Fire Drill

In humor, Office humor on May 12, 2014 at 01:57

Your father always talked about learning from experience. That way to wisdom has long since been discredited. This is a world of preparation and pre-preparation. And we are better and safer off for it. In this world, exams are cleared before they are written, matches are fixed before the toss and wars are won before they are waged. Foretold, forewarned amd foreclosed.

The Venus Project

You still try to be natural though, being unnerved by every act of deceit and moved by every act of kindness. However, the overriding emotion seems to be that of surprise. The jingle of the announcement system comes on and you expect the receptionist in her sorry voice to declare the occurrence of some non-event. But it is not her. It is not even the stand-in receptionist. It is a man’s voice. It is a very old man in charge of training very young recruits. His voice starting with the presumptuous “Hello friends…’ rains down from the skies. On more than one occasion you have imagined the end of the world to be akin to this. So you look around for what you could take with you for the arduous journey.
yesman mike


‘Saifty is verry imporrtant,’ says the old man in an accent thicker than a thick milkshake during HappyHour. Somewhere in the middle of his seventh long sentence you understand this is a fire drill. If you were to wait for the old man to finish, the whole place would burn to the ground. Fellow slaves have by now started scampering.  Well, not exactly scampering but getting their act together in general.




Groups of slaves are to follow their assigned leader or ‘Fire Marshall’ as these guys like to be called; in a straight line to the designated escape area. If you were to guess the protocol you would have said, ‘Scream fire, run like hell and lock yourself up in the bathroom.’ Which is why you will never get to be Fire Marshall. But you can make like good sheep and follow your shepherd to the parking lot. If you were to follow your own path, you would keep running, as far away from the burning building as possible and not wait in the lot. But while in employment, policy rules everything right up to possible death and posthumous insurance claims.

A safety instructor awaits the rescued lot, mike at the go. Keeping a straight face was difficult enough without the instructor being a Comedy Circus wannabe. ‘Imagine its a fire in your kitchen, is that the best you can do?’ he says to one lady. ‘You will only stoke the fire further,’ he says to another ample volunteer trying to douse a flame by sitting on it!



The festivities are brought to a halt when the headcount does not add up. Two slaves are definitely missing, even after counting twice. The Marshals and the Instructor seem more crestfallen than one would if a loved one had met an untimely demise. You find their commitment admirable and amusing at the same time. They can write out all the fire safety SOPs with their left hand with their eyes closed but they can’t for the life in them figure out the cause of two possible casualties. After it stops being funny, you walk up to the Instructor and suggest that he check the tea stall outside the office building.

In case of fire


And sure enough, your two casualties are very much breathing, enjoying their third cuppa for the day. Foretold, forewarned and foreclosed but no real-life experience.


– J.

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