Big Brother or Big Kahuna or Charlie Tuna or whatever we're calling him this week, you know who I'm talking about, that guy on the TV barking out all the orders at us, he's gone and ruined everything. See, for years I worked at the Ministry of Truth and it was a good job. All I had to do was report the news, to give my opinions and then to go home to air conditioning, cable TV and Swanson Hungry Man TV dinners. I had it made, right? What could be easier? It beats digging ditches in the hot sun, but then this guy came along and changed the rules.
One day they put up a sign in the office where everyone could read it. It said:
"Don't point out errors. It is only an error if you point it out!"
I stared at that sign for a couple of hours, working up my courage to ask my boss, Mr. Shofensleginstuffer, about it. Finally I went to his desk and asked, "Mr. Shofenslen, uh, Mr. Shofargone, uh, Jimmy, what does that sign mean?"
"It means what it says. It is only an error if you point it out! In this department we don't make errors and my name is pronounced Mr. Shofensleginstuffer! Do you understand?"
"Gotcha, Jimbo, but I do a lot of sports stories. What if the center fielder for our team drops a routine fly ball and lets the other team win?"
"You will report it that the other team won despite a heroic team effort on our part. Anything else wouldn't be constructive."
"What about this, Jim? What about if the other team drops a routine fly ball in the ninth and allows the winning runs to score and we win?"
"Well, that's different," he explained. "It is completely acceptable to point out the other side's deficiencies."
"Doesn't that make hamburger out of your sign there, Jimmy?"
His answer was quick and abrupt, "Read the sign! Read the sign! For God sakes, read the sign!"
Well, that didn't help me much, but it's always fun to get a rise out of Mr. Shofenslen, or Shofenfurtter. He had one of those big, thick necks and always wore his collar buttoned so when you made him mad it made his neck look like red Play Doh squeezed out of a sausage machine.
So I went back to work on a sports story and turned it in to the editor. It wasn't thirty minutes before Shofensdarter, or Shefendiaper, you know, Jimmy, was standing over my desk so red faced he looked like a pimple with beady eyes and glasses about to pop!
"Can't you read the sign?" he shrieked. "What's wrong with you? Look at this title!"
I looked at it and read it back to him, "White Sox lose 10 to 2. So?"