Thursday, November 26, 2009

Weekly Office

October 23 - "Best ad ever: 'Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that--' I am totally blanking. What is the thing?...'Claude-Van-Damme'...'Hair-for-men'...'Poi-son-gas'...'Nu-tri-sweet'...It's got to rhyme with 'piece'...'Fan-cy-feast!' 'Break me off a piece of that Fan-cy-feast!' It's a cat food. Nailed it." (Andy)

October 24 - "Excuse me! If you can hear me, I would like you to look around at all these companies and know that none of them are good enough for you. H&R Block? Come on! I mean, I don't even know what they do. Frank Regan Funeral Home? Too much formaldehyde. The Air Force? Air Force is cool." (Michael)

October 26 - "I talked to her. Holly. Just pleasantries - nothing, you know, not like, do you want kids, or religion, or what side of the bed you want. Hey, I can take either side of the bed at this point." (Michael)

October 27 - "Mr. Scott, do you realize you just contradicted yourself. I did. Yes, you did. Can I go to the bathroom. No. I really have to, I've been drinking lots of water. You went five minutes ago. That wasn't to go to the bathroom, that was to get out of a question. You still have to answer it. First can I go to the bathroom. No." (Stenographer, during Michael's deposition)

October 28 - "Hey, how ya doin'? Listen, I don't think that a handsome, funny, smart, funny-looking kid like you should limit himself. You could be a classy janitor. Or a cashier with dignity. Or a migraine worker. A career in paper isn't for everyone. Maybe for you paper should be more of a hobby." (Michael)

October 29 - "I'll let you in on a little secret: I have very much been looking forward to this moment. Very, very much. I have been steeped in anticipation. Toby has been cruisin' for a bruisin' for twelve years. And I am now his cruise director. And my name is Captain Bruisin'." (Michael)

October 30 - "No, no, no. Pam, let [the phones] ring. Let the bells of Dunder Mifflin chime out your love. 'Cause this is really good. This is really good. My heart soars with the eagle's nest." (Michael)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Importance of Friendship (according to Allison Lamar)

When I was a little girl, I had no friends. I had nobody to play with, nobody to tell all my secrets. But when I was four or five years old, a very special person came into my life. She was my best friend, the friend who was always at my side, through good times and bad; she was my imaginary friend, Irma.

Irma taught me the importance of friendship, and I've never forgotten that. I think real friendship is about the most valuable thing there is, and I do anything for my friends.

Irma accepted me exactly as I was. She was pretty and smart and nice, and very confident. She was everything I knew I would never be. She wasn't even afraid of adults. We would play together by ourselves for hours and hours. We would play with my dolls and we would dress up in Mom's clothes. We never, ever had a single fight, and we trusted each other with our most important secrets. My mom and dad thought Irma was really cute, and they let her live with me in my room. Mom would even set a place for her at the dinner table.

But sometimes Irma could be very silly. Once, I remember, she went into Daddy's wallet when he was fast asleep and took $30. Then she hid the money under my mattress. When my Mom found it, she was very mad at me. I told Mom that my invisible friend, Irma, had taken Dad's money, but Mom didn't believe me. She yelled at me a lot. Irma got really mad when Mom said she wasn't really, so she collected all these dead spiders and cockroaches and put them in Mom's shoes. Mom sure was angry when she found them. Irma and I laughed and laughed.

Irma was my best friend in the whole wide world. We went everywhere together. I took her to birthday parties with me even though she was never invited. She went to school with me and during tests she would peek at my neighbor's paper and whisper the answers to me. And she always protected me just like a best friend should. Like there was this boy in my school who was always teasing me? So one day, Irma tripped him and he fell down two flights of stairs.

Irma and I always had so much fun together. When I got older, I started going out with boys. Irma didn't mind, she just wanted me to be happy. And if a boy I liked didn't like me, Irma would go to his house at night and scratch his parents' car. When one boy was really mean to me and called me names, Irma tried to set fire to his house. I don't think anybody ever had such a good friend.

When I went to see Dr. Shaw for my headaches, he told me that Irma was "a little crazy," and that I should make her go away. But I knew that that was not how really close friends treat each other. Real friendship means sticking by someone even when they do something you don't like. And I'll bet anything that Dr. Shaw stopped thinking that after Irma "fixed" the brakes on his car. But I guess no one will ever know what he was thinking all the way down that hill.

When Bobby and I decided to get married, I was afraid Irma would be jealous, but she wasn't, she was really happy for me. I told Bobby about her right away. I thought Bobby might want her to move out, but he didn't; mostly he just pretended she wasn't even there.

