Charlie Hatton About This
About Me
Email Me

Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

All Quotes


Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Three Weddings and a Fable

I tried a new approach at work today. I was supposed to give a status report on the work I’m doing, but I knew I’d get the same question I always get after these talks:

Gee, that’s great for our group — but isn’t the group next door planning on doing the same thing soon for the whole company?

I’ve tried explaining our reasoning in various ways. I’ve floated scenarios. I’ve drawn diagrams. I once took off my shoes and illustrated points with holey-toed sock puppets. None of it seemed to adequately make my case.

So today, I didn’t give my report. I borrowed a page from Aesop’s book and Plato’s scrolls and instead offered an allegory. It involved a wedding reception.

“I’ve drawn diagrams. I once took off my shoes and illustrated points with holey-toed sock puppets.”

Now, I’m just about the last person you might expect to use nuptial revelry as an instructive example. Somewhere around here, I’ve previously mentioned that the very first wedding I ever attended was my own. It’s true; I made it nearly twenty-six years without witnessing a hitching, until I was blissfully wedlocked myself. I’ve always been somewhat proud of that achievement, if only for its rarity.

(And lest you think I went in completely unprepared, I did make sure to learn the three ‘Groom Essentials’ before going in:

  • 1. Don’t say anything stupid.
  • 2. Don’t complain about how much it costs.
  • 3. No tongue during the kissing.

Come to think of it, those are pretty much the rules I have to live by as a husband, too. You’d think I would have seen that coming.)

On the other hand, there was the old colleague of mine who was proud of a rather different achievement — he’d been invited to be in more weddings than there were groomsmen in his. I suppose that’s an admirable goal, too. His feeling was that it showed he had a lot of close friends, and certainly, that’s a good thing.

Of course, I never asked about the details. Maybe he only had one groomsman in his wedding, and it just showed that he has two brothers. Or he has a bunch of rich friends with thirty-seven people in their wedding parties. Maybe he just looks especially good in a tuxedo. Like I said, I didn’t ask.

(This is the same guy whose dream it was to make so much money he could afford to buy an island, and post a guard house with a list of allowed guests at the entry port. Possibly, he had some convoluted logic to reconcile that with his ‘people person’ wedding party achievement, but I wasn’t about to sit through it. With certain people, it’s best to not ask a lot of questions.)

Anyway, back to my meeting. I stood up for my report, and announced that instead of project status, I was going to describe a wedding I recently attended. I told them how I arrived early with some friends at the reception to help set up, and how we found ourselves finished but hungry two full hours before the party.

The host offered us whatever we could find in the icebox, so I headed to the kitchen to make our group some sandwiches. When I got there, I found the food — and also the catering staff, struggling to prepare the reception spread. There were only a dozen or so of them, and with so many people to feed, and so many dishes to prepare for various tastes, they were clearly overwhelmed.

This is where I paused to emphasize my dilemma. I was there to provide for only a few people, which I could easily accomplish with the tools I had. But here were these people, trying to satisfy hundreds with a much larger, more sophisticated — and far longer-term — effort. I could abandon my sandwiches and help them, sure. But how much impact could I make? And what about my hungry friends? How would they manage with no food at all for hours?

My point cleverly underlined, I concluded by describing how I made those sandwiches, took them out to tide folks over, and only then returned to the kitchen to help with the larger effort. Satisfied that the parallels were clearly drawn between the story and our current situation, I smiled and asked if there were any questions about my report.

There were only three:

Why did they leave so much time before the reception?

What kind of sandwiches were they?

So, the bridesmaids… were they hot?

Man, I really thought I had them this time. I guess it’s back to the sock puppets. Dammit.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “Three Weddings and a Fable”

  1. Kate says:

    Wow! That’s great. I should use something like that in my trainings. It is somewhat sad that your coworkers barely got it… but then, they also didn’t seem to notice if you didn’t tie it into the progress you are making on your work project.

