Bow to the Absurd – #1LinerWeds

Last Wednesday, I shared the story of a bully meeting his match. A story of how my supporting Audit Manager called Mr., X’s insecure bluff and scared him into accepting my apology. The story doesn’t end there. Following that brief meeting, our investigative work continued, and many system flaws and weaknesses were uncovered. So many flaws and weaknesses that the audit team came very close to including an extra paragraph in their letter to be included in the company’s Annual Report. No one ever wants that extra paragraph!

Instead, the Audit Partner accepted the lamest collection of “mitigating controls” ever assembled and gave the company a clean opinion. He followed that with a scathing Management Letter which quickly led to my being invited to a meeting with the manager of the system at the center of the problems.

I agreed to meet, but I informed the manager that I would be bringing “DT” with me, in order to answer any specific questions. DT was the person whose offhand remark about the situation had inadvertently offended an employee, thus causing the meeting with Mr. X.

DT was a developer, a programmer who spent most of his time working with other programmers and various bits of equipment. This was the first meeting of this kind he had been invited to. He was nervous and wondered if he should really be going with me. I told him:

This is probably just a formality. They need to be able to tell their bosses that they met with us, discussed the Management Letter recommendations and that we’re all happy. We’ll go there, they’ll have coffee and donuts, we’ll chit-chat for a while, go over the recs and we’ll be on our way. Don’t worry.

When we arrived that the building, we had to sign in at the security station. Ironically, that had been one of our findings, that the security station was often unmanned. A receptionist met us and offered to lead us to the conference room. Once outside the room, she offered a murky: “They’re waiting for you inside” which made me wonder if Rod Serling was about to step out from behind the plants and tell a viewing audience that DT and I were about to enter the Twilight Zone.

We opened the door and stepped inside. We were taken aback at the sight of a rectangular grouping of conference tables with 15 people already sitting and two empty chairs at the end closest to us. DT looked at me and, loud enough for all to hear, said:

Does this mean we’re not having donuts?

DT and I burst into uncontrolled and totally inappropriate laughter. The meeting went sharply downhill from there, but as my mentor from the future, John Luc Picard would say: “Sometimes, you just have to bow to the absurd.”


This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, I’d encourage you to join in on the fun. You can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

72 thoughts on “Bow to the Absurd – #1LinerWeds

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  1. Ooohhh….I can’t wait for the next installment! I like your friend. Great sense of humor. I don’t think your squirrel pal can afford to eat another peanut or he’ll be stuck on this side of that gate. Lol Hallooo Maddie! Enjoy that long awaited sunshine girlfriend. I hope you are having a good week Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I might skip the finale, it gets technical. This was a horrible meeting, but worse for them than us, they eventually had to fix that mess.

      Maddie is enjoying the warm days and the sunshine. That squirrel survived the winter very well 😏

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Judy. It’s hard to imagine looking back on this. I’m still pretty well wrapped up in it and it still seems absurd at times. Maddie is enjoying the arrival of real spring. I hope you have a good week.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bowing to the absurd…this is a good one to remember for many of life’s situations. I will keep this in mind at work, where most of my absurdity reigns. One thousand bonus points for weaving a Jean Luc one-liner into the donut one-liner.

    By the way, where ARE the donuts? Don’t they come with this post?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Inappropriate laughter is the best! Sometimes I really need that to lighten a situation. That was great. Is that MuMu’s paw photobombing MiMi’s adorable photo? I know you know, but Maddie is such a pretty girl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lois. Laughter is such a benefit. That’s one of MiMi’s paws. She contorts herself in some strange positions. Sometimes, I grab her paw and say “which for is this, MiMi?” You can imagine how much she enjoys that. Maddie is a cutie. She’d driving us crazy right now. She is in season, and it’s a chore.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You spun this into a great story, Dan. I really enjoyed it — especially the laughing at the end. Oh, and “Sometimes, you just have to bow to the absurd.” Fabulous.
    At first it made me think of an interview right after I got my T-com degree (although I didn’t go for my BS until late in life). I drove to another state, for an interview with the manager of a small tech company. He told me he’d be the only interviewer. When I got there it was a panel of at least a dozen people (most of the company). It actually went well… but they were all young guys and I was a 41 year old woman, so I didn’t get the job… even though they asked to keep the example documents I had printed and bound for my portfolio. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was their loss, Teagan. They probably studied your examples, looking for a clue.

