All Our Representatives Are Currently Incompetent

March 9, 2001

I’ve been on hold for over a year. I don’t mean that literally. The average on-hold call, with music that ranges from classical to cloying, and the regular interruptions of a recorded voice that says, "Please continue to hold. Our customer service representatives have an office bet going to see how long you’ll wait for one of them to be of no help whatsoever" lasts about seven minutes. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. Considering the number of times I’ve been put on hold, I think it’s probably a conservative estimate to say that, totalling up all those minutes, I’ve spent at least a year with a phone pressed against my ear waiting to talk to someone who was flipping burgers yesterday and who, by the end of the week, will be stocking grocery store shelves.

You’d think that with that amount of time I could have accomplished a lot. It’s been said that a thousand monkeys in a room with a thousand typewriters will eventually produce the works of William Shakespeare. I’ve had a whole year, and access to a computer during that time, so I should at least have produced the works of John Webster. The shocking thing is I’ve accomplished nothing. No one can do anything while on hold because you’re always waiting for the music to stop and someone at the other end to pick up. And I’m not sure that a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters will really accomplish any more than I have. There’s a lab in northern England that has been testing this theory. I’ve called to find out what the results are so far, but they’ve got me on hold.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


NEWS RELEASE

A major research institution has discovered the heaviest element known to science. This startling discovery has been tentatively named Administratium {Ad}.

This new element has no protons or electrons, thus having an atomic number of 0. It does, however, have 1 neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert and difficult to observe directly. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. According to the scientists who discovered it, a very minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years. It does not decay as other elements in this reactive category do, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons, vice neutrons, and assistant vice neutrons exchange places.

In fact, an Administratium sample’s mass will actually increase over time, since with each reorganization, some of the morons inevitably become neutrons, forming new isotopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Administratium is spontaneously formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as the "Critical Morass." You will know it when you see it…

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