Thursday, February 09, 2006

John Joseph Hammel: May He Rest in Peace



Well, here it is, 9:05 AM on a Thursday morning and my friend and colleague, John Hammel (of Random_Squeegee fame), has not yet shown up for work. He knows our office hours are from 9 to 5. Either one of two things have happened: he has either become incapacitated due to a severe injury, or, what is more likely, he is dead. Folks, the full force of this terrible news has yet to sink in. John was only 27 years old and had so much to live for. Excuse me, dear reader, as I attempt to assuage my grief — to make sense of this tragic loss — by sifting through some fond memories of our dear, departed, blogger brother.

It was I who hired him to work for this graphic design studio some five years ago. T’was a wee, shy lad who I let through the door that day, clutching his portfolio case as if he’d never let it go and tripping over a corner of the rug midway though his introduction. He mainly showed me cartoons he had drawn, which indicated the boy had talent. However, I was looking for an intern, not some damned cartoonist, a lackey to answer the phones, run errands and generally pick up after us while keeping out of our way. He was likable, sure, but not very socially skilled. Could I trust this quaking ragamuffin to answer the phones? To be the voice of our company? I gave the matter a half a minute of serious thought after we ended the interview. I then made my firm decision.

However, when no one else applied for the position, I called John up and offered him the job anyway. This was how the conversation went:

ME: Hi, this is Johann Sebastian Schprock of Screaming Cow Meat Processing and Design, Inc. Is this John Hammel?

HAMMEL: Yeah

ME: Oh, hey John. Um, this is about that intern position you applied for?

HAMMEL: Uh huh.

ME: Well, I’m just calling to let you know you got the job.

HAMMEL: Uh huh.

(pause)

ME: Soooooo . . . can you start Thursday at 9:00 am sharp?

HAMMEL: Sure

ME: Well, okay. Good. Yeah, well . . . I’ll see you then. Then. I mean, when you get there, I’ll see you. Then.

HAMMEL: Good bye. (click) (dial tone)

An inauspicious start to be sure. And, a week after he started, I had the satisfaction of being proven right: my boss had him taken off the phones and I found myself obliged once again to answer the phone myself.

History will show, however, that John was not a total wash-out. No, far from it. Not only was he a good intern, but he was good entertainment as well. The first time I could see the young fellow had a sense of humor occurred within his first week while I was watching an online cartoon about two college roommates. One roommate was just an average schlub like you and me, but the other was a superhero; he could transform himself into this giant, blue, muscular being who could fly anywhere he wanted and perform amazing feats. When he wasn’t a superhero, he looked just like an average human being, and I mean a total dick of a human being, everybody’s idea of the worst roommate imaginable. Has anybody seen this cartoon? I’ve completely forgotten the name of it. No matter. Anyway, I was showing an episode to John, and he said, yeah, he was acquainted with the series (John, by the way, was acquainted with EVERYTHING on the internet). Then he told me to wait until I got to the later episodes — it was like everybody in the show got hit with a “forget ray,” because things that were true for the beginning episodes, the rules that were followed, were forgotten in the later ones. In other words, there was a continuity problem with the series. But his way of expressing it, calling it a “forget ray,” stuck with me.

Random_Squeegee readers, it turned out that what you’ve read in his blog, those witty, off-beat posts, was really how he thought and talked. I used to tell him he should be a writer for The Tonight Show or David Letterman. I suggested he should have his own stand-up act. Being so shy, he said that if he ever gave such a thing a try, he’d have to do his entire comedy routine with his back to the audience — which, of course, would have been funny! There are many examples of his humor, but right now I’m so torn up emotionally I can’t think of them all. I’ll just give you John’s two standard pick-up lines:

PICK-UP LINE 1: Will you accept my seed?

PICK-UP LINE 2: Drunk yet? No? Okay, I’ll be back later.

That, my friends, is comedy gold. But it is gold that has lost it’s luster, because John Hammel will never (sniff) make us laugh again…



Oh, wait a minute — here he is. I guess he was just late. Never mind.

