Just Another Day in the Jungle
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This has been one of those afternoons on the job where I've wanted to hide in a corner and laugh myself silly because life is just that bizarre! I work for a community college. I've never met Cecil Groves, the President of said college, and never thought I would because he's way up there, and I'm way down here; meaning, he's President and I'm a lowly, part-time office assistant.

I arrive at work to a parking lot full of vehicles and no place to park, and I'm wondering what's going on. It seems there is a big to-do held in our newly renovated gym - something about attracting business to western North Carolina. The Nurses Aid instructor, a feisty, little red-head, comes in about the same time, and we squeeze our vehicles in a spot the size of a chalk line and do a contortionist's act getting out of the car without putting a ding the size of Russia on the vehicle next to us.

A few minutes later, we meet in the office at the copier machine and she says, "Where did all those freaking people come from?" Without waiting for an answer she points out the window and says, "I'd like to run that man over. Oh my! You didn't hear me say that out loud. He had the nerve to tell us the Health Department doesn't need a bigger budget."

The janitor ducks out of the room, strangling on his cup of water, and bursting at the seams with laughter. I'm not doing too well keeping mine under control either.

Scott, my boss, talks Rhonda and I into going down and filling up a plate with smoked salmon, carrots, egg rolls (at least I think they were egg rolls, I've never actually seen one. Hey, this isn't New York!) and hot wings (this is southern country, gotta have bar-be-cue chicken wings at every get-together). Didn't see any beer though. Shame on them!

Back in my office, I'm stuffing my face because the only thing I've had to eat today is a bowl of soup, and in walks this immaculately dressed big guy...the tall and broad kind of big...and the first thing he sees is me with a chicken wing stuffed in my mouth. He pretends he didn't see that and jokes around with Rhonda a bit. Then he moves into my office, holds out his hand and says, "Hello, I'm Cecil Groves."

I make a sound between a whimper and a swallow, manage to place my hand in his and squeak, "Hi." I totally forget my name, so he has to read it on my office door.

"Are you related to that rascal Bob Marr?"

"Uhhhh ... maybe my ex-husband is."

He roars out a laugh, gives me a farewell wave and says, "Nice meeting you, young lady."

He was charmed, I'm sure.

A few minutes later, I blow my nose because the chicken wings were too spicy and my sinuses are dripping. I'm sure everyone still milling about in the hall heard me, sophisticated lady I'm not, more along the lines of poor, country bumpkin. That thought throws me into a fit of giggles I can't stifle.

When things finally quiet down, I start making calls to let students know a class has been cancelled.

"Hi, I'm from Southwestern Community College, and I'm calling to let you know the Plumbing Contractors Exam Preparation course has been cancelled." For some reason, Preparation H crosses my mind, and I'm still full of giggle punch, so the last half comes out a garbled mess. Should have waited until I sobered up before attempting to speak in a straight line.

"You're from where? Who?" a confused male voice asks.

I pull myself together and become serious, after all, the President just saw me with a chicken wing hanging between my lips. Wouldn't want to give him a reason to fire me. I start to repeat the whole spiel when a female voice breaks in. I do a double take. Wasn't I talking to a male?

"William, I'm on the phone," she says.

I have this hilarious, uncanny feeling I'm talking to a guy with a split personality, so I remain quiet to see what happens next.

"What are you doing on the phone, Martha? She doesn't want to talk to you."

"Excuse me, I'm from..."

The lady personality interrupts me. "Who doesn't want to talk to me? This lady from the CNN satellite told me to push two."

Oh Boy!

By this time, I have my hand over my mouth, trying hard not to laugh out loud and wondering if I've made contact with Pluto.

"Well, then, she wants to talk to you, not me," he says.

"Wait!" I break in. "I'm from Southwestern Community College, and I need to speak to William Elmore."

"William, she's from the college, and she wants to talk to you." This is said with great awe.

"Well, put her on the phone then."

"She is on the phone."

"Then what are you doing on the phone?"

I almost had to hang up and compose myself before continuing. I manage to keep the laughter out of my voice, an exploit worthy of an Oscar nomination, and finally let the old guy know he didn't need to come in to class tomorrow.

Whew! I think I'll go down and see if they spiked the Diet Coke. If not, I'll just grab some more chicken wings. Is it Friday already? I'm having way too much fun.

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