Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fire Drill

We recently had a fire drill at my office.

Of course everyone knew it was a drill, so there was no panic or anything and people slowly gathered in the reception area, eventually forming a semi-circle around the building's fire marshal. During this settling period, all the types of people that surface in large groups came out. My favorite (meaning least favorite) of these is the "funny guy." The one guy who just can't stop cracking jokes the entire time. Worst of all, he always makes sure that everyone can hear what he is saying. Something like:

"A fire drill? What is this, 3rd grade? Right? Come on!"

No one likes him. But once the fire marshal started speaking, even he stopped talking.

Fire Marshal: Now it's very important that each floor has a team of devoted fire safety people in order to make sure that things run smoothly in case of a real fire. So I'm just gonna check in on this floor's team.
(FM reads out the name of the Male Searcher...pause)
Man #1: He quit working here.
(FM reads out the name of the Female Searcher...pause)
Woman #1: She's not in yet today.
(FM reads out the name of the Deputy Warden)
Man #2: Oh, she's actually on maternity leave.
Fire Marshal: So you all mean to tell me that you have none of these positions filled right now? This is extremely unsafe and would make a fire on this floor much more dangerous than it has to be. I guess that we're just gonna have to fill these positions with new people right now. Can I have any volunteers please?
(DEAD SILENCE for about 1 minute before FM specifically asks people to do the jobs)

This story is a classic example of a crowd mentality. People chat amongst themselves when they can, but as soon as they are asked to volunteer for something they clam up.


  1. Great post Rich.

    One comment/question (quemment):

    The "funny guy" thread had good development and potential, but I was left hanging at the end of the story during the volunteer scene. Where was "funny guy" then?

  2. good point. this is why i should write about things when they actually happen (instead of months later)! or i should have made up a joke at the end...should i edit this post?