Saturday, April 01, 2006
I was spurred!
Fellow blogger, Stringman posted a story a while back of a practical joke that had been played on him. That set me to thinking about practical jokes that have been played on me. What better day to post something about practical jokes, but on April Fool's Day.
The one I remember is the last one and probably the best one that was targeted against me. For twenty years I worked in the Stock Market. At the time, I was working in the back office as the Corporate Money Manager. One of my responsibilities was overseeing the equities and margins of the Specialists and Traders. As such, I often found myself out on the Trading Floor going over these individual's accounts.
On the day in question, I was getting annoyed by an inordinate amount of calls to my extension from the Trading Floor. To my chagrin, every call involved something that could not be resolved on the phone. So up from my desk and back out to the Trading Floor on numerous occasions! It didn't register with me that all of these calls were about either non-problems or that they had figured it out just before I made it to their posts.
It took the entire morning before I was able to finish a cup of coffee that wasn't tepid. The calls from the Trading Floor had finally tapered off before I started receiving a spate of calls from the different extensions of the Executive offices. When I received a call from the Chairman-of-the-Board, I was at his door post haste. He said he'd been hearing positive remarks from the Trading Floor of how helpful and resourceful I had been that day. His "You are keeping the herd from getting restless" and " Keep up the good work" send off had me baffled to say the least.
After subsequent visits to the offices of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary/Treasurer as well as the managers of Accounting and Processing offices, I sat down and tried to figure out what in the hell was happening. When I realized that there were several remarks that made reference to the West and cowboys, I was more perplexed than ever. Had it not been that the big-wigs were involved, I would have realized I was being messed with. The Executives, especially the Chairman wouldn't be playing games, I thought.
Just before lunch, I noticed that people from other departments on other floors were passing and stopping momentarily by my cubicle. Some said hello or asked how I was doing. Some snickered, which added further to my angst. I wanted to jump and shout "What the F**k is with you people?"
I had checked and rechecked my fly several times. I had removed my suit jacket to make sure there were no "Kick Me" post-its on my back. I had sniffed my armpits - I was getting desperate. Insecurity had started to creep into my thoughts. My tie matched. My socks were the same color. I had made it home the night before, so I ruled out that I might be wearing the same clothes I'd worn the day before.
Finally, I caught a couple of my "good friends" glancing in the direction of my feet. At first I thought that maybe I'd left the mens room with a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe. How I'd missed seeing them before, especially when I had checked my socks, I'll never know. There they were, on the back of my shoes - spurs! I had been walking around, from my desk to the Trading Floor and back, to the Executive offices, and desk to desk to desk within the Operations Department all morning ... wearing a pair of paper spurs!
"Spurring" was not new to me. This practice had been going on for several months. It had originated at the hands of one the Traders from San Francisco. I had witnessed it. I had laughed. at their expense at those who had previously been spurred. "Dave" was a master at spurring. From Trading Vouchers, he would cut out the rough shape of a spur and then staple a "star" between them. To the open ends he then placed two strips of scotch tape. All he then needed was to have someone's attention diverted by an accomplice, whereupon he would kneel down behind them and attach the spurs to the heel of the victim's shoe. Voila! A "tenderfoot" could be seen walking around wearing spurs.
Who knows which "problem" that had lured me to the Trading Floor, was the one that set me up to be spurred! Once someone was spurred, there was an almost instantaneous message sent throughout the Trading Floor. That of course, was followed by a series of well-placed phone calls, etc. Every call was only an excuse to have me parade around with spurs that didn't jingle jangle. It was the telephones that jingle jangled.
I remembered that it was "Dave" who had been the first to call me that morning with a problem.
It was a harmless enough prank, but for the next several days I heard a lot 'Old West" terms directed in my direction. I guess that was my 'Shootout at the O.K. Corral.' Or was it my 'last round-up?
Happy April Fools Day!
Curmudgeon responsible for this post: Hale McKay at 12:05 AM