Lately, though, Bobby and Irma have become real good friends. In fact, at night sometimes, Bobby gets all dressed up and tells me, "I'm going to take Irma out for a few hours." And then sometimes they stay out all night.

It makes me sad when they leave me home alone, but I don't complain. If I was jealous of Irma, I wouldn't really be a very good friend. Besides, when Bobby goes out with Irma, my new imaginary friend comes to visit. His name is Ted. And he works in the brake repair shop. I think Bobby is going to meet Ted soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Motivated By...

Little Zachary was doing very badly in math. His parents had tried everything...tutors, mentors, flash cards, special learning centers. In short, everything they could think of to help his math. Finally, in a last ditch effort, they took Zachary down and enrolled him in the local Catholic school. After the first day, little Zachary came home with a very serious look on his face. He didn't even kiss his mother hello. Instead, he went straight to his room and started studying.

Books and papers were spread out all over the room and little Zachary was hard at work. His mother was amazed. She called him down to dinner. To her shock, the minute he was done, he marched back to his room without a word, and in no time, he was back hitting the books as hard as before. This went on for some time, day after day, while the mother tried to understand what made all the difference.

Finally, little Zachary brought home his report card. He quietly laid it on the table, went up to his room and hit the books. With great trepidation, his Mom looked at it and to her great surprise, Little Zachary got an "A" in math. She could no longer hold her curiosity...she went to his room and said, "Son, what was it? Was it the nuns?" Little Zachary looked at her and shook his head, "No." "Well, then, was it the books, the discipline, the structure, the uniforms? What was it?"

Little Zachary looked at her and said, "Well, on the first day of school when I saw that guy nailed to the plus sign, I knew they weren't fooling around."

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Daring Dozen

So, after just finishing 2 awesome books in the last 3-4 days, I sense it's finally time to get after it with some aggressive reading. I've got an arsenal of sa-weet stuff that I'm confident will bless, inspire, and enlarge my perspective and passion for Jesus. Oh, and the 2 recent reads? Drops Like Stars by Rob Bell and The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. One highlighted how unifying and life-altering suffering can be (with God right there with us), the other bolding challenging the followers of Christ to reengage in an Acts 2, mission-minded care of one another, specifically the poor.

One of the things that will take a tad more time in the reading of these books is that I'm spending a few extra moments at the end to go back through the pages where stuff leaped off the page at me. The kinds of things that I'll want to share, pass on, and bless others with. So, without further delay, here's the 12 books I'm beginning my reading frenzy with:

1. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
2. Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker
3. Crazy Love by Francis Chan
4. The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
5. Sex God by Rob Bell
6. The Feast by Josh Graves
7. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
8. They Like Jesus But Not The Church by Dan Kimball
9. I Sold My Soul on Ebay by Hemant Mehta
10. The Monkey and The Fish by Dave Gibbons
11. The Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight
12. The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture by Shane Hipps

I look forward to the deep, soul-riveting insights that these dozen reads will bring out in the coming months...stay tuned.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weekly Office

October 12 - Michael: "I am for a CD mix tape...for Holly, and I'm looking for perfect songs that work on two levels." Jim: "What are the two levels?" Michael: "The two levels being 'Welcome to Scranton' and 'I love you.'"

October 14 - "I am totally going to bang Holly. She is cute and helpful and she really seems into me." (Kevin)

October 15 - "Can I just say that of all the idiots in all the idiot villages in all the idiot worlds you stand alone, my friend." (Michael, to Toby during his exit interview)

October 16 - "Well, it was love at first sight. Actually, it was, no, it was when I heard her voice. It was love at first see with my ears." (Michael)

October 20 - Michael: "This thing with Holly feels a lot like love to me." Jim: "That's really sweet. And you can think that, but you don't say that out loud and you definitely don't say that to her."

October 21 - Dianne: "Are you telling me that your relationship began two years ago and not in February, as you previously testified?" Michael: "Line." Dianne: "I'm sorry, what?" Ted: "He asked for a line. Like in a play."

October 22 - Dwight: "Excuse me, where do you think you're going? Oh, no, no, no, no. You are not leaving. No! Stanley, do not walk out that door! If you walk out that door, so help me, I will...He left. Last I checked, the American work day ends at 5P.M. You will all stay at your desks until that time. Or your will suffer the consequences." Phyllis: "What consequences?" Dwight: "I will tell on you."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Timothy Johnson's Last Wish

Little Timmy Johnson was a very sick boy. The doctors had tried hard, but they could do nothing more to help him. Timmy wasn't scared, but he had one wish. He wanted to receive postcards from all over the world, more postcards than anyone else had gotten in his whole life; enough postcards to get him into the Guinness Book of World Records, where he would live forever and ever.