      Remembering Mr. X reminded me of this meeting. I was working with my best friend at the time, and we were talking about this episode lately. I have to share my worst interview at some point. Maybe on a Monday when I’m tempted to start talking about math ;-)

      Times like this, when you know it’s not going to end well, you have to find your own way to step out of the funk.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Does this mean we’re not having donuts?”

    I would have spun around and walked out, right there.

    Probably, the meanest thing I have ever heard in a meeting, and also the most poignant, was when an IT manager announced that doughnuts would no longer be supplied by vendors because of “conflict of interest” and “ethical” rules.

    One of the cops I worked with then asked, “So that means the girlfriend who you tossed a couple on million in contracts to, gets to skimp on doughnuts?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was tempting.

      Vendors have cut a lot of things under the guise of “resolving conflicts of interest” including customer service (it seems).

      No donuts for police ?? Sounds like a stereotype violation.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Best one liner ever!! 😂😂 That’s something I would have said, inappropriate or not, to calm my nerves or break the ice. Laughter of any kind is appropriate so long as it’s not directed at someone in a mean way.

    Great photo gallery today. Really LOVE the closeup of Maddie’s head. Even though you can’t see her face, it’s a frame-worthy shot. I think you should brush the squirrels tail Dan! And good for MiMi….she holds her ground!

    Happy Hump Day!
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. It seemed like a good day to feature the red head in her sunny glory. MiMi likes to go out on the porch, once it’s in summer mode, and bake in the sun. As for the squirrels, I’ll feed them but they can brush their own tails :)

      I’m not sure the employees appreciated our laughter, but it did help us to relax and that proved to be important.

      Thanks for the comment, I hope you’re having a good week.

      Like

  7. Too funny, Dan. I hope you’re having some glorious weather today. It’s almost 80 already at noon, which is really to hot for me, but it will be back to more normal spring temperatures soon. Hoping we get some rain soon, though.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My weather app says it’s 86 right now, a temperature I never need to experience unless I’m somewhere like the Southwest, when it would be a cool spell. :-) Over the next days, though, it’s going to get back into the 70’s and upper 60’s, which is much nicer!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Absurd is right! I’ve been in way too many similar situations. My company once hired a “customer satisfaction expert” to lead an offsite while they laid off a bunch of people. Only word got out that while we were being lectured our friends were being shown the door and that poor expert lost total control of the group.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bowing to the absurd… a meeting without donuts certainly qualifies as that. Stories like yours continue to make me grateful to be out of the idiocracy of bureaucracy. Although, I feel as if we’ve been “bowing to the absurd” a lot lately, working or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s funny! I love it when that happens and it lightens the situation, and more people start laughing, but this was obviously an inside joke. :)

    Like Mary, I’m going to have to remember this one liner. It’s brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I definitely would not have been able to keep a straight face at the one-liner “Does this mean we aren’t getting donuts?” Thanks for the early morning laugh. You’ve set up my day perfectly 😆

    If I was still working, I would be tempted to add ‘bowing to the absurd’ into the job descriptions of all my staff 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It sounds like your story develops into what one of my family members sometimes faces (he’s a safety inspector). And it so often happens to people who want to be nice and cordial to others. Sometimes doing the right thing is paid with a price – sorry you had to go through this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In this case, we were conducting a review for the customers of this company. Millions of dollars were involved and security was (should have been) a high priority.

      Most of these reviews went smoothly. This was one of the worst. The safety inspector in your family probably has seen dangerous conditions that could cost someone his/her life. I was only dealing with money.

      Like

  13. I think that was the best laugh I’ve ever had from a blog post. I’d forgotten that Jean Luc said that line. He always had a nice leadership style with that twinkle in his eye humor. I enjoyed this very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jennie. There is a part three. It’s not particularly funny. Actually, it’s a little scary…and technical. I’m going to try to write it, but I hope to spare you any boredom.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I liked your reference to Jean Luc Picard. My Dad loved the serious tone to his leadership. 🤔
    My concern for the situation was quieted as you didn’t seem too concerned. I would have been very nervous with 15 people gathered inside. . . So glad you both laughed! It may have helped the tension level.
    Hope this finds you in a nearly over state of mind / almost the weekend mood, Dan. 🍻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Robin. The laughter made us more relaxed, but it didn’t help the meeting. I may try to finish this story next week, if I can stay out of the IT weeds.

      Picard is/was/will be a great Captain.

      Like

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