29 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Hey, I'm 26! And I wasn't late! Are you trying to get me in trouble with Michele?

Ironically, I don't ever rememeber saying "forget ray."

But I do remember being told I wasn't allowed to answer the phones. That was...unpleasant.

10:59 AM  
Blogger Mrs.T said...

LOL... This is so something I would write about someone coming in late to the office...even if perhaps he wasn't late... you know because I too am just weird like that.

Poor John.. LOL..

11:00 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Hey, I'm 26! And I wasn't late! Are you trying to get me in trouble with Michele?

"Ironically, I don't ever remember saying 'forget ray.'"

(sigh) Does everyone see what I have to put up with everyday?



"This is so something I would write about someone coming in late to the office…"

I was just about to call the morgue when he came strolling in.

11:24 AM  
Blogger John said...

"I was just about to call the morgue when he came strolling in."

Stop that!

11:31 AM  
Blogger LL said...

Are you sure he's dead? I mean he could just be late from visiting his other girlfriend for a quick fast break...

You remember her... the one that he left at noon on SuperBowl Sunday to go see for the afternoon...

5:01 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

Can I have his whoopee cushion collection?


Word Verification: khbtz, as in, "I'd rather not play cards with you guys, I'll just khbtz"

8:40 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Hey John, Jim Morrison got his start with his back turned to the audience. That bodes well for your career.

4:42 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"You remember her... the one that he left at noon on SuperBowl Sunday to go see for the afternoon..."

You mean Carmelita? Yeah, she comes to the office a lot. How she can walk in that tight leather mini skirt and spiked heels I'll never know. John calls her his "hoochie coochie girl."


"Can I have his whoopee cushion collection?"

Sorry, Farrago, we've gotten several calls from the Smithsonian looking for that.


"Hey John, Jim Morrison got his start with his back turned to the audience. That bodes well for your career."

You know, he does have kind of a Jim Morrison attitude as well. It could work.

5:47 AM  
Blogger John said...

I promise that I've never used the words "hoochie coochie."

And I don't have a whoopie cushion collection. I make those noises the organic way.

6:04 AM  
Blogger boo said...

organic noises! RIP.

wv: jojxgtxsgj (your everyday hell in joke land)

7:02 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"And I don't have a whoopie cushion collection. I make those noises the organic way."

You mean when you put one hand under your armpit and flap your other arm like a chicken? Yes, a man of your talents wouldn't need a whoopie cushion.

"jojxgtxsgj"

Jo-jix-guh-tix-suh-guh-juh.

That's my Native American name. It means Writes Silly Posts Too Much.

7:25 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

That John, such a funny boy he was. Oh, you say he's not dead? Hmm...well, I guess that's interesting too. I'll just put this obituary away for now. Maybe Michelle can find a use for it later.

8:57 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"That John, such a funny boy he was. Oh, you say he's not dead? Hmm...well, I guess that's interesting too."

Dead . . . not dead. Dead is such a funny word — it can mean so many things. Who can truly say what he is?

9:01 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

"And I don't have a whoopie cushion collection. I make those noises the organic way."

I'm beginning to think that your other co-worker whose name rhymes with "Joe" isn't the most annoying.

Word verification word: "cuntl" That doesn't make me happy. Whoops. It was "cvntl" That's ok then.

9:28 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I'm beginning to think that your other co-worker whose name rhymes with "Joe" isn't the most annoying."

In the old office, John and Joe sat near each other and they both sighed frustrated sighs ALL THE TIME. Truly harmonious it was.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Jaxx said...

I hope Michele's the understanding type.

10:15 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I hope Michele's the understanding type."

Oh, God, she HAS to be!

10:21 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

OMG! Where do I start!! Hahahaha! Hahahahaaha....ahhhhhahaha....uh, sorry...

