Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How to Survive a Lousy Business Presentation

I was cleaning up my office files and ran across a folder of notes from a business conference I attended two weeks after beginning my present job.

I remember writing the sheet posted below. We were about forty minutes into a presentation that was slated to continue another forty. I was certain that I was going to die from boredom. Truly. It seemed inevitable that I would slip, unconscious, beneath the waves of inanity gushing from the speaker, and there expire.

Doodling might have saved me, had I not been seated next to my boss. Scientific evidence suggests that busy hands actually help one's retention rate, but bosses don't care. Bosses always expect one to do the professional thing: keep the eyes forward, nod every so often, and fantasize about sex with a tabloid celebrity.

If you can't do that, and I couldn't, you can pretend to take notes. Doesn't matter what you write, unless your boss has superior eyesight. On this day, the Latin word matella (-ae, f.), which means "chamber pot," popped into my head. Highly appropriate during a presentation that was a pile of crap.

I amused myself by inserting matella into a couple of sentences. Alas, my vocabulary was limited by a curriculum heavy on Caesar.

(Jean and Vivienne, get out your red pens. But be nice. I'm just a grammar school boy.)

Latin Scribbles from a Stupid Business Meeting

If you don't enjoy Latin, letters of resignation in any language are always fun.

Actually, I'm thinking about writing one right now.

45 comments:

jane said...

Latina lingua pulchra est.

Or something like that.

-jane-

Vivienne said...

I can't be arsed to find Kennedy's Shorter Eating Primer (all ex-school copies are amended thusly), but the grammar looks pretty good. I'd probably fiddle with the word order (like an inflected language needs a specific word order anyway) but that's because of too many years of Cicero.

A classical education is a wonderful thing...and right now I hope no-one in my work's IT section has one, because my passwords have been a selection of the most obscene words I can think of in Latin (I've studied Petronius and Juvenal with a little bit of Martial - I've got enought to keep me going for several years)

Sarah said...

Very funny. Amazing what you find when you clean your office.

DK said...

I love it. Love it. That's so much better than my habit of conjugating French verbs at the dentist (which is better that the game of, what's in my mouth now?). I have a similar list, though written on hospital chart paper, from a very LONG and BORING afternoon on the renal service when I was a medical student. It's titled "Things that would be a better use of my time than this" and includes things like "pondering the secret life of ducks." Meanwhile I looked like such an attentive and productive almost-doctor...

jill said...

Oh, wow.

That's so much more erudite than what I used to do: write the lyrics to an entire song just to see if I could remember them without humming. That little habit kept me awake in many a dull college class, as well as serving to prove to anyone who cared (current count = 0) that I could remember all the words to narrative songs like "Raised on Robbery," but had a slightly harder time with non-narrative ones.

Rabbitch said...

I find it disturbing to be willing to admit that I actually ~do~ enjoy Latin. In fact I'm so old I took it in school when they were still speaking it ...

Julia said...

I love you.

datatech57 said...

I lived in Kenya for two years, so all my passwords are Swahili or, even more obscure, Luhayo. Comes in handy. I am told that there are no real dirty words in Swahili. Well, maybe one.

David said...

Go here:
http://www.baetzler.de/humor/handy_latin.html

Right now!

Mia said...

Semper ubi sub ubi. Those Romans always had such good advice...

I absolutely love your blog. It helps the workday pass more quickly!

meg said...

I like the anagram game, where you write a phrase related to your boring meeting - "classified advertising" is a favorite of mine - at the top of your legal pad, and then see how many other words you can make by rearranging the letters. Good times, good times.

Norskybear said...

I can't believe that I was actually checking for proper declension. As if I could come up with anything in Latin these days. Maybe I should start picking it up again.

Catullus LXXXV: Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris? Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

Highly appropriate with our job situations, no?

Carol said...

Has no one else noticed your gorgeous handwriting? They should make a Habit Printing font.

Norma said...

I love Latin, and miss it (and have forgotten much of it).

There was a wonderful kid in my class who would illustrate the ridiculous sentences we'd translate in our homework.

"The farmer stands in the river," I still remember the cartoon and it still brings a chuckle. Thanks for this!

Elaine said...

My dogs are trained and passwords set entirely in classical Lahkota. Does the fact that I'm actually Iroquois make that weird?

Jon said...

Seems like someone has an unnatural obsession with chamber pots. Or is it bodily functions?

My favorite Italian phrase is "Non voglio piu sentir parlare di quello stronzo."

Anna said...

Much better than my past time of seeing how well I can write with my non-dominant hand. I do the alphabet, numbers, random words from the conversation or from things printed around me. Amazingly enough, I write pretty well with my right hand now. :) (I'm a lefty.)

Cheryl said...

I do the anagram game too..glad I am not alone..restaurant placemats are always left with remnants of my anagramming...

livnletlrn said...

What a drag that the drawbacks are dominating the job view today. The perks of the same job may seem a distant memory at this moment, but they tie in directly with my own blog entry today: www.livnletlrn.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

My worst presentation experience (Ontario Substance Abuse Bureau - you don't want to know) involved my writing out all the lyrics to Pink Floyd's The Wall. And I mean all the lyrics, all four sides, every song. I still have the booklet somewhere (shudder).

