As you may have seen in posts from earlier last year, I love practical jokes and there are few lengths to which I will not go in order to pull off a good one. I can be inhumanly patient for the payoff too. In fact, I set one up in 2005 and I’m still waiting for it to pay off.
Parallel to that, I’m sure you can tell that I love puns and word play. Fake names are some of my favorite things. My family and I used to always call each other up at work and give unusual names to whoever answered. I remember I’d be all busy managing my record store and one of my clerks would come up to me kind of puzzled, and say, “You have ‘Mitch Cumstein’ on line one?”
I’d laugh because I knew that was my brother, using one of the joke names from ‘Caddyshack.’ My poor clerk didn’t know if she was being put on or what…
We weren’t always that clever on the phone. When I’d call my dad at work, he’d answer the phone with his name… “Jim Dude…”
I’d always say, “Big fuckin’ deal.”
It’s his own fault; he’s the one that told me that was what he always said when he called his friend, The Lob, at work.
OK now let me see if I can tie all this together.
I mentioned in Comments to an earlier post that we have a thing at work called a Desk Audit. This was where once per quarter, someone would come in early in the morning and check everyone’s desk to make sure we were adhering to the company’s Clean Desk Policy. That basically covered keeping your drawers locked with no keys in sight and making sure there was no personal or proprietary information left on your desk for someone to steal or make mischief with.
I gave a copy of this cartoon to the girl doing our Desk Audits. It killed.
Now, let me be straight here: I’m all for Desk Audits. In that department, we handled a lot of customer paperwork with names, socials, etc. We needed to be sure they were secure. So I had no problem with the Desk Audits at all…
That is, until I started failing them. The first one or two, OK, they had a point… I had something minor that was wrong. Then I failed an audit because my file drawer wasn’t locked… in my file cabinet that HAD NOTHING IN IT. I didn’t even have a key to it. It’s enough to drive you to drink.
Then I failed one because I had a department phone list posted on my wall, because we often needed to get a hold of our folks on the road. These lists had been up in people’s cubes for years. So NOW it’s an issue? My beef was that I’d have been happy to comply, if only someone had mentioned that they were changing the freakin’ rules.
So I redacted all the personal information out of my contact list. And I failed again, because now they didn’t want people’s desktop extensions listed in sight either. I lost my shit with this one; I was so pissed. I accused the Compliance people of trying to make people fail. (I wasn’t the only one pinched on that.) Any of us would have complied with all of these stupid rules, if they’d only told us what they were!! Suddenly I’m living in Dilbert world.
I decided to start messing with my tormentors. I started by placing “decoy” keys around my cube. We were supposed to keep all desk keys on us, but I (and many others) hate carrying keys around. So we usually hide them somewhere handy. That’s a no-no. But since I had the most brilliant Key Hiding Place ever (which I will never disclose), I decided to taunt my tormentor by attaching a paper clip to one of those wire key circles. I stuffed the paper clip down the inside rim of my potted plant and left the key ring visible. I had some hanging down in other places as well.
I also took down my department phone list and put up a new one, populated entirely with fake names. But I couldn’t just leave it at regular fake names; I had to use funny ones.
Way back in the 70s, when the National Lampoon magazine was still relevant, they used to do these incredible parodies. They did a complete Sunday newspaper, every word of which was a joke. (The Classifieds were priceless.) They also did a High School Yearbook parody, again, painstakingly detailed. I remembered that they had the freshman class pictures all on one page, cut down to thumbtack sized, with a huge list of names underneath. Every name was a joke.
Fortunately for me, I was able to find the list online and steal a bunch of them for my list. OK, I they’re not all literal copies… I made some alterations to a number of them, to make them less obvious and more, well, “name-like.” A couple more, I made up out of whole cloth, and then threw in a few more that I’d heard somewhere along the line.
So now, there I was, just daring someone to bust me now.
Never worked out. Shortly after that, the girl that was doing the checks left the company. Before she left, though, I had her come in and see if she could find my key hiding spot. She couldn’t, although she thought she had me with the decoy. Revenge is mine!
I’m in a different department now but I still have the list up on my cube wall and we still do Desk Audits. My new Desk Auditors have never mentioned the phone list. I have a feeling that the phone list prohibition was unique to my old department. It’s been 7 years and I’m still waiting for someone to notice.
But now, whenever I need a quick alias, I can consult my list and pick one of the following:
Sara Ann Dippity
Michael Hawke (a distant relative of Michael Hunt)