A Second Resolution Solution!

A lovely parting gift

A lovely parting gift.

When I gave my two-weeks notice, I was not prepared for how busy those next two weeks would be.

I figured my last days at Lawrenceville would consist of wrapping up a few loose ends. I also figured that the occasional work friend or acquaintance would stroll into my office to chat and say his or her goodbyes. And this is largely what did happen – only more so.

It turned out there were a lot of loose ends that needed tying. It also turned out that a lot of people needed to say their goodbyes. And some of those goodbyes took a lot of time. (One work pal just stood in my office silently, not knowing what to say, but not wanting to leave until he could think of something appropriate. That appropriate something never arrived. For all I know, he might still be in there.)

This was all well and good — and quite lovely, really — but as the days ticked away and those loose ends remained loose, my patience for such visits began to ebb. This was especially true during the last half of my last week. By that time all of my work friends and acquaintances had said what they had to say. Now the stream of well-wishers consisted exclusively of obligated almost-strangers and jocular irritants. When one such irritant visited and attempted to generate some last minute bonhomie, I nodded and smiled and uttered banalities (I figured I might be able drive him out of my office by being boring). My brain, however, wanted to try a different strategy. A yelling strategy:

“What is this? I don’t even like you! I haven’t spoken to you since 2012. Why are you here? Why are you keeping me from my loose ends? And, oh, God, hold on! Are you sitting down? Why are you sitting down?!”

The loose ends in question were the particulars of the spring issue of the alumni magazine I edited. I was leaving in the middle of my production schedule and that is kind of an organizational nightmare.

To the uninitiated, the task of putting out a magazine appears to be one big, ginormous job. In reality it’s more like four jillion little jobs — and I couldn’t  in good conscience take my leave until every one of those little jobs was accounted for in some fashion. I wanted to make sure that whoever the school hired would be able to quickly and easily pick up where I left off.

But there was a non-magazine-related loose end I had to deal with, too. And this loose end was far more important than a magazine. It was New Year’s Resolution Number Two: I had to find a vaguely amusing way to get rid of my golf balls.

Too many.

Sometimes I scare myself.

My desire to collect golf balls began in spring 2014. On my lunch hour I would wander around a nearby golf course and fill my pockets with any lost or abandoned balls I found. I would then go back to my office and put my quarry in an empty file drawer.

By the time 2014 came to a close, this drawer held 376 golf balls. That is a lot of golf balls. In fact, I would argue that it is too many golf balls. So as I rang in 2015, I vowed to find a way to get rid of them in a vaguely amusing way. Since my days at the job were numbered (and I had no desire to lug home 50 pounds worth of balls for a game I do not play) I had to come up with something fast. In the end, I decided to leave the balls behind. But that would be a loose end. I don’t like loose ends, so I also left behind a note:

Hi Editor!

I did my best to tie up loose ends on the spring issue to make the transition as easy as possible, but I may have overlooked something. If you have any questions about the job or my organizational system, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.

By now you have probably noticed that this drawer is filled with 376 golf balls. You are probably asking yourself, “Why?”

And I have an answer for you: Because this is what crazy looks like.

Such a gift is not without precedent, by the way. When I started this job 11 years ago, I discovered that my predecessor left behind a closet full of mayonnaise jars filled with urine. So, really, you should consider yourself lucky. Golf balls are nothing compared to that.

In short, quit complaining and get to work.

Your pal, Mike

I was amused. And so another resolution gets ticked off my list.

88 thoughts on “A Second Resolution Solution!

  1. Yuck the mayonnaise jars! I love how you left the golf balls a continuing story. You must stay in touch with someone to find out what happens to them next. I can just imagine the look on your face when all these people stay in your office too long ha ha!

  2. Please, please tell me you’re joking about the jars.

    Then again . . . it’s worse to imagine what that closet would have been like if s/he hadn’t bothered with the jars.

    Carry on!

  3. Haha, hilarious! I was pretty certain the mayonnaise jars was a joke, but then a few commenters seem to be thinking it was true, and so now I’m questioning my own judgment (imagine!). Either way, great note, and a funny post.

  4. This was soooo funny and so true.
    People make things needlessly so complex
    “One work pal just stood in my office silently, not knowing what to say, but not wanting to leave until he could think of something appropriate. That appropriate something never arrived. For all I know, he might still be in there”
    Loved the very last line!

  5. Haha, yes, golf balls trumps mayo jars with urine as things to be stuck with, so that was a clever tale you weaved for your editor. It’s all about the spin, right?

    Leaving a job is difficult. There always seems to be something else to do. At some point, we have to trust they’ll get by without us. And then strangely–and perhaps annoyingly–they do. 😉

    • Oh, I don’t doubt the new person will do fine. In fact, i hope he or she can build on the foundation I put up and make something even better. I invested too much of my life in that magazine to see the quality go down the tubes.

