Going Down?

October 23, 1998

Based on my observations of other people, I’ve managed to develop the following rules of elevator etiquette, which I’d like to share with you. Hopefully this will clear up any confusion and prevent any accidental outbreaks of courtesy:

  1. If you’re the only person waiting for the elevator, don’t bother pressing the "Up" or "Down" (whichever is appropriate) button. Simply stare at the elevator doors and send a mental signal.

  2. If there is someone already waiting for the elevator when you walk up, and the "Up" or "Down" button has already been pressed, be sure to lean over at at least a forty-five degree angle and tap the same button vigorously.

  3. If you’ve just stepped into the elevator and you see someone running to catch it before the doors close, reach over and tap the "Door close" button repeatedly. If the door actually closes in the face of the other person, you can make your coworkers laugh with an amusing impersonation of their final facial expression. This is even funnier if the person is someone you actually work with.

  4. If someone is holding the elevator for you, drag your feet until you actually reach the elevator door, then say, "I’m taking the stairs."

  5. If you’re the first person to get into the elevator, press the button for your floor then stand so close to the button panel that no one else can touch it. If anyone tries to say anything to you, stare intently at the ceiling.

  6. If you get into an elevator and there are other people behind you, make sure you stand in a place that will prevent as many of them as possible from entering.

  7. When the elevator is within eleven floors of where you want to get off, move in front of everyone and stand directly in front of the doors. This will ensure that you’ll be the first person off.

  8. If someone behind you has inconvenienced you by wanting to get off at a floor other than yours and indicate that they need to get around you to get out, move exactly one-eighth of an inch to the left or right. If they still can’t get around you, stare at the ceiling. This will teach them to not trouble you in the future. I hope all of you adopt these rules. Remember: you can make the difference between a world that is happy and pleasant and a world where, at least once a week, people like me have something to talk about.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


When Albert Einstein was making the rounds of the speaker’s circuit, he usually found himself eagerly longing to get back to his laboratory work. One night as they were driving to yet another rubber-chicken dinner, Einstein mentioned to his chauffeur (a man who somewhat resembled Einstein in looks & manner) that he was tired of speechmaking.

"I have an idea, boss," his chauffeur said. "I’ve heard you give this speech so many times. I’ll bet I could give it for you."

Einstein laughed loudly and said, "Why not? Let’s do it!"

When they arrived at the dinner, Einstein donned the chauffeur’s cap and jacket and sat in the back of the room. The chauffeur gave a beautiful rendition of Einstein’s speech and even answered a few questions expertly.

Then a supremely pompous professor asked an extremely esoteric question about anti-matter formation, digressing here and there to let everyone in the audience know that he was nobody’s fool.

Without missing a beat, the chauffeur fixed the professor with a steely stare and said, "Sir, the answer to that question is so simple that I will let my chauffeur, who is sitting in the back, answer it for me."


How To Handle A Jackass

As heard on The Phil Valentine Show

Unconfirmed but very funny – source unknown

If you occasionally have a really bad day, don’t take it out on someone you know. Take it out on someone you DON’T know. Now get this. I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I had to make. I found the number and dialed it. A man answered nicely. "Hello." I politely said, "This is Patrick Hannifin. Could I please speak to Robin Carter?" Suddenly, the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn’t believe anyone could be that rude. I tracked down Robin’s correct number and called her. She had transposed the last two digits. After I hung up with Robin, I spotted the wrong number still lying there on my desk. I decided to call it again. When the same person answered, I yelled, "You’re a jackass!" and hung up. Next to his phone number, I wrote the word "jackass" and put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I’d call him up. He’d answer and I’d yell, "You’re a jackass!" It would always cheer me up.

Later in the year, the phone company introduced caller ID. This was a real disappointment for me; I would have to stop calling the jackass. Then one day I had an idea. I dialed his number, then heard his voice. "Hello." "Hi. This is the sales office of the telephone company and I’m calling to see if you’re familiar with our caller ID program." He said, "No!" and slammed the phone down. I quickly called him back and said, "That’s because you’re a jackass!"

The reason I took the time to tell you this story is to show you how — if there’s ever anything really bothering you — you can do something about it.

(Keep reading, it gets better.)

The old lady at the mall really took her time pulling out of the parking space. I didn’t think she was ever going to leave. Finally, her car began to move and she started to slowly back out of the slot. I backed up a little more to give her plenty of room to pull out. Great, I thought, she’s finally leaving. All of a sudden, this black Camaro came flying up the parking aisle in the wrong direction and pulls into her space. I started honking my horn and yelling, "You can’t just do that, buddy. I was here first!" The guy climbed out of his Camaro, completely ignoring me. He walked toward the mall as if he didn’t even hear me. I thought to myself, this guy’s a jackass. (There sure a lot of jackasses in this world.) I noticed he had a "For Sale" sign in the back window of his car. I wrote down the number. Then, I hunted for another place to park. A couple of days later, I’m at home sitting at my desk. I had just gotten off the phone after calling jackass #1 and yelling, "You’re a jackass!" (It’s really easy to call him now since I have his number on speed dial.) I noticed the phone number of the guy with the black Camaro lying on my desk and thought I’d better call this guy, too.After a couple rings, someone answered the phone and said, "Hello."

I said, "Is this the man with the black Camaro for sale?"

"Yes, it is." "Can you tell me where I can see it?"

"Yes, I live at 1802 West 34th street. It’s a yellow house and the car’s parked right out front."

I said, "What’s your name?"

"My name is Don Hansen."

"When’s a good time to catch you, Don?"

"I’m home in the evenings."

"Listen, Don, can I tell you something?"

"Yes."

"You’re a jackass!" And I slammed the phone down. After I hung up, I added Don Hansen’s number to my speed dialer. For a while things seemed to be going better for me. Now when I had a problem, I had two jackasses to call. Then after several months of calling the jackasses and hanging up on them, it just wasn’t as enjoyable as it used to be. I gave the problem some serious thought and came up with a solution. First, I had my phone dial Jackass #1. A man answered and said (nicely), "Hello."

I yelled, "You’re a jackass!" but I didn’t hang up.

The jackass said, "Are you still there?"

I said, "Yeah."

He said, "Stop calling me."

I said, "No."

He said, "What’s your name, Pal?"

I said, "Don Hansen."

He said, "Where do you live?"

"1802 West 34th Street. It’s a yellow house and my black Camaro’s parked out front."

"I’m coming over right now, Don. You’d better start saying your prayers."

"Yeah, like I’m really scared, jackass!" and I hung up.

Then I called Jackass #2. "Hello."

I said, "Hello, Jackass!"

He said, "If I ever find out who you are…"

"You’ll what?"

"I’ll kick your butt."

"Well, here’s your chance. I’m coming over right now, jackass!" And I hung up. Then I picked up the phone and called the police. I told them I was at 1802 West 34th Street and that I was going to kill my lover as soon as he got home. Then I made a quick call to Channel 13 about the gang war going on down W. 34th Street. After that, I climbed into my car and headed over to 34th Street to watch the whole thing. Glorious! If you want to watch two jackasses kicking the crap out of each other in front of six squad cars and a police helicopter, I taped it off the evening news.

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