Work stories I might have told

Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to work we go. Video still: trailer, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” public domain

A solid week of work can take a lot out of you. So on Friday night, whatever our plans and good intentions, Terry and I rarely make it out the door to do the town. It’s usually a night of takeout dinner and watching some clever British detective unravel a heinous bludgeoning death on TV. Feet up, brain off.

But last night we made an exception to attend North Country at Work’s first Work Story Slam, conveniently nearby in Canton at the county historical association. Seven brave souls stood up to tell anecdotes from their varied working lives and it was a good time all round, I think. As Amy pointed out in her introductory remarks, we spend most of our waking adult hours working, so where else would our best stories come from?

My own working life is a little sedate these days. I work with sane and civil folk and spend a lot of time staring into twin monitors at my desk. Thin soup for storytelling. But it was not always so. So as I watched last night’s performers, I thought, as I often do in such situations, about what I would say if I was up behind the microphone.

Maybe the evening I averted an international incident on the Tug Hill by being Bartender for the Revolution. Maybe the winter night I got stuck in the subject’s driveway while surveilling an unfaithful spouse. Maybe the day I turned the steam hose out the dishroom window to drive away unruly cafeteria patrons. Or when the horn section hitched a ride home in my rusted out and unheated equipment van and kept warm by shoulder-pounding and singing the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song in four-part harmony.

You know – work stories. If you can drag yourself off the couch on a Friday night, the next Work Story Slam is Friday, August 17 in Hammond, NY at the Hammond Museum. Tell everybody about that time when you…

Or tell it now in a comment below.


2 Comments on “Work stories I might have told”

  1. Chelle Lindahl says:

    Well, as a teen I DID proofread the California telephone books for a couple of years in a windowless silent room where you raised your hand to discuss peculiarities you may have noted with a supervisor. THAT was fun.

  2. Pat Nelson says:

    In 1959, when I was student at Cornell, working at the Rathskeller, there was a main room for all and a side room for men only. One evening when I was the hostess, a mixed party came in for dinner and the faculty member who was apparently the host started for his usual table in the side room. I had to deal with the problem, so I, politely, I hoped, reminded him that women weren’t allowed there. One of the women said that was ridiculous and probably illegal. I said that I personally agreed, but it wasn’t my rule, so would they mind sitting in the main room. The woman told me to get my supervisor and while I did, she led the party over to their table. The Supervisor asked her to leave and she informed him she was Frances Perkins, the former Secretary of Labor and she didn’t intend to leave and he wasn’t to take it out on “that poor little girl”. He told me to serve them and he left, mollifying various aggrieved members on the way. They were a very pleasant table to serve and the Secretary left me a tip on top of the faculty member’s.

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