Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why you shouldn't go to work asleep

The neighbor’s cat was hit by a car the other night, prompting me to lock the cat door and inform my three feline housemates they’ve been grounded.

They didn’t take the news well, and spent the whole night yowling and attempting to chew through the window.

Suffice it to say, I didn’t sleep.

There’s something about sleep deprivation that makes the creativity center in my brain shrivel like man-giblets in ice water. It’s challenging when I need to be “on” for novel writing, but since yesterday was one of the three days a week I work as the marketing/PR manager for the city’s tourism bureau, I thought I could make do with a half-functioning brain.

I thought wrong.

Just before lunch, I put up a Facebook post promoting the city's upcoming First Friday Art Hop. At the last second, I edited the event title down to a simplified “Art Hop” to avoid using the word "Friday" twice.

Then I went to lunch and forgot about it.

Upon my return, I found the office manager laughing so hard she could barely stand.

My boss peered up at me from behind her desk. “Did you put up the post about Fart Hop?”

There’s really no right answer to that question.

Sure enough, I discovered I had posted the following message for all 2,000+ Facebook friends to enjoy:

Who else is looking forward to FArt Hop in downtown Bend on Friday? Looks like a great lineup!

The post generated a plethora of colorful comments and several phone calls to the office. I got a congratulatory text message from someone whose number I didn’t even recognize, and the executive director for the Downtown Business Association emailed me a proposed agenda for Fart Hop (the highlights of which included a chili cheese fry eating contest and a mandatory underwear change).

It’s a good thing everyone has a sense of humor about this stuff. I suppose in some companies it could be a firing offense. In this one, we laughed ourselves silly imagining promotional items and ad campaigns tied to the Fart Hop.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the cats and their house arrest, but I do know I shouldn't go to work sleep deprived again. Late yesterday afternoon while responding to an email about our city’s nomination as one of the dog friendliest towns in the nation, I caught myself typing the phrase “doggie style.”

I noticed that one before I hit send.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done as a result of sleep deprivation? Please tell me I’m not the only one who pulls stuff like this.

And please tell me where the hell I left my pen. And my sandwich. And my pants.


Danielle Spears said...

First, I have to point out that I'm the first one to respond to your post two days in a row? Do I get extra credit? Second, I teach high school English and when I'm exhausted sometimes I don't enunciate well. My kids find it hilarious when I try to say version and it comes out as virgin. Another one of my blunders is when I was assigning characters for Macbeth and had to make sure the guys had "male parts" not female parts. [Other recent blunders: stragedy=stradegy (I combined the words tragedy and strategy) and hyperboble=hyperbole]. I know a child who would love to go the Fart Hop, btw :)

Danielle Spears said...

Can I just point out my last post was a case in point for all the errors? Sheesh!

Sarah W said...

My spelling is the first thing to go when I'm tired or under the weather.

I once wrote an explanatory e-mail on two hours of sleep and sent them to our Aldermen -- the sig at the bottom clearly stated that I was a representative of the Pubic Libarie.

Fortunately, I also spelled my own name wrong, and no one mentioned it to me.

Thank God no one ever reads my memos.

Linda G. said...

OMG, you should put a "Depends Warning" at the top of this post. I laughed so hard I could barely contain myself!

Re the cats: that's a tough one. Once they're used to the great outdoors it can be difficult to convince them you only have their best interests at heart when you confine them to the house. Maybe they'll calm down in time. :)

Shain Brown said...

I can't think of anything at this moment that I have done, but I would like to poke, I mean point out your unique marketing strategy. What kind of exciting response would "Art Hop" really have gotten? Fart Hop on the other hand, I bet you no one will forget Friday's event. Good job!

Clever Betty said...

I'm a hopeless insomniac. I am usually functioning on very little sleep. In fact, I've been up all night and am just now sleepy. I'll probably go to sleep for 4 or 5 hours and that's it. (I work nights.)

When I wasn't working nights, I once got dressed, rode one bus, got off and walked a ways, rode another bus to a meeting point with a friend, rode the rest of the way with that friend in her car. Sat down in a meeting and realized, I was wearing my skirt inside out and no one in all my travels had said one thing!

Alexa O said...

First of all, Fart Hop! The possibilities are endless...

Second, when I was pregnant I was tired all the time. I was also broke, and put off buying maternity clothes for as long as I could.

My pants fit as long as I was standing up, but to get in the car and drive, I had to unbutton and unzip them.

Can you see where this is going? Yes, I got to the grocery store one day and got out of the car without redoing my pants... And ended up with them around my ankles in the parking lot! So then I was a half-naked, laughing, crying (because everything made me cry) pregnant lady. Just another day at the grocery store...

Anne Gallagher said...

