Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Ms. Smith: The Killing Joke

Now this is getting out of hand! I’m supposed to be on vacation right now! But where am I? In the office! And where should I be? Laying on a couch with a bowl of Fruit Loops balanced precariously on my stomach watching cartoons. This . . . is . . . not . . . right!

Ms. Smith is to me what Professor Moriarty was to Sherlock Holmes. She is my Lex Luthor, my Hamilton Burger, my Inspector Javert, my archest of arch-nemeses. She haunts my thoughts, she invades my dreams. She’s the hoarfrost that blights the bloom of my hopes and aspirations. Damn you! Damn you to hell, Ms. Smith!

Here was my plan: I had seven vacation days left to spend before the year’s end (my company has a use ’em or lose ’em policy regarding vacation days). So I planned to take all of this week off and Monday and Tuesday of next week. That meant that if you include the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, I had the equivalent of roughly two weeks to sit on my rear end and be of no practical use to anybody. Not bad, right?

The catalog job, the very bane of my existence, absolutely had to go out to the printer Wednesday, November 23. Had to. If it didn’t, then Judgment Day would come. Great portents would occur: the sky would turn red, the earth would shake, people would dress up in leisure suits and go-go boots, David Letterman would forget his Top Ten List, George Bush would articulate his thoughts at college level, and my cat would start using the toilet. A strange, new world, frightening and apocalyptic.

But the catalog didn’t go out. The world, thankfully, has continued to spin on its axis and people haven’t yet started to spontaneously combust. But because of Ms. Smith and and her stubborn refusal to let go, I'm still here and a good chunk of the catalog is still here with me.

Here’s a good example of what’s happening: beside this larger, main catalog, there are three mini-catalogs that have spun off of it. For reasons too technical and abstruse for my limited mind to comprehend, even though the mini-catalogs are begotten of the larger “mother” catalog, they had to release first — despite the million holes still left in them. That was Monday, November 21 (their original deadline was November 8). So Ms. Smith camped out at our office and made edits upon edits upon edits to the mini-catalogs, bringing us close to the local FedEx office’s deadline of 8:30. When the time drew nigh, rather than stop her painstaking and maddening copy edits (edits that, incidentally, should have been done weeks ago), she called the FedEx office at Logan Airport to confirm that their office didn’t close until 9:30. Great, right? So her red pen continued to do its devilish work and we had just enough time to get everything packaged for her to hit the Batmobile and race to Logan before 9:30.

Well, this is the last day, I just know it. Then I can rest and regroup and spend some quality time with the cat. And Oprah.


Blogger Scott said...

I'm starting to believe that Ms. Smith will meet a Gorfian doom. I feel sorry for her husband, if she even has one. Ah, Ms. Smith. I get it. Well it's no damn wonder.

7:58 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

I'd like to know what manner of man could wed that wench.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I would dearly love to come to Boston and smack Ms. Smith.

Especially for giving the rest of us single women a bad reputation. ;-)

10:15 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Poor Mr.Schprock.
And poor kitty. Doesn't get to spend any time with you because of the wench we will call Ms. Smith.
(I just wanted to use a bunch of W words in a row there...)

11:05 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I would dearly love to come to Boston and smack Ms. Smith."

I'll provide airfare and a lawyer.

"…the wench we will call Ms. Smith."

The wicked word-wielding wench of my work?

11:41 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

"I would dearly love to come to Boston and smack Ms. Smith."

Get in line. There's strong, assertive, successful women in buisness and then there's Ms. Smith. From everything I've learned about her from John and mr. schprock, she's only difficult and annoyingly inept in ARTICULATING what the hell she wants.

I am very baffled as to why she is as well paid as she is.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

I'd wonder exactly what kind of "last day" Ms Smith is actually expecting from you... :!

12:58 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I'd wonder exactly what kind of 'last day' Ms Smith is actually expecting from you... :!"

I don't know, but I really hope it doesn't involve voodoo incantations and human sacrifice.

BTW, I read your second short story the other day about the music agent — incredible job, just incredible. Everybody, follow the links that take you to Spirit of Owl's (Neil White's) website, hit the "short fiction" button and read some outstanding stuff. The man can write.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Still no vacation?

I still picture her really hot---but I hate that Ms Smith (and her frozen apple pies!!!)

