Dear Tell All: I work in a small Madison office. Our receptionist is 66 years old and refuses to use email. So whenever someone calls and doesn't want to leave a voicemail, Madge scribbles the message down on a Post-it note. She saves them up until she gets the energy to walk over to my desk, then slaps them down as if I've done something wrong.
Madge is far too old to bother with politeness, so most of her messages are short and pithy, even rude. To tell you the truth, it annoys the hell out of me. Madge is going to retire in another two years, but I don't know how much more of this I can take.
Drowning in Post-its
Dear Drowning: Go easy on Madge. She's battled a lot of changes in her career: electric typewriters, computers, control-top pantyhose. It's enough to make anyone grumpy.
The truth is, we're all destined to end up like Madge. After a lifetime of keeping pace with technology, we all reach our breaking point, where we simply throw our hands in the air, say enough is enough and agree to let the world pass us by. The question is: What's going to push you over the edge?
For my mother it was anything invented after 1972, the year that John Wayne died in The Cowboys. She was forever stuck in a Tab soda world. My sister drew the line at microwaves, with the indisputable explanation, "Anything that can do that to a marshmallow doesn't belong in my house!"
I threw in the towel over cell phones, MySpace and Twitter. The last thing I need is to be available 24/7. That dark and stormy night when The People come to take me away, I'll need to slip underground in an instant. So I want to leave as few tracks as possible, which is why my name isn't on this column.
Here's what you should do: Save every note that Madge gives you. If you start now, you'll have hundreds by the time she retires. When it's your turn to give a toast at her retirement party, slam the foot-high stack of notes down in front of Madge. Then read the juiciest ones. With the right delivery, it should be hilarious and endearing, because I'm sure you're not the only one who's swimming in Post-its.
The beauty of this plan is that you'll not only be a hit at the retirement party, but between now and then, every note you receive from Madge will be a gift. There won't be any reason to be annoyed, because the more offensive the message, the sweeter your revenge.