Friday, July 13, 2012

What do you say after you say “Hello”?

Suppose, as you show up at the office, someone asks you how you are.  What do you do?

A common-enough dilemma.  But consider this classic response (from “24”, Season VI):

Jack Bauer (calling in):  “This is Jack.”
Bill Buchanan (coolly, as usual):  “Jack.  We haven’t been able to reach you.  Are you all right?”
Jack: “Yeh, I’m fine.  But all the members of the back-up team have been killed.”

Think what a hit you’ll make at work, with a come-back like that!  A rueful grin, a “what can you say, it’s Monday” shrug, a nod that you’ll be soldiering on, even though every member of your back-up team has been killed.
("But enough about me.  How was your weekend?")

[Note to the uninitiated:  Being on Jack Bauer's back-up team  is a little like being the "#3 in al-Qaeda":  very high turnover.]

Postscript:  The title of this post  is that of an excellent book by psychologist Eric Berne, which I much enjoyed in Berkeley, lo these many years ago.  He also wrote the classic Games People Play.  Out of sentiment and idle curiosity, I looked him up in Wikipedia… only to learn that he had been thrice divorced.

Qui custodiet  ipsos custodes?  Miserere nobis, domine.


Office etiquette:  More from “24”

Chloe (Season VI), to her hospital-bedridden husband, minutes after he has been brutally tortured by a team of sadistic terrorists:  She slaps him, then says:
   “Why don’t you stop feeling sorry for yourself, and get back to work!!”


Synthesizing these two lessons, we must discounsel any member of the IC from attempting to bug out of husbandly duties  using that line:

Husband:  “Sorry, honey, I’ll be late to dinner.  All the members of my back-up team have been killed.”
Wife (slow burn;  slapping her palm with a rolling-pin):  “And just what sort of an excuse is that?”


  1. I've decided I need to start watching "24," but not binge-style. (

    It's so disappointing when those you admire fail to meet the standards for which you admire them.