Friday, June 30, 2006

The Everyday Worst Case Scenario Handbook

A project I recently completed here at work is a spoof of an actual book entitled The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. Our client’s version of it was a 24-page, tongue-in-cheek pamphlet designed to help the company’s sales staff overcome presentation nightmares resulting from a host of possible technical glitches. Our client’s spin-off actually contains useful information to help the poor salesperson maintain his calm in the face of computer freezes, power failures, lost internet connections, projector malfunctions and so on.

Anyway, I was given the Piven and Borgenicht book to base my design on and have it here in my hand right now. With this guide, anyone can learn how to escape from quicksand, break into a car and hot-wire it, fend off a shark, wrestle an alligator, take a punch, jump from a building into a Dumpster, leap from a moving car, perform a tracheotomy, deliver a baby in a taxicab, land a plane, survive if your parachute fails to open, etc., etc.

To give you one example, here’s how the authors say you should execute a fast 180 degree turn in your car:

“1. While in drive, or a forward gear, accelerate to a moderate rate of speed (anything faster than forty-five miles per hour risks flipping the car).

“2. Slip the car into neutral to prevent the front wheels from spinning.

“3. Take your foot off the gas and turn the wheel ninety degrees (a quarter turn) while pulling hard on the emergency brake.

“4. As the rear swings around, return the wheel to its original position and put the car back into drive.

“5. Step on the gas to start moving in the direction from which you came.”

Easy, right?

This and the other skills listed in the book are valuable to be sure, but how often in our lives (if at all) will we ever need them? That’s why I think these same two authors should write another book called The Everyday Worst Case Scenario Handbook that covers situations you and I are more likely to run into. For instance, I think we all would welcome advice in cases where you, say, get caught: in a bathroom stall without toilet paper; picking your nose in public; accidentally farting in an elevator; cheating on your spouse; napping on the job; locked outside of your house or apartment naked; mistaking a regular party for a costume party; asking a woman when her baby is due when she isn’t even pregnant; sneezing a messy sneeze with no Kleenex in sight; using your boss’s tie as a napkin while in a drunken stupor; ogling a woman with her jealous husband/boyfriend standing right next to you; or waking up in a jail cell paired with an amorous cellmate nicknamed “Foot Long.”

I have heard that the best thing you can do when caught napping on the job is to straighten up with your eyes still closed and solemnly say, “amen.” For the nose-picking, I suppose the Seinfeld Defense, claiming it was a “rub,” not a “pick,” might be your best option. And for the fart in the elevator scenario, I have a quick story: one time I boarded an elevator just as the only occupant in it left. Upon entering, my sense of smell was immediately pummeled by the unmistakable odor of human-generated methane — obviously the last passenger experienced a profound and regrettable lapse in discretion. As luck would have it, I only traveled two floors up when the elevator stopped to pick up several more passengers. As I was the only one in the cab when they entered, what could I say? We all know the old “he who smelt it, dealt it” rule. A story of how, “yes, I acknowledge the poo poo smell, but it wasn’t me, honest,” would surely be damning. So I think, whether innocent or not, the only thing to be done in that situation is try not to blush.

How would you handle any of the predicaments listed above? Or do you have others you’d care to add?


Blogger Scott said...

Sorry about leaving that in your elevator Mr. Schprock. How was I to know that you would take the rap?

A few first stab guesses:

If you get caught picking your nose in public you could hold it aloft and say, "By the power of Greyskull!" Or look at it thoughtfully and say, "It looks like it's gonna rain."

If you get caught in bed with another woman, you could say, "Thank you nurse, that will be all. Next time though, perhaps I should just come into the office."

As for Foot Long, I thought of using the Ferris Bueller approach and claim to have a scorching case of herpes, but he might rejoice, saying that he does too. How fortuitous.

10:58 AM  
Blogger tiff said...

Mr S - the fart in an elevator excuse should also hold true for when one commits the deed in once's office just before being visited by one's manager, or friend.

As for the "when's the baby due?" when there's no baby due - my first offering would be to NEVER, EVER day this. God know, it' might just be a big ol' ovarion cyst workin' down there...

12:17 PM  
Blogger tiff said...

Or, never SAY this. Whatever.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I have no help, although I do have a story re: When is the baby due?

Great Aunt Mary one time asked BASIL (Born Again Sister-In-Law) when she was due. BASIL simply said, "I'm not pregnant, just fat." She didn't get mad as she figured it was her fault for being overweight.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Every time I read you, I feel like your comedic talents are going without any recompense. Mainly, why don't you have a monthly column in a national newspaper? I really think you could have one with ease. I mean it. I am serious and I know talent when I see it. The "it factor" ... I can spot it and I should've been an agent because of it. LOL

9:30 AM  
Blogger Spirit Of Owl said...

I remember reading this top tip once: If you accidentally drop something under the kitchen table and wish to retrieve it, before diving under first put a pan on your head and so avoid painful and embarrassing bumps.

3:36 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

Bathroom stall? No toilet paper? Simple. Always wad up a Kleenex and place it in the toe of your shoe. This will also come in handy for the messy sneezes. Unless, of course, you are afflicted with both at once. Then you're on your own.

1:04 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Just what kind of life do you lead when not at work, Mr. Schprock, that you need this kind of advice!? Hmmmm??

2:07 PM  
Blogger boo said...

besides the time when i slipped while boarding the train & accidentally shoved my briefcase into the gonads of an old man who was seated & heard the air go out of him? nah, not really.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Happy fourth my friend.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Wordnerd said...

Yeah, I need help with your situations much more than I need complicated instructions for steering my way out of near death. (Sounds like you couldn't pull that off without a compass!) You start working on your book -- we'll all help!

8:29 AM  

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