When his mom told a reporter for the local newspaper, the Clarion, they printed a big story on the front page. Only 780 people lived in Mapletown, but just about every one of them mailed a postcard to little Timmy. They sent hundreds and hundreds; picture postcards and funny postcards, postcards from faraway places like Nebraska, postcards with a picture of a dog pulling down a baby's diaper. The second-grade class even made postcards from shirt cardboard for Timmy. There were so many postcards that poor Mrs. Peterson, who ran the local post office, was just about overwhelmed. And the mailman, old Mr. Burns, who had carried the mail on his aching back for forty years, could barely even lift his mailbag.

But still little Timmy was very sad. Hundreds of postcards were not nearly enough to earn him a place in the Guinness book. And just when he was about to give up, a producer on the ABC Evening News heard about Timmy's plight and decided to help him. That night Peter Jennings told the nation about Timmy's last wish, and the very next day postcards began arriving. Hundreds of postcards, then thousands, then tens of thousands arrived every day. Newspapers and magazines carried the heartwarming story, and even more postcards arrived. More postcards than anyone had ever imagined arrived from every state, and then they began coming from Europe and Asia and even little islands in the Pacific Ocean that no one ever knew existed.

There were so many postcards nobody knew what to do with them. Old Mr. Burns tried to deliver a sackful one day and made it about fifty feet from the post office before he keeled over and died. Mrs. Peterson lasted almost a month before the stress got her and they had to put her in the loony home. With so many postcards arriving daily no other mail could get through. Bills weren't delivered so they couldn't be paid causing hundreds of people in town to lose their phone service and electricity. The most terrifying words anyone had ever heard became "The check is in the mail." Stores couldn't bill their customers or reach them by phone, so within three months most of the shops on Main Street had to shut their doors.

And still the postcards continue to arrive by the tens of thousands. It was the most mail anyone had ever gotten. People from all over the world were trying to fulfill little Timmy Johnson's last wish. It made them all feel so good.

With the town pretty much shut down, except for the convoys of big mail trucks that roared down Main Street all day and night, people started packing up and leaving. Families that had lived happily in Mapletown for generations boarded up their homes and left. Mapletown became a ghost town.

But then, an amazing thing happened. A miracle, some people said. Little Timmy woke up one morning and his pain was gone. He could breathe easily. The doctors attributed his incredible recovery to his joy at receiving more postcards than anyone else in history and earning his place in the Guinness book. Little Timmy Johnson was cured!

The news of his recovery spread slowly, so the postcards continued to arrive. No one could stop it. By that point the town was pretty much deserted and Timmy had no one to play with. So each day he would try to climb to the top of his postcard mountain, which continued to grow and grow and grow. Eventually it was estimated that Timmy had received 12 million postcards from every state and more than ninety countries around the world!

All traces of his disease seemed to have disappeared. But sometimes fate is not so kind. The disease had simply been in brief remission. One morning he awoke and it had returned. A few days later, Little Timmy peaceful passed away. His doctors reported that he had died with a smile on his face, knowing that he would live forever in the Guiness Book of World Records.

As the news of Little Timmy Johnson's death spread around the world, the deluge of postcards ended. A few days later the citizens of Mapletown began returning. Once again, people dreamed of living there. They took the boards off their homes and reopened the stores. Mapletown was slowly coming back to life.

And then the first condolence card arrived...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekly Office

October 3 - "Schrute Farms, Guten Tag, how can I help you? Yes, we have availability on those dates. How many in your party?...Oh no, I'm sorry, no king beds...No queen beds either. Well, we make our own mattresses that don't conform to the traditional sizes...Well, closest would be twin...Thank you so much for calling, call back again. Auf Wiedersehen!" (Dwight)

October 5 - "Hazing is a fun way to show a new employee that she is not welcome or liked." (Dwight)

October 6 - "Earlier today, Stanley sassed me. And Toby gave me some suggestions on how to discipline him and they did not work. Obviously, because they were stupid. So I am not going to fake fire him." (Michael)

October 7 - "You know, if we hung Holly from the ceiling, we'd have to kiss underneath her. So...sorry. Question: Are you real, or are you a Holly-gram?" (Michael)

October 8 - "I wouldn't go if things weren't so solid with Jim. And down the road, if we have a family, I couldn't go then either. So, the timing is perfect. And that is the first time I ever used the word 'perfect' in here." (Pam)

October 9 - Diane: "Mr. Scott, the timeline is actually very important here. Please, when did your relationship actually begin?" Michael: "Well, depends on how do you define 'begin'? I mean, if it's from the first time we shook hands, it's like six years ago. If it's from the first time we kissed, it's like two years ago...If it was from the first time we kissed sober, it was like four months after that."

