The Dangers of a Safety Meeting

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

The Dangers of a Safety Meeting

There is more real pleasure to be gotten out of a malicious act, where your heart is in it, than out of thirty acts of a nobler sort.” -Mark Twain

Kenneth sat in the safety meeting that his work had required him to attend.  Kenneth slid around uncomfortably on the plastic chair that was made more for its stackable-form than for actually sitting.  Kenneth fidgeted and looked to the paper bag at his feet.  Five more minutes, Kenneth thought to himself.  Five more minutes and I’m wrapping this meeting up.

Kenneth didn’t feel that safety was something that needed to be focused on.  His school of thought was that if you were a klutz, then you should be careful.  If you were a coordinated individual, then you should avoid ice patches and falling pianos.  People needed to follow those simple guidelines and that was all there was to it.  Should a person cut their hand with a knife, they should put on a bandage and shut up.  Kenneth was the “heal with duct tape or super glue” type and had no patience for lessons on how to bend with his knees.  To Kenneth, if you couldn’t lift a box, you were a wimp.

Yet, because the pencil-necked little runt was in charge of things and Kenneth wasn’t, the man found himself waiting for the clock to count down to his freedom.  The presenter was droning on about the “dangers of extension cords” and how they were a tripping hazard waiting to happen.  Kenneth looked at the stranger and assumed that he was a consultant.  “Consultants” in Kenneth’s mind translated to “over-paid talkers”.  Kenneth felt his eyes drooping so he turned his attention out the window.

The view was the only saving grace that Kenneth had.  He always assumed that the company shouldn’t have allowed the blinds to be open if they really wanted him to pay attention.  The Stalwart Shipping Company occupied the forty-fourth floor of the skyscraper.  The building itself was the closest skyscraper to the ocean and the view was astounding.  In the distance Kenneth could see ferries lazily shuttling across the water while several smaller boats puttered about the coastline.  Further down the waterfront were the shipping lanes, but Kenneth had as much interest in the docks as he did in the presentation.  He looked at the water, the blue sky above, and back at the water.  If he were taking in the view under different circumstances, it would have been quite relaxing.

The trouble was that Kenneth wanted to be out in the world, not sitting and looking out at the panoramic view.  It was Friday afternoon.  He had a ticket to the baseball game in his pocket.  He had served the company well all week.  No one had gotten past his security checkpoint.  No unexpected visitors had gotten in.  He was a fine employee, a dues-paying union man, and it was almost time for him to punch out.  The company had gotten thirty-nine hours and fifty-five minutes out if him.  They were not going to get much more.

Kenneth rubbed his hands on his knees.  He felt the need to be free growing stronger within him.  He flipped open his phone and compared the time to the clock on the wall.  Both clocks told him that it was four fifty-nine.  Kenneth began to count down from a hundred and pulled the paper sack closer.  He didn’t want to cause a ruckus, he only wanted to leave.  The paper bag was just in case.

Lonnie Johnson, the creator of the Super Soaker.

The presenter was obviously oblivious to Kenneth’s feelings.  He continued to prattle on.  Kenneth could see that all of his coworkers were as anxious to leave as he was.  Well, everyone except the head of marketing, who had arranged the meeting in the first place after he had sprained his ankle.  Kenneth rolled his eyes at the accident.  If they hadn’t been giving tours of the warehouse, the clod wouldn’t have tripped over the crate.  Or the suit could have just watched where he was going.  Kenneth shook his head.  Now why would you ever do that, he thought to himself sarcastically.

“I know we’re a little behind, but we have just a few more slides.”

Kenneth’s eyes lit up with rage.  The presenter actually thought that Kenneth was going to sit there and listen to more of this.  The presenter was wrong.

Kenneth stood up and started walking towards the door.  The chairs around him started to swivel in his direction as the others saw him leaving.

“Kenneth?  We’re actually not quite done here”, the suit stated.

“It’s five o’clock.  I gotta punch out.  Union regs.”

“I’m going to have to ask you to stay.  I’m sure we can work out the details.”

That was it.  Kenneth hadn’t wanted the opportunity to present itself before, but now he almost relished his planning.  With a sudden move, he reached into the paper bag, pulled out a water balloon, and lobbed it into the air.  It landed on the shiny wood desk, bursting open and thoroughly soaking his higher-up in their precious suit, the presenter, and the presenter’s over-priced laptop.

“I said, I gotta go.”

Kenneth walked out of the room and slapped a few high-fives.  He walked out as a few people whispered their appreciation to him.  There would be repercussions, perhaps even some sort of write up.  Kenneth wasn’t too worried.  One of the men that had high-fived him was the union rep.

Safety could wait for later.  Kenneth had a ball game to enjoy.

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About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

2 Responses to The Dangers of a Safety Meeting

  1. suburbanlife says:

    A fun read this morning, for me, this one. You had me, madly anticipating what might be coming next in this situation. Nice lean writing! I was so not expecting the water baloon. Good touch, with the right subversive feel. G

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