Ok then... Thanks to me having to be at work earlier than he does, he's been getting to work early. Since we've gotten the new car, we go to the T station together. Let's face it, that boy would be late to his own funeral....;)

And mr. schprock, I can sooooo imagine John's lack of social skills when he interviewed with you.....I remember him telling me about not being allowed to answer the phones! According to him, he's gotten a little bit better about talking to people but not by very much. Apparently, having a girlfriend who doesn't mind telling people what for when needed helps. I'm always making him talk to people when he doesn't want to. He'd rather I did all that...

All the unpleasant things like complaining about bad or rude service, making service appointments, reservations that involve talking to people, asking directions, etc. all falls to me. Or it just doesn't get done. It can be very exhausting. ;)

I absolutely agree that he has more talent than he knows what to do with....I'm trying to get him motivated to do something about that. I think it's just wrong that he has all this talent- drawing, stories, writing- and not DO something with it!

If only you guys could sit in on dinner one time when John and his brothers are there. It's like a frickin' sitcom! I'm not exaggerating. Those boys are hilarious without even trying. I feel like a simpleton sometimes not being able to keep up with such wittiness. I do have an occational moment now and then.

One of John's most endearing...."traits" I guess is that he can't lie to save his life. Not even a harmless little white lie. I catch him on it every time!! That along with his paralyzing fear of talking to women assures me he is incapable of ever cheating on me. Unless the woman kidnaps him and pounces on him, I think I'm safe. If it weren't for the internet, I don't think John and I could ever have gotten together. We talked online for a long time before then talking on the phone and then meeting in person. Can you imagine how things would have been if it didn't happen that way?

10:48 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Michele, I haven't the slightest doubt everything you say is 100% correct. Just before you arrived on the scene, I was shopping for a ventriloquist's dummy to give to John, which he could then carry around and use to do all of his "talking." You know, if the restaurant didn't cook his chicken just the right way, it would be the curmudgeonly Mr. Grumps, and not John, who chews out the cook. Or Mr. Grumps could call Gateway and ask them where the hell's that computer John Hammel ordered. Who knows? If I went through with it, maybe you would have received that first romantic phone call from Mr. Grumps.

11:11 AM  
Blogger John said...

" Let's face it, that boy would be late to his own funeral....;)"

Of course I'd be late, I'd be dead.

Thanks for the other stuff. I'll give you a longer thanks on Tuesday. :)

11:15 AM  
Blogger LL said...

Damn JG... you should'a posted that at your Blog and called it an update. :P

4:00 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"Damn JG... you should'a posted that at your Blog and called it an update. :P"

Well, she didn't, and it's now property of The Schprock Report. All rights reserved.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Freakin' hilarious!

I loved the "are you drunk yet" pick-up line!

5:07 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"I loved the 'are you drunk yet' pick-up line!"

Yes, our Mr. Hammel is a walking, talking one-liner machine.

5:38 AM  
Blogger John said...

Of course I was always way too shy to ever actually use any of the lines. Some others were "You could do worse", "I have so much love to give" and "Look, I know I'm not you're first choice, but you're not really mine, either, so..." That one was known as the "consolation prize" line.

5:44 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Poor John.

My friend's favorite "pick-up" line was: "Does this look infected to you?" Somehow he's married and has kids...

9:54 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Holy moly. Those are all the worst pick up lines I have ever... seen.

BTW- for some reason, when I looked at the title to this post today I got John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt stuck in my head.
Thanks.

10:37 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"My friend's favorite "pick-up" line was: 'Does this look infected to you?' Somehow he's married and has kids..."

Of course he is. "Does this look infected to you?" is the king of all pick-up lines.


"Holy moly. Those are all the worst pick up lines I have ever... seen."

Genius is so misunderstood and unappreciated in its own time.

10:57 AM  
Blogger John said...

"Genius is so misunderstood and unappreciated in its own time"

Amen to that. One day, in the distant future, these words will echo throughout the holy temple, "And he did sayeth unto her, 'Willist thou accept mine seed?'"

7:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home