October 11 - "Goodbye, old friend. May all your roads be downhill and the wind be on your back windshield." (Andy)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Going-Away Present

Emma Hyde-Pruitt could have lived a life of incredible luxury. Born into one of London's top-hat families in the 1860s, she was destined to take her place among the fashionable set at Ascot. When she was seventeen, a fabulously wealthy duke asked for her hand in marriage. But the strong-willed young woman shocked the tony set by rejecting her suitor, for she had a far more important mission in mind.

As a young girl, Emma had ridden in her carriage through the mean streets of London's slums. There she had seen the children in their tattered rags, their emaciated bodies desperate for a few morsels. She gave what monies she could as a child, but as she grew older, she knew that it would not be enough. She could feed a few children for a few days, but what she really wanted to do was change their lives. So Emma Hyde-Pruitt did what no other woman of her social standing had ever done--she attended teaching college and eventually gained her license to teach!

Day and night she would roam London's dangerous "throat-cutter" alleys, gathering groups of children to teach them to read and write. If she could educate but a few, she knew, she could provide hope for all of them. Forsaking her fashionable life, Emma Hyde-Pruitt became a fixture in the slums.

When the public learned of her noble deeds, she became one of the most beloved people in London, "the Angel of the Alleys."Emma had but one dream for herself. As she was growing up, she would sit upon her father's knee, and he would regale her with tales of the great queens of the ocean, the fleet Atlantic liners. To sail one day aboard one of these great ships remained her lifelong wish; but with the family fortune given away to the needy, she knew that would never be possible.

Or so she thought. As Emma Hyde-Pruitt approached her fiftieth birthday, her students, young and old, began pooling their money for a grand surprise. Hundreds of them gave what pittance they could, a farthing here, half a sixpence there, but they all gave. And on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday, hundreds of people whose lives she had changed gathered around as she was given the gift of their love for her: a first-class ticket on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Weekly Office

September 23 - "Hi, yeah, right, okay. Well, they fired a female Toby. Good for the world. Thank you, God, for creating two of you. Here's how things work here. My job is to make the office fun. Your job is to make the office lame. And we have an eternal struggle, you and I, and only one of us can be the winner. Spoiler alert: I'm going to win." (Michael)

September 24 - "I just, I don't understand what is preventing you from laughing this off and giving me a big hug." (Michael, to Meredith after her with his car and cracking her pelvis)

September 25 - Darryl: "Well see. In the gang world, we use something called fluffy fingers." Michael: "What is that?" Darryl: "That's where somebody really gets up in your face, you just start tickling him." Michael: "Really?" Darryl: "Yeah. And then he starts tickling you, and pretty soon you laughing and hugging...'fore you know it, you've forgotten the whole thing, and you all can just go to church and get an ice cream cone."

September 27 - "Thanks to Toby, I have a strong prejudice against human resources. I believe that the department is a breeding ground for monsters. What I failed to consider, though, is that not all monsters are bad. Like E.T. Is Holly our extra-terrestrial? Maybe. Or maybe she's just an awesome woman from this planet." (Michael)

September 29 - "People assume I'm great at golf. But like everybody, I hated golf lessons when I was a kid. So I used to just hang out with the sailing club instead. Got my knot on." (Andy)

September 30 - "What is wrong with this woman? She is asking about stuff that's nobody's business. What do I do? Really, what do I do here? I should have written it down. Qua-something. Qua. Quash. Quarbo. Quabity. Quabity assuance. No. No, no, no, but I'm getting close. (Creed)

October 1 - "I've got a mad-lib for you. A stupid, idiotic, numbskull named Andy Bernard sold his Xterra to a smart and capable man named Dwight. This is shaping up to be an awesome day for Dwight." (Dwight)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Meditation for Investment Bankers

"A pessimist is someone who doesn't believe his book about torture, murder, and brutality will sell, while an optimist is someone who believes it will." (Sir Roger Woolmuth)

One day I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't afford to rent a chateau in the south of France for the summer, until on that same day I met an investment banker who couldn't afford his own chauffeured limousine. And that investment banker had been feeling sorry for himself until he met an investment banker who couldn't afford a state-of-the-art digital sound system for his media room. And he had been feeling sorry for himself until he met an investment banker who couldn't afford to ear Armani. And she had been feeling sorry for herself until she met an investment banker who couldn't afford custom-made Loeb shoes.

But the very next day the stock market went up eleven points and all of us were able to afford all of these things that we wanted.