Many years ago, when I was but a wee babe in the woods, I wrote full time for a dot-com called The Humor Network; a series of “joke of the day” sites that sent out daily e-mails with street jokes and Internet jokes and funny lists and all the junk your parents forward you in a desperate attempt to keep you remembering they exist. The e-mails would have ads on the tops and bottoms, and the idea was that since all these jokes were great, they would get forwarded and “go viral” and so every subscriber you paid to reach, you would also be reaching all their friends.
Our only advertiser was 2-4-1 Inkjets.
The company went the way of most of these companies, which was too bad. We had a suite of offices off of Times Square, and my job was so simple that I would generally be done within the first half-hour of working there. And while I wouldn’t say it was my best work, this stuff still, all these years later, continues to pop up in my Google Alerts. The following is something I wrote my first week there that is still getting passed around:
Welcome aboard! You are one of our most valued new employees. Enclosed please find some helpful guidelines to company policy.
OVERTIME: The Company has an optional overtime policy — you have the option of working forty hours of overtime or eighty hours of overtime.
PROMOTION: The Company rewards hard work and devotion. We like to think that if you work hard and devote enough time and energy to the company, you will be rewarded by being allowed to train the CEO’s son when he is promoted to Vice President over you.
STOCK OPTIONS: You may buy shares in the company when it goes public. So named because you’ll be working in the stock room at Wal-Mart when the company goes belly-up due to your incompetence.
401K: This is how much money you’ll lose under your “Stock Option” plan.
HELLTH PLAN: No, that isn’t a misprint; you now belong to an H.M.O. That stands for “Hell’s Medical Organization.” It was organized by some of Hell’s finest minds; Hitler, Genghis Khan, and Josef Stalin worked night and day to create a 162-page manual documenting the exact terms of your coverage, but it all boils down to three points:
1) You belong to the HMO. We mean that literally — as of now, the HMO owns you. To insure that you don’t forget your subscriber number, we will tattoo it to your forehead.
2) You have been assigned a primary care physician. You will not be told your physician’s name. You may never see your physician. Your physician is imaginary. If you see any doctor without express written permission of your imaginary primary care physician, you will be forced to pay full price, plus eat your weight in lard.
3) You are not covered under this plan.
TERMINATION: All employees will be given two weeks notice upon being fired. We like to feel that this gives an employee a “grace period” to steal all of the office supplies that he or she may have forgotten to take during his or her period of employment.
COMPLAINTS: May be made anonymously in the box marked “Complaints” in the employee break room. All complaints will be reviewed, processed, and fed to an angry Rottweiler named Frankie.