2:10 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I still picture her really hot…"

Actually, one of the guys here in the office has a hankering for her, but she leaves me completely cold. All of her boyfriends must undergo a mandatory medical screening and delousing before entering her boudoir.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Jaxx said...

Let me see if I have this right...The final hold up of this catalog was her last minute copy edits? This was in addition to her inability to tell you exactly what she wanted which led all those other delays earlier on in the process? Ugh.

Well, enjoy the rest of your vacation!

5:03 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

I worked at a TV station a few years back, in the Creative Services department (we made those annoying local commercials. ...well, we didn't TRY to make them annoying, but local advertisers make them turn out that way). There was an oft-told story of the woman who owned a plumbing supply company. Every year she would insist that a video crew come to her store THE DAY AFTER THANKSGIVING, the day that the whole rest of the station (except the news on-air and production, and the master control staffs) was given as a holiday, to shoot a commercial, because she wanted her grandchildren in it, and they only came to town that one time every year.

Then one year she received her proof copy and hit the roof because the plumber (whom, I'm sure, was none too thrilled to be away from his family on the holiday so that he could be in a damn commercial) "working" under a sink in a particular shot had dirt under his fingernails! LADY, HE'S A PLUMBER! THEY GOT DIRT UNDER THEIRT FINGERNAILS!!

OH! And she didn't understand why the cost of shooting a commercial went up, so she refused to pay more than she did the first year her company had a commercial made TEN YEARS EARLIER! I'd like to have seen one of HER customers try that one in her store. They'd have laughed their asses off as they told that customer not to bother to come back!

And that's what happened to her. She had been passed from one ad sales person to the next and to the next until she finally wound up with the sales manager. She was so combative and nit-picky and perfectionist that the sales manager, who had heard it from all of the sales staff and finally saw it for himself, told her, in effect, "Ma'am, you are not worth the effort you demand from this company. Please take your business elsewhere, because we don't want your money." And he showed her the door.

Mr. Schprock, perhaps there is someone in charge at your company who will weigh the man-hours spent, and the talent wasted on kissing Ms. Smith's ass versus the amount of money she or her company is spending for your time, and perhaps such person has the testicular fortitude to tell her she's not worth the attention she thinks she is, and will show her the door.

Give that task to the guy who wants to slip into her tights.

6:56 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Sorry Michele, I missed this one:

"I am very baffled as to why she is as well paid as she is."

That is the big mystery. She continues to climb the ladder and her paycheck keeps getting bigger and bigger. She was actually wooed away from her last job to take this one. I will say this for her: she puts in very long hours. A typical day for her could run from 9:00am to 1:30am the following morning. She's an incredible control freak.

"Well, enjoy the rest of your vacation!"

Thanks, Jaxx. Here it is, 9:30am on a work day and I'm kicking back with a cup of decaf perusing the blogs.

"…and perhaps such person has the testicular fortitude to tell her she's not worth the attention she thinks she is, and will show her the door."

One of the guys I work with keeps meaning to show me an article he read entitled something like: When It's Time to Fire Your Client. Our bosses know what's going on, they deal with her occasionally and read the timesheets, but they don't do the actual work nor put in the hours. The creative director arrives at 8:30am and leaves at 4:30pm punctually, and the president's hours — always irregular — have not varied a bit throughout all this.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Dreadmouse said...

I hear stories like this and it makes me wonder about life priorities and how we choose them. If Ms. Smith stepped in front of a bus tomorrow, would the best thing people said about her at the funeral be "she managed a mean catalogue, that woman?"

Does Ms. Smith know how disruptive she is to other people's lives? Does she care? Does her mother love her and look forward to seeing her during the holidays?

I truly, don't understand people who give their lives to a company.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Oh, I'd smack her in the street (you point her out) and then I'd run like hell in my sneakers while she's all prissy in her heels and suit.

10:06 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Does her mother love her and look forward to seeing her during the holidays?"

You got me laughing on that one. It reminds me of when Homer asked Mr. Burns if, when he came home at night, his money hugged him. because that's all he has.

"Oh, I'd smack her in the street (you point her out) and then I'd run like hell in my sneakers while she's all prissy in her heels and suit."

Our luck she knows ju jitsu and her high heels quickly convert into a martial arts weapon.

10:22 AM  

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