melanie from horning in on
your project,” I said.
“You don’t seriously think death would be worse than that, do you?”
“No,” I said, “but I might know an alternative. Why don’t I just take
the meeting for you? I’ll take copious notes and make sure everyone
knows I’ll be filling you in and no one else. You know I can take
good notes, and no one will think I’m going to take ownership of
Hey. Even Lacey can’t deny I take good notes. I used to write movie
reviews before my syndicate gave the slot to some chick named Rachel
“D.F., I know you can take good notes,” Lacey said in between wheezes
and hacks. “But you don’t understand the notes. You just fire away at
the keyboard like it’s an AK-47, taking down every word everyone says.
But when you look at it later, you don’t have the slightest idea what
any of it means. And you’re so busy taking dictation, you’re not really
listening. That means you won’t be able to explain it to me, and later
when Melanie claims a bunch of stuff happened at the meeting that really
didn’t, you’ll have no idea.”
With that, she struggled out of her chair to go make herself some hot
She had just told me she’s working while sick to attend a meeting
because she thinks I’m too big an idiot to cover for her. Why I oughta .
. . give her a raise. I won’t. But I ought to.
© 2008 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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