You will probably have more people attending the Fart Hop than you ever would if was just a plain old Art Hop. (You'll have to let us know how it turns out.)

Sleep deprivation is one of the things I live with constantly. My mss. can attest to it.

As for the cats -- they'll never let you sleep, mine wakes me at 4am every morning. NO matter what. And I don't have a kitty door.
Maybe if you left all the lights on in the house before you go to bed, they'll think it's daytime and not want to go out.

abby mumford said...

moral of the story: make sure you're surrounded by people with a good sense of humor whenever you haven't gotten a proper night's sleep.

Dr. Cheryl Carvajal said...

I once reported on a professor's research. When listing the categories men look for in finding a mate, I (in my sleep-deprived state) replaced "sexually attractive" with "sexually active."

The prof called me on it when the paper came out, but he also laughed, recognizing that many men would prefer to date women who are sexually active.

Kudos to you, to your office, and to the community who found the mistake so funny! So glad they didn't get their panties in a wad over it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's the best attended Art Hop ever!

Michelle Wolfson said...

I kind of think the Fart Hop should become an annual event. Look at all the community interest.

German Chocolate Betty said...

First off, I'll have you know I had to wait ten mins before writing this, 'til I quit choking on the coffee that I was drinking when hit in mid-swallow with "Fart Hop"...

Of course, I couldn't explain to my poor office mate (for whom English is a weak second language) why I was laughing and choking at the same time. (Try explaining THAT to someone who hasn't a clue what a "hop" is, and why the combo of "fart" and "hop" -- incl double entrende possibilities -- is funny...)

Soooo... I didn't do this while I was sleepy, but I was significantly stressed, so probably same thing in the end:

Many, many moons ago I was chairing a fairly large meeting for the CS dept of U of Maryland overseas (connected to US military) in Heidelberg. Probably, oh, say, 60-70 people in the room, mostly men.

We were talking about the problem of equipment thefts from the computer labs scattered all over Europe. As actng dept head, I had had to deal with reordering parts, etc. Some of these were weird, like during one summer break, someone got into the lab and stole all the memory chips out of all the computers and it wasn't noticed for months. Turned on the machines and not a one worked...

Anyway, in front of the whole group, I loudly announced, "oh, yes, and we have been having problems with people stealing mouse balls..."

A moment's silence, then the room exploded in laughter, including our very non-humorous VP who was giving a courtesy visit. It took a while before I lived that one down...

(PS: For you youngsters, before there were optical mice, they had little trackballs in their bellies, which contained little gyroscopes that occasionally went bad -- replacing the ball was cheaper than replacing the mouse, but still something like $20-30 in those days...)

I swear, I am not making this up.

Jenna McCarthy said...

THIS is why we are writers! We welcome utter humiliation; we embrace it! Even in the midst of mortification, we're thinking about what clever headline we're going to use to sum it all up... And honestly. FART HOP?!?! Dying.

Unknown said...

Honestly, I almost didn't make it past "man-giblets". I had to stop and laugh helplessly for a second. I may use that one in the future.

The first thing to go for me is my verbal filter. Since I'm chronically sleep-deprived, I often let inappropriate things fly out of my mouth. Worst example was when I was still teaching. I had one of my physics students help me organize lab supplies after the freshman had left things in a mess. He pulled up a slinky and a second was caught up in the coils. Me: They're mating!! (Not so bad, right? It gets worse.) He laughs and keeps pulling the slinky out of the drawer. Turns out there are something like 6 of the little buggers all tangled up. Instantly, I say "It's an orgy!" Not appropriate for a teacher to say to her TEENAGE, MALE student. Oops.

At least I didn't get fired, right?

Anonymous said...

I once *almost* sent out a construction specification that required a "certified horney man" (we actually needed a journeyman).

Shoulda sent it out - it would've been fun to evaluate the candidates. Though I'm not sure how that particular certification is awarded. More research is required.

Patty Blount said...

Honestly, I make so many entertainin typos, it's hard to know where to start.

Last night, I kept struggling with the word "heart". First attempt was "hurt" and second attempt "heard".

Then there was the Vulcan mind meld that went out to my whole staff as "Vulvan" mind meld.

And spellcheck once corrected "inconsistent" as "incontinent".

Anonymous said...

I think I need to take a long hard look at the amount of pee and fart joke tweets and facebook statuses I post when sleep deprived. Note to self: don't social network when tired. *embarrassed face*

Danica Avet said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who does stuff like this at work. I recently received an e-mail from a co-worker with a template of a letter I had to send out. It had everything I needed on it (including the address of the place I have to send it). I looked it over, printed it and then e-mailed him back asking him who to address it to.


Harley May said...

You left a pair of pants here.

No, I won't give them back.

K.B. Owen said...

