Common Sense 101

Rough Morning

* NBC is generally a very cool company to work for.  WMAQ is left alone to do its thing with minimal interference from our corporate overlords, and that’s how it should be for creative-types.  But unfortunately, NBC is owned by GE, and GE wants to avoid lawsuits, so we’re forced to endure mind-numbing online training sessions every so often.  Since I’m at work late today, I figured I’d catch up on some of these trainings I’d been ignoring.

The first one was all about “Walking, Working Surfaces and Ladder Safety.”  This course took me to a website that informed me “slips, trips and falls are the highest industrial cause of fatalities within the General Electric Company” AND, they’re “the leading cause of death in the home.”

Are you kidding me?  Are you freaking kidding me?

I’ve worked here just over two years and I haven’t seen anyone slip, trip or fall once.  By the sound of those declarations, you’d think I’d have to wear a hardhat to avoid the dozens of bodies falling from the skies.  You know how many people I know who have died from a slip, trip or fall in my 30 years of life?  Exactly zero.

The Journal of the American Medical Association informs us the leading cause of death in America is heart disease.  Heart disease, General Electric, not slipping and falling.  WHO WROTE THIS THING?  Was it someone who works in one of GE’s banana peel processing factories?  Virtually nobody dies from falling.

As if my rage over that blatant lie weren’t enough, I had to continue my “training.”

The website then informs me that a “slip” is “a loss of balance caused by too little friction between your feet and the walking surface.”  I’m serious.  Click on the image below to see a full-sized version of the screen I had to read.

Look at those pictures.  Just look at them!  Some idiot had to recreate a catastrophic fall and lie there for a picture.  Do you think they got it on their first try, or did the photographer give him direction?  (“No, no.  Look more pained.  Like you were having a great day until you hit the ground.  That’s it.  More!  More!”)

At this point, my intelligence is insulted.  My employer is requiring me to take a training course so I can learn the definitions of words that have existed in my vocabulary since 1979.

But if you think my training was limited to level surfaces, you couldn’t be more wrong.  No, I had to learn how to use the stairs.  Among the site’s helpful tips: “Keep stairs well lit.” 

Really?  That’s my responsibility now?  Should I come to work on the weekends and check the building’s light fixtures?  Or should I just run haphazardly through darkened stairwells and hope that a prayer to the voodoo illumination gods will solve the problem?  How do I turn on the light switch, even if I find it?  GE hasn’t trained me how to work it!  I’m doomed!  DOOMED!

But the training didn’t end with stairs.  Observe this nugget of wisdom: “Select a ladder that is the correct height for the job.”

Hmmm… Which ladder is the correct height for sitting down and typing at a computer?  That’s basically all I do.  I sit in front of a computer.  Sometimes I pick up the phone.  Occasionally I talk to my coworkers.  None of these tasks requires a ladder. 

You know the last time I was on a ladder?  Maybe 2002, when I worked at Best Buy.  I hauled 27″ televisions weighing 100 pounds down a ladder.  My training there was less comprehensive.

My smoldering rage turned into a full-on inferno when I clicked along to see this phrase staring me in the face: “What to do if you fall.”

WHAT TO DO IF I FALL?  I don’t know, how about “let gravity do its job.”  If I’m falling, what do you think I’m going to do?  Reverse the planet’s gravitational field so I fly back up?  Tackle today’s sodoku puzzle in the Trib while I’m on the way down?  Try to cushion the blow by landing on my teeth?

After suffering this foolish exercise for far too long, I had to take a test to prove I understood these advanced concepts.  By that point, I wanted to club my computer to death with the keyboard.

Look, GE, I work in a newsroom.  The most dangerous things I encounter are words.  I don’t work in a nuclear centrifuge or a coal mine.  I think most people know not to juggle serrated knives while climbing a ladder.  Most of us are familiar with the concept of Earth’s gravity.  American journalists have a pretty decent grasp on the English language.

So we really don’t need your stupid, stupid, stupid training.  But thank you for wasting 15 minutes of my life.  I’m sure I won’t miss those on my deathbed.

* The above tirade is what you call, “Biting the hand that feeds you.”  I’m pretty sure I’ll be fired by Monday.  But it had to be said.

* The New York Times takes us behind the scenes of Katie Couric’s demise.  Good article.  You wonder if they’ll move her to mornings.  But who would get bumped from the CBS Early Show?  Certainly not Julie Chen.  She’s married to El Jefe, Les Moonves.  Hard to get better job security than that, even if she’s utterly unwatchable on that reality show monstrosity, “Big Brother.”

* To cut down on prostitution, Indonesia is asking masseuses to wear padlocks on their pants.  Oh, the metaphors I could weave with that story…

* For some reason, the NBC5 bosses decided to stage a dance-off to end our 6 a.m. newscast today.  Since I stuck around late, I got dragged into the control room to boogie down.  That’s the first dancing I’ve done since my brother’s wedding in 2004.  I try to abstain from shaking my groove thang because innocent bystanders are frequently injured by my flailing limbs.  If you caught the live broadcast, you have my deepest apology.  I will try to remain stationary from now on.  (Video here.)

* An Austrian fertility clinic ran out of sperm this week, so they summoned the local firefighters, who ran over and hosed them down with donations.  For this, they were paid 70 Euro.  That’s like $110!  Now I know I’ve never fought a fire, and I’m not in Austria, but…

* At this point, the morning producers are headed out to breakfast with the anchors to discuss blowing up and rearranging the shows.  My show, being perfect, will serve as the model upon which everything else will be patterned.  It’s good to be the king, even if the king sometimes has to prove he knows how to walk without falling down a flight of stairs.

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4 responses to “Common Sense 101

  1. Soften the blow by “cushioning the fall with my teeth?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH! You made me laugh out loud!

  2. I think you could augment your income by donating to that sperm bank. See if they accept donations via UPS…dry ice, your donation and overnight delivery should still make you some $$ and the shipping and dry ice would be deductable as business expenses. If you dedicate one room in you apartment to this side job, that would be deductable too, as well as any equipment needed…TV, DVD player, surround sound, raw liver.
    Also check with the sperm bank for any awards they might have for donators like the blood bank has…Gallon Club, etc.
    Your loyal readers are always looking out for you.

  3. Who is that wise face next to your screen? I am Austrian by the way … :-)

  4. Pingback: “The secret to being happy” « Ben’s Breakfast Blog

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