Prunes and Prism

RULES FOR YOUNG LADIES: Some arch advice on snagging a husband. Exercising the mouth into a pretty shape through repetition of certain words seems to have been an indoor sport for young nineteenth-century girls; in Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens' overly bred girl repeats, "papa, potatoes, poultry, prunes and prism." (

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hallmark Hall of Fame

I swore I wouldn't blog about work, and I don't want to even admit that I have a day job here. So obviously I haven't written about the lone, partially deflated green balloon that says HAPPY BIRTHDAY and has been aimlessly drifting around my totally theoretical office.

Finally I wondered aloud where it had come from.

A colleague thought he was responsible for it, though he couldn't think why -- had it actually been somebody's birthday? -- but then remembered he'd bought a pack of them for someone's going-away party, got them back to the office, and blew them up only to find the HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the side.

He used them for the party anyway, figuring it wasn't the worst mix-up in the world: That had already happened at one of his previous offices, where someone always seemed to be getting married or getting promoted or having a baby or a birthday or moving to France, or engaging in some other endeavor that necessitated a greeting card surreptitiously circulated in a file folder. One of his exasperated co-workers fended off the deluge by writing on every single card, "Best of luck."

Including the time somebody's mother died.


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