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Groundhog Day at the HR Department


The inner sanctum of the HR Department. The midday sun beats through the windows and lights on two individuals.

'Peter, you're great.'

'And so are you, Selina.'

'Not as great as you, Peter.'

'You're still great, Selina.'

'Do you think so? You're not just saying I'm great because I always say you're great?'

'I mean it. You're great.'

'That's great. Here's Mary. Mary, you look great.'

'Well, thank you. You both look great.'

'Not as great as you, Mary.'

'Do you think so? You're not just saying I look great because I always say you both look great?'

'No. You look, and are, great, Mary.'

'That's great. Here's Maureen. Maureen, you look great.'

'Do you think so? You're not all agreeing I look great because I always say you three always look great?'

'No. You look, and are, great.'

'Never complain if someone says you look, and are, great.'

'Maureen, that's why you're so great.'

'And never confide in those who are greater than you are. That way one can't be improved or corrected. Heaven forbid, if one's greatness was to be judged and found wanting.'

'Maureen, you are indeed great. Isn't it wonderful that matters like the prolonged economic downturn, restructuring, organisational changes, job insecurity and cuts, planned redundancies, stress, never impact on our "divine" department?'

'Indeed, Selina. That's precisely why Peter is so great. He has a double face. He is supremely vain. He never speaks without boasting. He recognizes inferiority. He considers himself more intelligent than anyone else. He never hesitates to perform the 'dirty work.' When Board Members, managers, staff, union representatives, ask awkward questions Peter never gives a straight answer. That's why Peter is so great.'

'Oh, Peter, you're excruciatingly great. Shall we all go to the works canteen for lunch?'

'I confess to feeling ill at ease eating close to staff whose jobs are on the line. Let's go somewhere decadently extravagant. After all, we have the money and job security even if 'major reforms' are implemented in the near future. How many people can say that in this day and age?'

'Oh, Peter, you really are so, so, great.'


Reflections: One day, while surreptitiously taping a meeting at work (later transcribed into my diary*), I began to count the number of hairs on my head. I lost count at 82,469 when one hair fell on the floor. I had to start from scratch. It's a widely held belief in scientific circles that if a person is in possession of a full head of hair they should have approximately 100,000 hairs. My mind began to race:
  1. If I pull one hair a day from my head I should be completely bald in about 270 years. Who will continue the process after I am cremated?
  2. I have another 99,999 single hairs to pull out. What if I don't suit being partially, or totally, bald?
  3. Could I sell my hair on eBay? Is there a market for single hairs, or must I have a heap?
  4. What constitutes a heap?
 *Appearance does not deceive the watchful observer. Neither do words nor reputation.