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March 94 - VIEW FROM THE LEDGE

VIEW FROM THE LEDGE

TAO JONES

[IMAGE 099-100_View_From_Ledge_1.GIF]

Before we get rolling here, I have a confession to make to those of you who have read this column in the last two issues. I feel I owe it to you for being so faithful. Due to lead times, publishing deadlines, and attempts to appear organized, develop authors actually write their MacNuggets of wisdom months before you read them. You've already had a chance to be in a New Year's Day fight with your significant other, yet I'm writing this before Hallowe'en.

How do I put this? I've been lying to you. The questions in my earlier columns were fakes. I made them up for my own self-aggrandizement. Which is bad enough, but I also gave myself the heartwarmingly collectible gift that's supposed to be given to the dedicated readers who write in. Like Richard Nixon in the seventies, I guess the only defense I have is: I misspoke myself.

But that's the past, and now my head reels because I've received four letters. (Well, actually I received three and develop's editor got a piece of hate mail.) Now I know what it's like to be 1/150,000th of "Dear Abby."

Dear Tao,

Help! We have a power-hungry team member who is making the rest of the team thoroughly miserable! What can we do? Mutiny has crossed our collective minds, but after reading Mutiny on the Bounty none of us fancies suffering the fate of Mr. Christian.

Desperate

Dear Desperate,

In general you'll find that the world is in turmoil for no reason other than intolerance. If people simply were more tolerant of each other's beliefs, values, customs, and driving skills, the world would be a much more hospitable place. Typically you should try to live in as much harmony as possible with your office workers in an effort to spread peace and happiness in the world. This, however, is not one of those times.

You may be surprised to learn that the answer to your problem was at your fingertips; you just failed to dig far enough for it. All you needed to do was ask yourself a simple question: Whatwas the fate of Fletcher Christian?

Historians have actually tried to cover up thereal reason there was mutiny: it had nothing to do with ill-tempered leadership. Rather, Mr. Christian couldn't stand being in an island-sized sauna with the obese Captain Bligh any longer. To remedy the situation, Mr. Christian decided to send Bligh on a crash diet the old-fashioned way: by making him row across 3500 miles of open ocean.

Shortly after Bligh left, Mr. Christian got out his Apple I computer with cassette tape backup (remember, this was along time ago) and discovered that, by Jove, Bligh might actually make it. The last thing Mr. Christian wanted was to witness a size-6 Bligh parade his new physique around the island. So, he gathered up a bunch of Tahitian babes, sailed over to Pitcairn Island, burned the Bounty, and lived the rest of his life sipping coconut juice in a tropical paradise. The only penalty was that he would never be able to go back to a country where they serve a dish called "Spotted Dick" for dessert. To say it was a fair trade is a gross understatement.

Taking a cue from Mr. Christian, I'd say the following actions are in order: First, get a detailed plan of your building(s) and find the spot that's the furthest from where the mutiny will actually take place; this will be your equivalent of Pitcairn Island. Due to twentieth-century building layout, it's very possible that you may have to choose someplace like a boiler room. This gives you the tropical climate by default, but I'd add some sand and a few posters just to spice the place up a bit. Don't forget to stock enough coconut milk to last until your management turns its attention to some other crisis. Two weeks worth is probably more than enough.

Then, mutiny to your heart's content. Start by issuing a new org chart, and when your troublemaker comes to protest, just do whatever seems to be most natural. Be as loud and obnoxious as possible, and don't forget to throw in lines like "You call yourself a ship's Captain?" and "From now on you get your own breadfruit trees!" Burning things to the ground is optional. I wouldn't recommend it if your paycheck is important to you.

There's a good chance you'll be set for life. Just be sure you don't get so carried away that you start sending postcards to your colleagues from your island retreat. Nothing gives away a hiding spot like a postmark.

Dear Tao,

Every time I get up quickly I become dizzy. Everyone thinks I have a drinking problem. What can I do?

Spinning in Sacramento

Dear Spinning,

You're in a situation that has very serious physical and sociological implications and needs immediate attention. First and foremost, you should get yourself to a doctor. You may have something as complicated and life threatening as transient ischemic attack, or you may just be a ditz. Only a licensed physician will be able to tell for sure. By no means should you rely on self-diagnosis from watching reruns of "Marcus Welby, M.D." Remember, the guy who played Dr. Kiley tried that and he ended up inThe Amityville Horror.

Whatever you do, if you go to a university to get checked, becertainthe person you're talking to is a Medical Doctor. You can't swing a dead cat in that environment without hitting someone who is all too willing to be called "Doctor" yet thinks that "throat culture" has something to do with opera. These people have the title "Doctor of Philosophy," and their specialty is to heal problems with philosophical ideals. If you believe your dizziness is caused by an inability to understand dialectic materialism, this type of doctor is perfect; otherwise, steer clear.

Unfortunately, getting fixed physically won't heal the seeping sociological wound that has opened by everyone thinking you're intoxicated. To tackle this part, first you should decide whether you deserve any time off from work. If you think you do, tell your boss you believe you have a substance abuse problem, and ask to have at least a month off to get yourself treated. If you happen to acquire a tan while you're gone, say that you had to have minor UV therapy for jaundice.

If you don't want the time off, or you want to squelch those rumors once and for all, simply stand up in your next company meeting and say something like, "I know many of you think I have a drinking problem due to my dizzy spells. This simply is not true. I just have a very strange habit of having my head reel whenever I get around a corporate back-stabbing weasel."

RECOMMENDED READING AND LISTENING

  • The Red Couch by Clarke, Moon, and Wackerbarth. Surprisingly, it's lots of pictures of a red couch.
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Good book. Great monitor stand.
  • Godzilla, on Star Child records. The original soundtrack; makes all other music sound great.

TAO JONES was stunned when he discovered that the actual lyrics to The Beatles' "Let It Be," were, "and in my hour of darkness, she is standing right in front of me." He thought the line was, "and in my oblidoplous. . ." and spent the next ten years trying to figure out what an oblidoplous was. *

Tao Index: Roughly 50% of the lawyers in the world graduated in the bottom half of their class. *

Have you seen this polar bear cub?*

Tao needs questions to keep from hoarding the freebies he is supposed to be sending out to you, the devoted reader. Send your queries regarding all aspects of office survival, or just that funny little thing we call "life," to AppleLink DEVELOP, and there's a possibility that you'll end up even cooler than you are now. *

 
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