Phone jokes are probably the funniest things I remember most about working. There is just nothing like a well placed practical joke to help the day pass. These days stress takes over the project and sucks the fun right out of everyone. Reminiscing about some of these jokes in better times seems to be just the right medicine for me and so I’ll share a few.
The South Carolina electronics plant consisted of two main buildings spread out on several acres. It was a lot of walking within and between the buildings. Walkie-talkies were handed out to only the construction contractors and the engineers who worked with them. The rest of the plant relied on a central paging/intercom system to stay in touch with co-workers who wandered around the facility.
Simple enough, dialing 7-0-0 connected the telephone to the speakers sprinkled through out the plant. “Jane Smith, call 373, please.” Typical of the pages heard during the day. So many pages that I became trained to only perk up when I detected my own name over the system.
One of our managers, John, was from Belgium, which doesn’t really matter, but he reminded us a lot of a nutty professor of sorts. Always attired in a dress shirt and tie, he looked the part of a knowledgeable person. And he was to a point, but gullibility was his true forte. And the cast of characters at that plant knew how to take advantage of it.
Once a month, someone would send out a page: “John Gullible, call 700; John Gullible, call 700.” Wait for it…
“Hello? Hello? Did someone page me from this number?” Score!