Tuesday, July 30, 2002

We've got a little running joke here at the office, and every once in a while, it generates big laughs.

If you answer phones in an office, you've probably encountered the "phone bandits" that call every so often, trying to get you to switch your long distance services. Just as often as not, these people are shameless charlatans, getting you to switch to some fly-by-night dummy company, and taking some kind of commission cut on the switch. Then you've got to call your phone company and switch every thing back over.

Anyway. To fuck with these people, as well as anyone else selling something or wanting money for the policeman's ball, or whatever, we developed a little system. We'd say "Oh, you have to talk to Pat regarding that." Now here's the trick. Pat doesn't exist. We came up with the name from that old SNL skit with the "Pat" that no one could tell if it was a man or woman. This led to our fucking with people a little more. They'd call and say "Can I speak to Pat?" to which we'd answer, as always, "Oh, Pat's not here right now." To which they'd say, "Do you know when he'll be back?" At this point we'd act annoyed with a hint of outrage, and say "SHE will not be back until tomorrow, dumbass!" (We wouldn't say dumbass, but at that point, it was kind of implied.) This would usually shame them into not calling for a couple days.

The joke, like any other good thing, has been refined and developed as time has gone by. Last year I pushed the envelope and added a last name to our imaginary friend Pat. This last name is McGroin. Say it to yourself a couple times. Funny, right? but not immediately apparent if you're not looking for it.

So now we get calls with people asking to talk to Pat McGroin. And this morning, I landed a nice fish and toyed with it on the line for a little while It went something like this: (Keep in mind, my boss was standing in my office cracking up the whole conversation.)

"Hello, Pat McGroin please."

"Oh, Mr. McGroin isn't here right now."

"Oh, well, do you know when he'll be back?"

"Well, Mr. McGroin's schedule is very hectic, you never know with him, maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day. You never know what will pop up with Mr. McGroin."

"Oh, uh, well is there anyone else there that is authorized to make decisions regarding your long distance service?"

"Oh no, Mr. McGroin handles that exclusively, and he gets very upset if someone else tries to get involved. This office is not a nice place to be if that happens. He's apt to explode!"

"Oh, uh, I see, well, do you know what long distance carrier you currently have?"

"Mr. McGroin won't even tell us, he's very secretive about it. He's like a dog with a bone."

"I see, well, I guess I'll try later."

"ok, have a nice day."


Good times.