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February 27, 2009

Mock You During a Recession? You Bet!


I briefly considered, in a rare moment of reflection, that a business humor column during a time of severe economic recession might be untoward. After all, what’s funny about businesses struggling, people worrying and everyone fighting a constant battle just to get by?


But I got over it quickly, and came to what should be a fairly obvious conclusion: Such times provide more fodder for business hilarity than any other, if you can view them in the right way. My North Star Writers Group colleague Rachel Marsden recently wrote a column urging people to fight their way through the recession by doing certain things – the first of which was not to listen to the people who are always telling you how bad everything is.


She’s right. The same goes for humor. Tell me the truth: Did you laugh at Baghdad Bob when he was insisting the Americans were nowhere in sight? Of course you did. Did you laugh at the Detroit Lions when they took football laughability to new heights? Obviously.


So why aren’t we allowed to laugh about what’s happening now? Because it affects “real people”? Listen. I need to tell you something. Everyone you’ve ever laughed at was a real person. It may have been a person you didn’t like, or a person you convinced yourself there was no need to give a crap about. But they were real people.


So while your company is struggling in the recession, and you’re worried about whether you’re going to survive, am I going to mock you and make fun of you?


You’d better believe I am!


You do realize – right? – that your accounts payable chief is sending your vendors checks and intentionally “forgetting” to sign them. It gives the appearance of having the ability to pay when, in fact, she’s buying her and you another 10 days of cash flow.


Small problem!


The vendor catches on to the gambit, photo copies an old signature and then learns how to forge it, which then puts your clever accountant in a bit of a pickle.


“Say, did you cash that check I sent you?”


“Yes I did. Why do you ask?”


“Well, it’s just that I don’t see how . . .”


“How what?”


“I mean, I didn’t, I mean, I thought, I mean . . .”


“You weren’t going to tell me something, were you?”


“Uh, no, have a nice day!”


Nice try.


And amidst all this, of course, your sales are falling faster than a skydiver holding an anvil. Your stock price is so tiny, microbiologists are debating its existence. Your bottom line is not called “bottom” for no reason.


And the Who’s Who of America registry just called and offered you $50 not to send in a submission this year. I suggest you take it.


Don’t worry, though. I’ll be keeping an eye on you. The worse it gets, the more merciless I will be. Granted the quality of the jokes is not that great, but hey. It’s you. You don’t really think you deserve my best effort, do you?


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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