Leslie - queen of cracksilk haze

marie in florida said...

i can't comment i'm about to fantasize about sex with a tabloid celebrity

Adele said...

Ooh, resignation letters are fun! The bad part is working through the period of notice you have to give. I've got 9 (business) days down, 11 more to go...

Jennie said...

That was fun. I only had 1 semester of Latin in college, but I loved it. Very nice!

Anne said...

I too love your handwriting.

The last sentence is my favorite, lol.

Now I'm wondering why on earth I never thought to set my passwords to words in random languages that I know... sheesh!

Sherry W said...

Hackers can bust passwords with scripts that reference dictonaries from other languages (as well as med/science dictonaries), so still mix it up with numbers and symbols!

Lucia said...

My husband sells a line of Latin t-shirts on Cafe Press... does Dolores speak Latin? Ovis omnia vincit.

Nancy said...

I'm with carol - I looooooooooooove your handwriting. I would be so entertained just by writing random words if I had handwriting that nice, that it wouldn't even have to be latin!

I can see the F.Habit font now! All it'd take is all the lower and uppercase letters.

Oh and numbers.

And maybe some of the symbols above the numbers on your keyboard. That wouldn't be hard for you to jot down now would it? Pretty please? :)

FiberQat said...

There are places you can have your handwriting made into a font. Unfortunately they're spendy. So ladies if you want a F.Habit font, prepare to shell out the shekels.

I took Latin in college. All I can remember is mare nostrum (my horse doesn't play the ukulele).

Mel said...

Okay, since nobody else has asked, which tabloid celebrity did you fantasize about?

As for writing the letter, I'll say it again - pearls before swine.

kmkat said...

My pass-the-boring-time game is this: write alphabet in a column, one letter per line, then randomly write down a letter in front of each. The challenge: to think of a famous person with those initials, that's 26 famous people in all. You can make the game harder (or impossible) by initially limiting it to living people or artists or writers or whatever.

It's kept me awake for 35 years.

Jay said...

You have beautiful handwriting... you should design tattoos to go on the chests and arms of big, beefy sailors that says things like 'Mother', 'Sally' and 'Gravy'.

Jean said...

Dear Franklin,

It looks pretty good to me, except that "flumen" is neuter so that "into the river" would be simply "in flumen".

The weather threatens cool here, so I may bhave to wear my beloved Panopticon sweatshirt to the Games instead of my brand-new "The New Yoga" tee-shirt.

Love Jean

Sean said...

Ahhh, another thing in common. I took 3 years of Latin in HS and another 3 in college...can I remember much of it without a reference...absolutely not. The last thing I tried to translate was some "greek" text. You know lorum ipsum....

Klari said...

Blog tuum mihi placet, postque hoc verisimile omnium dilectissimus est.

Urrgh. Old memories. Anyway. I tremendously enjoy yur blog. Especially today.

-jane- said...

My absolute favorite letter of resignation is, " I hereby resign effect Mumbleday, Month, Date, Year."

-jane-
-who sees no reason to drag it out

Mary Peed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary Peed said...

You need an alpha-numberic pager. I used to spend boring meetings paging other people in the room or out of it. The group of us had a code word which meant "I'm going to go postal, so please leave the building before I shoot everyone on site." PARAMICIUM. In fact, it meant, "Please Page me back so I can claim an emergency and leave this stupid meeting."

Isela: Purling Sprite said...

Here I was thinking that you had not been posting and it is my bloglines that hasn't updated you...sigh, I have to catch up on the Dolores adventures.

Jackie said...

Yes, indeed. The Panopticon Shop needs a Dolores shirt with the legend Ovis Omnia Vincit.

Anonymous said...

Name for Franklin's font: Habit Forming.

Carol

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is so sad.

The Spinning Shawl Doctor

Renée said...

Franklin, I am a little behind, so this comment really goes with a previous blog. I was the woman who mouthed "I love your blog" in line at the Thursday night Stitches preview. Thanks for the thanks. I kept catching glimpses of you throughout the weekend, but was afraid if I approached you, you would think I was either a) a stalker or b) insane. It was lovely to meet you, if from afar. Your blog often helps keep me sane.
Renée

Sahara said...

Franklin, I know a young lady whose name is Matella. Lord. I don't think her mom knew.

Should I tell her?

Anonymous said...

Tiffany not only explored the various jewelry processes of the time, Silver Tiffanybut also branched out into new metals, such as platinum, Tiffany Jewelrywhich at the time was considered very hard to manipulate.Tiffany BraceletsIt seems to be the case that unusual colorations appealed to Tiffany, like the opal.He also preferred gemstones that were either opaque or translucent. Tiffany EarringsTurquoise, jade, carnelian, lapis, moonstones, and opals were all chosen for their ability to filter light. Tiffany NecklacesEmphasis based on color was very prevalent in his works.

Anonymous said...

i appreciate you from my heart & sole, nice job.
latina t-shirts