    It may work next time to take a page out of Scott Adams’ approach and string together a lot of impressive but meaningless work phrases to explain your progress. I doubt anyone would ask questions if you got up and stated that the expected outcome of your design is surpassing benchmarks of the previously projected paradigms by 3.8% in initiatives and strategic business incentives…

  2. Roofie Raccoon says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HomeAboutArchiveBestShopEmail © 2003-15 Charlie Hatton All Rights Reserved
Me on Film 'n' Stage:
  Drinkstorm Studios

Me on Science (silly):
  Secondhand SCIENCE

Me on Science (real):
  Meta Science News

Me on ZuG (RIP):
  Zolton's FB Pranks
  Zolton Does Amazon

Favorite Posts:
30 Facts: Alton Brown
A Commute Dreary
A Hallmark Moment
Blue's Clues Explained
Eight Your 5-Hole?
El Classo de Espanol
Good News for Goofballs
Grammar, Charlie-Style
Grammar, Revisitated
How I Feel About Hippos
How I Feel About Pinatas
How I Feel About Pirates
Life Is Like...
Life Is Also Like...
Smartass 101
Twelve Simple Rules
Unreal Reality Shows
V-Day for Dummies
Wheel of Misfortune
Zolton, Interview Demon

Me, Elsewhere

Standup Comedy Clips

Selected Clips:
  09/10/05: Com. Studio
  04/30/05: Goodfellaz
  04/09/05: Com. Studio
  01/28/05: Com. Studio
  12/11/04: Emerald Isle
  09/06/04: Connection

Boston Comedy Clubs

 My 100 Things Posts

Selected Things:
  #6: My Stitches
  #7: My Name
  #11: My Spelling Bee
  #35: My Spring Break
  #36: My Skydives
  #53: My Memory
  #55: My Quote
  #78: My Pencil
  #91: My Family
  #100: My Poor Knee

More Features:

List of Lists
33 Faces of Me
Punchline Fever
Simpsons Quotes
Quantum Terminology

...Bleeding Obvious
By Ken Levine
Defective Yeti
Divorced Dad of Two
Gallivanting Monkey
Junk Drawer
Life... Weirder
Little. Red. Boat.
Mighty Geek
Scott's Tip of the Day
Something Authorly
Unlikely Explanations

Full Archive

Category Archives:

(Stupid) Computers
A Doofus Is Me
Articles 'n' Zines
Audience Participation
Awkward Conversations
Bits About Blogging
Bitter Old Man Rants
Blasts from My Past
Cars 'n' Drivers
Dog Drivel
Foodstuff Fluff
Fun with Words!
Grooming Gaffes
Just Life
Loopy Lists
Making Fun of Jerks
Marketing Weenies
Married and a Moron
Miscellaneous Nonsense
Potty Talk / Yes, I'm a Pig
Sleep, and Lack Thereof
Tales from the Stage
Tasty Beverages
The Happy Homeowner
TV & Movies & Games, O My!
Vacations 'n' Holidays
Weird for the Sake of Weird
Whither the Weather
Wicked Pissah Bahstan
Wide World o' Sports
Work, Work, Work

Alas Smith and Jones
Berkeley Breathed
Bill Hicks
Dave Barry
Dexter's Laboratory
Douglas Adams
Evening at the Improv
Fawlty Towers
George Alec Effinger
Jake Johannsen
Married... With Children
Monty Python
Nick Bakay
Peter King
Ren and Stimpy
Rob Neyer
Sluggy Freelance
The Simpsons
The State

Plugs, Shameless
100 Best Humor Blogs | Healthy Moms Magazine



Feeds and More
Subscribe via FeedBurner


RSS 2.0
Site Hosting:
Solid Solutions

Powered by:

Title Banner Photo:
Shirley Harshenin

Creative Commons License
  This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License

Performancing Metrics

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Valid XHTML 1.0

Valid CSS!

© 2003-15 Charlie Hatton
All Rights Reserved