Friday, June 3, 2011


To look at Rodney you would never take him for an ex-marine.  He is short between feet-two and five feet four as best as I can guess.  I have never asked him personally how short he is because I have an aversion to pain.  He is stocky and I am sure he can hold his own.  He carries inside of him a temper that he has found a way to hold inside.  Still, I would not want to take a chance on getting him too upset with me.

He has worked at my office for over twenty years.  His best friend is Paul, who also works at the office.  Paul is about six foot three and to see the two of them walking around together is almost cartoon like.  When I see the two of them talking in the hallway it reminds me of Yogi Bear And Boo- Boo.  Paul is also an ex-marine and that is where the commonality between the two comes in.

Rodney takes his height in stride but you can tell that it bothers him if anyone makes a joke about it.  Rodney does not like to be the punch line however with his height he is a pretty easy target.  I am not sure how he lets go of his frustration with that situation but he always seems to give a little chuckle with a very little smile when some one brings up his height.

One day Rodney lost his temper and we found out one way that he channels it.  It came in the form of an e-mail early one morning.  Rodney comes into the office at about seven o'clock along with a few of us.  It is an easy way to get a jump on the day so you aren't stuck in the office past three thirty in the afternoon.

One morning I came into work and went through my routine.  Turn on the computer.  Go get a cup of coffee or make some coffee depending upon how early I am arriving.  Sit down and open the programs I will be using during the day and get my earphones out to listen to music while I work.  Open up the browser and email programs and check mail both at the house and at the office

On this particular day I found an email from Rodney in my inbox.  It was Titled "To Whom It May Concern" and so I opened it out of curiosity.  What I found tickled me at first.  It read :

To all Males,

At approximately 8:00am this morning (and practically every morning) the toilet is not being flushed. I know this because I was there at 7:50 and 8:10 this morning. I am getting very tired of flushing the toilet for this individual as you can tell by me wasting time to write this e-mail. At 3:45 pm today I will hold a class on flushing this toilet. Also there will be a class on the use of excess toilet paper. Also, if this individual will need further instruction, I will meet them on the other side of the tracks directly after class.

Thank You for Your Attention,


I found it humorous and checked to see who had gotten a copy of this e-mail.  It would be the talk of the day I was sure.  I was seeing a lot of jokes coming from that e-mail and Rodney was going to be the brunt of it.  So I checked to see where he had sent it and a shudder ran down my spine.  The TO address was "Everyone".  My first thought was "oh no Rodney, surely you didn't.  You see when you tell our interoffice e-mail to send to everyone, it send to everyone on the mail list in the office.  It is sent to all of the assembly line, to all of engineering and accounting as well as sales.  It is sent to every vice-president in the company.  It is also sent to the President of the company as well as the Chairman of the Board of directors.  In other words, everyone literally meant EVERYONE.

Rodney said that as soon as he had sent it and realized what he had done, he had gone to his boss to explain that he "may have done something stupid".  After discussing what should be done they decided to just let it go and see what happened.  They could surely defend Rodney's frustration if the question came up.  The really bad part of the e-mail was the part of meeting on the other side of the tracks which was code for I'll beat some sense into you If you can't get it through your head on how disgusting a situation it was.  

The situation eventually calmed down over the next several weeks and pretty soon it was all but forgotten.  Then we had the tornado warning a few weeks ago.  We were having funnel clouds in the Kansas City area and we were instructed to go to our designated places.  Our designated place was the restroom and so we all piled up in the restroom together to wait out the tornado.

One of the guys suddenly brought forth a proposition.

"Rodney," he said, "We are all in here together now if you want to give us that lesson."  The place broke into laughter as Rodney's face turned a bright red.  We had customers visiting us to see how their machine was coming along and so we all explained to them about Rodney's infamous e-mail.  The customers thought it was funny as well and we were all almost in tears laughing at Rodney's expense while his face continued to grow redder and redder.  I sincerely thought he was going to lose it and that the bathroom could become the scene of a crime in a very short manner.

It lasted about fifteen minutes before we moved on to another topic of discussion, mainly the weather.  The system was almost right on top of us and things quieted down a bit.  That was the last I heard of the infamous e-mail.

Actually Rodney's E-mail  brought about some good in the company.  There was one toilet in the men's room that did not work quite properly.  It happened to be the toilet that Rodney preferred to use.  After Rodney's e-mail the toilet was replaced and the problem had gone away years before the tornado warning that happened a few weeks ago.

However, the tornado warning did prove one thing.  Rodney's infamous e-mail will live on for a very long time.  It is this knowledge that we all carry with us that keep us being very careful on the e-mails we write and where we send them to. 

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