This wasn't me, but it could have been, because I'm one of our church's lectors. This is what we heard the guy doing the reading actually say:
"In that day, I will make the clans of Judah like a flaming brassiere among sticks..."

Supposed to be "brazier" of course. Fortunately, it was a small gathering.

Geoffrey Cubbage said...

Y'know, our local minor-league team has a "Natural Gas Night" sponsored by the utility company. Maybe you could send them some ideas?

The Writing Goddess said...

Loved it! Fart Hop, OMG, that is priceless.

You cats are going outside. I had an indoor/outdoor cat I tried to convince to stay in when we moved, and he literally chewed a hole through the front door to get out, no matter what I sprayed on it or tried to seal it off. I suggest getting them new brightly reflective collars and tags.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...


When going through some medical issues a while back, the lack of sleep caused me to occasionally speak without bothering to consult with my brain. Well, one day, the doctor gave me some good news, so to celebrate, I decided to stop at the local market to pick up some live blue crabs.

Well, my husband and I are amateur radio operators, so after I came out of the market, I gave him a call on the radio to give him the good news. Told him, "I left the doctor's, and I've got crabs."

Needless to say, I got an incredible razzing from all of the other hams who happened to be listening that day.

Jason said...

I can honestly say I don't think many people at my work would appreciate the comedy behind such a post, unintentional or intentional. Little uptight around here.

I'm sure I've made my own gaffes, but I try to block them out. Others around me probably remember better. :)

As for the cats - good luck. My cats have never been outdoor cats, though one of them was a stray and she can be pretty sneaky. I can't imagine having to break cats of being used to going outside.

Kadi Easley said...

Aw, blogger ate my post. I'll try again.

Way back in the dark ages when my oldest was a little over a year old and I was pregnant with baby number two, I was also working the night shift. In those days if you looked sleep deprivation up in the encyclopedia it had my picture. One day a knock at the door woke my from a sound sleep. I leapt, well more like heaved myself out of bed, grabbed my shorts off the floor and pulled them on under my sleep shirt as I ran for the door. I cleared my throat and fluffed my hair on the way there so whoever was knocking wouldn't know they'd caught me sleeping.
It was a salesman. It took longer than it should have to convince him I was too broke to be interested unless he was handing out free money, but he finally left and I congratulated myself that he couldn't possibly have known he'd caught me sleeping, when I looked down and realized I had my shorts on inside out. I probably had a big pillow crease on my cheek too, so maybe he didn't notice my pants were on wrong.

Michelle Miles said...

OMG I was WEEPING when I read this (at work of all places!).

Let's see... I think the first thing for me to go dexterity. I tend to drop things. A lot. And then I get mad. Which makes me cuss. Which isn't a good thing at work.

Meghan Ward said...

I am a major sucker for potty humor, and this post had me laughing harder than I've laughed in a long time! As for sleep deprivation, I don't know where to begin. I have been sleep deprived for three years now, getting 5-6 hours of sleep many nights in the past several weeks. One day I was all excited to open a box that came in the mail until I realized that the sender was ME. I had sent it to MYSELF instead of to my father. Doh!

Susan S said...

Wow...this makes my "forgot my stapler in my partner's office and didn't remember for two hours" story sound downright tame.

I will admit to barely catching a humiliating typographical error in a client's contract, however.

Turns out that "Public viewing" really does need every letter or it turns into something much less...public.

London Mabel said...

Hmm I had two cats who were probably outdoor-indoors before we adopted them, but living in an apartment it's really easy to *make* cats into indoor cats. It's just a no option. They get to sit on the balcony, end of. If it makes you feel any better, every cat rescue place advises keeping cats indoors, and they're the most pro-cat people you'll meet. They won't let you adopt unless you promise to keep kitties indoor.

My friend has a double front door that she calls her airlock, to keep the cat in.

On the other hand, my mother knew of a cat who went into a depression when he had to become an indoor cat because the family moved to an apartment. So she took him to her home so he could be outdoors again. If the cats are that miserable, you just will have to weigh that against a possible shorter life span. Might be worth it. Good luck! And great fat story. :-)

German Chocolate Betty said...

RE: kitties. You need a cat run. Sort of a large screened in porch, deisnged with perches and stuff. Google it. There are kits for them, get Xavier to build one for you (that way you get to admire his muscles, haha).

Somewhere on the Internet I saw some pictures of a cat run that went a whole lot further than just a porch-like thing. There were (chicken wire-covered) walkways up into trees and around the lot line.

That way, they get outside, but not OUTSIDE...

Christi Goddard said...

I get really weird on sleep deprivation. Like... way weirder than normal. And the ability to create cohesive sentences tends to evaporate, and I take on a sort of southern drawl that I had when I was younger. So, I guess, by losing sleep I return to the age of four.