Monday, June 13, 2005

"The only dumb question..."

"Is one that isn't asked..."

We've all heard the little gem of wisdom at some point in our lives, and I used to believe it.

That is I believed it until I was in the workplace for a few years.

Let me explain. If you've been in the workplace for, say at least a week you've had to attend some sort of mandatory inservice or course at some point. Weather it be a first-aid or CPR course, a sexual harassment seminar or some such yearly bullshit, you've had to sit through one. They're usually the all-day kind with a smarmy know-it-all instructor who spends more time talking about him/herself and their monumental ego on how they've saved the world in their own little insignificant way then to spend any time on the curriculum, and just loved to tell all about it.

But the instructor or the class topic isn't as boring or just plain infuriating as the one person in the class who has to ask questions.

Lots of questions.

Usually impossibly ridiculous hypothetical questions, all day. Interrupting the instructor almost incessantly to the point where the others in your class gather around at the smoke breaks and conspire in Machiavellian conspiracy to commit mayhem on the unsuspecting victim.

A white-collar cabal.

Then, the most maddeningly frustrating time, usually around an hour before the class is scheduled to end, when everyone is positive the instructor will let you all out early so the whole group can en-masse make happy hour at McCleary's Irish Pub, where you all feel you need a drink after putting up with this shithead's stupid questions all day, the instructor says these words that send a chill down your spine...

"So class. Any questions?"


Now this moron raises his hand yet again...

And instead of getting out at 3 PM instead of 4 PM like the class should, you are held hostage by more vacuous questions...

You miss happy hour...

You're now thinking homicidal thoughts...

We've all known folks like this. When I was a cop, I used to carry around the "Nut Magnet". I've since passed that badge of honor to another friend of mine and have now found myself saddled with the "Moron Magnet".

Again, I'll explain.

After about three months of bitching at my supervisor about the long commute to the mine every weekend, he's finally gotten around to hiring someone for that job so I don't have to make the four hour round trip commute every Saturday and Sunday anymore.

So now he's finally hired someone, and in true form, he expects me to train him. ("The Peter Principle" is alive and well at the company I work at... I don't think it's still in print, but if you can find a copy and read it. You'll be glad you did!) So again, for the last three days I've had to drive to the mine and site for twelve hours each day with that one guy who asks the stupid questions.

This job is really a no-brainer. Just sit at a desk, watch the phones and call 911 if there's an emergency. It took me all of two hours to get everything down when I was trained there.

It took thirty-two hours to train this guy, and when I finally left him at it this morning at 2 AM, I was certain he still hadn't gotten it. But I just couldn't take it any more.

I was going to throttle him.

Just one more "What if..." Question and I was going to go apeshit.

"You think you can handle it?" I asked.

"Yeah, I think I got it. But what if I get a terrorist attack? Is the number on the board for Homeland Security?"

"Listen. We're halfway between Grundy and Richlands Virginia, in a tiny coal mine halfway down a holler. Al Qaida or Osama bin Laden is not going to be attacking us anytime in the near future."

"But what if..."

I cut him off at this point.

"Here's the call list." I said in frustration as I pointed at the name of the president of the mine at the top. "Call this guy if you have any questions, ok? I'm going home... Have a good shift!" And I quickly departed for the parking lot. Jumped in my truck and spewed gravel out of the lot before he could ask me anymore 'what if's'...

How much trouble can this guy get into between 2 this morning and 6 AM when the shift is over? It's only four hours...

But then again I tripped the Methane alarm with a fart...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

1 comment:

Becky said...

Something tells me this guy wouldn't have been bright enough to make the connection between his own personal gas and a methane alarm. I'm just guessing.