21st Century Cosmodemonic

A jandal from the inside

Friday, August 26, 2005

Word of the day

My word of the day is "Surreptitious."

It's a cool-sounding word, and a very useful way to do things.

For example: if you go up to the petty cash gnome and ask him to redeem some receipts for you, he'll frown, look up, down, then up and down again, and then mumble something about how that's impossible, and you should have followed process. When you speak in a normal voice at him, he will get terrified and try to run away. Of course, he will find no escape as he's sitting at his desk and you are blocking the only route to the hallway.

Your normal-voiced assertion that the process is in fact to bring the receipts to petty cash to be redeemed will then be met with alternating bouts of mumbling, hesitant confusion and obstreperous outbursts of indignant self-justification.

If you stand in stony silence, blocking the hallway for half an hour, looking coolly at the gnome, he will give in, stamp the receipts and hand you your cash. This can be real fun, and it's a good way to pass half an hour and be able to put it on your time sheet without even having to lie. However sometimes you might be late for a boozy lunch or to grab a cigarette with that cute chick from 14 who you just saw going to the lifts.

If you are in a hurry and don't want to play bait-a-gnome, there is only one way to handle the situation: you must be surreptitious. You sneak up behind the gnome - don't worry he won't notice you, one of the drawbacks of making it your business to ignore and frustrate the world. Then you place your receipts into the random stamping pile. Wait for a couple of minutes, things should take care of themselves.

Then...

You: HA!

Gnome: Whaaa... who... help...

You: You have stamped my receipts, little gnome-shaped man! Now you must pay me my money and no mistake. Ha!

Gnome: Oh, cripes. How much did I stamp? Here they are... hm,mm... carry the one... ok, here's your money. Nice work there, you really got me with that outrageous surreptitiosness. Enjoy your boozy lunch.

You: Thanks you, Gnome. Enjoy your continued efforts to frustrate the world and impede progress.

Gnome: Jolly good.

So that's surreptitious for you. A bloody good adjective to be every now and then.

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