Who’s Up for a Game of Hangman? (In Which I Stump the Office)

For the past several months at work, there is an ever-persistent game of Hangman in play. Usually one round per day or day-and-a-half.

The crudely scrawled papers (see example below) sit on the desk of this poor kid Steve, who drew the proverbial short straw to be situated on the corner that leads one way to the kitchen and one way to the bathroom. Throughout the day, as we all go to and fro, the solvers make guesses and the puzzle creator has to keep up by filling in the blanks or feeding the gallows.

Best. Song. Eva.

The rules are fairly simple. The person who creates the puzzle draws the gallows, provides a blank space for letter guesses, and gives a category clue: “TV character,” “historical event,” etc. Want to guess a vowell? Pony up a quarter. Typically, the person who solves the previous puzzle creates the next one, but some people just don’t have the guts (or the useless brain energy) to stick to this particular guideline.

For whatever reason, despite the game being wide open to my company of about 85, I have solved or created about 50% of all the puzzles that have darkened our hallowed (no pun intended) walls. Maybe it’s my love of harmless diversions (or all things pop culture). More likely it’s due to my every-hour trips to the kitchen and/or bathroom.

Today, without thinking twice about it, I created a hangman puzzle so epic, so damn-near unsolvable, that I may need to save the paper for laminating.

The puzzle is 10 letters long. None of the letters are duplicated. By the end, 16 letters had been guessed, only ONE of which (“D”) was successfully used in the puzzle. By my math, that’s 15 failed letters and 10 useable letters. So my co-workers had guessed ALL BUT ONE incorrect letter in the entire 26-character alphabet.


So, folks, let’s see if you can do better.

Category: “[Our Creative Director’s] Favorite Band” (Note: there is an understood irony behind this clue)

Letters guessed: S, T, C, Q, V, A ($0.25 wasted!), H, M, N, D, Z, W, F, P, R, X.

_ _ _ _

_ _ D

_ _ _

Any guesses, folks? Get it right, and just maybe I’ll let you work the laminating machine.


Nothing to See Here (In Which I Discover Job Security)

I Really Should Get LASIK

This is a semi-oldie but a goodie. It’s the story I use at parties to illustrate how charmingly anxious I am. I know it’s pretty much full-blown loco. And yet… it happened.  And if dropped into the same situation, it might happen all over again.

Every month or so, my company holds an all-company meeting.  All  60 or so employees gather in one space to hear updates on the state of things. The meetings are always an hour, and they are always held at the end of the day.

On this particular day, around 25 minutes into the meeting, I realized my bladder was unhappy with me and unlikely to make it another 35 (I could start an entire category over bathroom anxiety – in fact, maybe I just might…). At any rate, I didn’t want to call attention to myself or disrespect the CEO leading the meeting.

So I hatched a scheme.  My contact would bother me – that’s the ticket.  No one would fault me for excusing myself to take care of that, right?  (No one would fault me for having to simply use the washroom either, but I am not always a rational gal).

For 90 seconds or so, I rub my right eye.  Damn this thing.  Damn these infernal contacts!  AC-TING! (Was that two Jon-Lovitz-character catchphrases in as many paragraphs?) I excuse myself from the big rectangle of rolling desk chairs and quick-step to the bathroom.  Ahhh, relief.

But wait!  My contact was irritating me, right?  I can’t go back looking perfectly glowing and normal.  No sir-ee.  So what do I do?  Take my contact out, run it through tap water, shove it back in, and sure enough?  Blink-blink-blink-blink … yep, I look like someone who has had a mildly irritated contact.  WTF.

I think with neurosis comes a sense of narcissism as well.  Did I really think the company CEO — or anyone watching him speak, for that matter — was watching me? Nay, watching me so closely that they would have noticed the condition of one of my eyes?  Good God. It’s Grade-A super eff’d, but let’s be honest … the whole charade did make me feel better in the moment. Less guilty.  If slightly crazy.

I once shared this story with an old manager of mine (who was also a friend).  “Dammit, [Lucy],” he chuckled.  “Now we can never fire you because clearly you’ve expressed that you have mental health issues, and I’m not going to help you get help…” A year or so later, I’m still in a job despite the volatile nature of my company. Don’t ever let anyone say craziness wasn’t good for something.