  6. Congrats on tying up loose ends, although in this case, I think you just cut off the offending scorched and frazzled splits. So, you lose points for taking the easy way out! But you recover points by taking the easy way out creatively. What we have here is a zero sum game. 😀

    Again, my sincerest congratulations! Now, are you and Lucy Rat going to take a vacation and spend some of that offshore cash, perhaps in Bermuda, while Ellen works her fingers to the bone?

    • The creative way out is never the easy way out, Jil. I’m calling this one a win.

      As for Lucy, all of her ill-gotten earnings are in her name alone, I’m afraid. Forbes has named her America’s Second Richest Rodent. Only Mickey Mouse edged her out, and she is (quite literally) on his tail.

  7. Great solution! Two down, four to go. At this rate you’ll be all done by summer and have to come up with six more!!! There is such a thing as being too efficient…don’t you think? By the way, I just KNOW you’re joking about the mayo jars, so please put those commenters who believed you our of their misery and come clean! H x

      • I am very gullible. I appreciate the clarification here, even if you left it out for new editor. Can you imagine if Editor just throws them all away? Then the Cleaner would be like “Wha?” Then inevitably, one will end up on the floor. The Cleaner carrying the bag of golf balls will trip and drop the bag of golf balls. Golf balls will roll wildly in every direction creating a scene which could only be captured by Gary Larson.

  8. Loose ends! Ugh. They are torture especially with multiple interruptions. I wasn’t sure about the mayonnaise jars. Whew. Thank goodness you were just messing around. I wonder if you could have made up baggies of 10 or 12 golf balls and given them out to everyone who visited–those who would accept them whether they played golf of not. 🙂 😀

    • I came up with the mayonnaise jar gag thinking it was so ludicrous that no one would believe it.

      But half of the comments here seem to think it could’ve been true.

      So now I’m wondering if I should send the new editor another note saying, “Oh, that mayonnaise jar thing? I made it up. It was just a pee joke. You know, because I’m immature. Anyhoo! I’ll let you get back to work now.”

      I do like your golf ball goodie bag idea, Tess. I just wish you came up with it a few weeks ago. I would’ve gone with it!

  9. You are way too enthusiastic about these resolutions…just the first of February and you’ve got two done already…I’m not sure if I should be annoyed or jealous. 🙂

  10. Is that mayonnaise story actually TRUE? Or was it just so that the guy would roll with the fact that he had to deal with 376 golf balls? Wouldn’t you just LOVE to be a fly nearby to see the expression on his (her?) face? I really hope whoever it is actually plays. THEN he/she will be grateful 🙂

  11. Water closet takes on a whole new meaning. Either that or Howard Hughes must have taken a wrong turn. As for the golf balls? You should have created a giant “guess the number” raffle. Or handed them out as mementos.

  12. I think you got outta there JUST in time. Between searching for and saving 376 golf balls (a humongous sign right there), putting up with colleagues who have no articulation skills (and just stand at your doorway staring, perhaps devising ways to do harm to you, or worse, getting out of their own job by standing and staring at you), and imagining mayonnaise jars of urine in the closet, you HAD to reverse your direction, accelerate in a different direction, create new resolutions, and GO OUT ON YOUR OWN. Phew, just in the nick of time, or in this case, just in the mike of time. HOORAY!!!!

  13. It’s very good of you to be interested in leaving loose ends tied up for the next person to take the job, but okay I’ll throw it out after debating with myself if I’m being icky or judgmental….isn’t that a bit related to the person who has been a stranger, perhaps a non helpful one, suddenly comes to wish you well? We all like loose ends tied up, but I’m totally with you on “Don’t sit down. Make it short and sweet.”

    • I’m not sure I understand the connection between what I was doing to what the pesky well-wishers were doing. My goal was to ease the transition between me and the new guy (who has yet to be hired, and will inherit a half-finished magazine on a tight production schedule). Now that I’m out, I have no intention of hovering or initiating contact with the new editor in any way. My contract is up and the magazine is no longer mine. That chapter of my life is over.

  14. Oh EWWW Gah! Really Mike??? Really?? Joke or not, that is just a gross visual that I can’t unsee in my head now! THANKS! LOL! It was a funny thing to leave them behind. That is an amusing way to get rid of them for sure. On the other hand, you are really probably making your editors wonder what else you have been up to all these years… ha ha ha ha!!! 😉

  15. It seems to me you found the perfect solution for the golf balls. It would be wonderful to find out what the reaction was of the new guy/gal. It sounds like your predecessor had a real mayonnaise fetish. (Sorry, I just don’t want to talk about the urine.)

  16. Amazing, I would have done the same thing! On a different note, this reminds me of an incident I had when I was studying abroad in Germany many moons ago in college. My flatmates, who were from all over the world, had been collecting tons of beer bottle caps because there was a “win a grill” contest going on associated with these caps.

    Well, after being there all summer, I had a super early flight back home. Nobody was awake yet and I was running late. Clumsy me knocked over all of the caps during my flurry to leave. Pretty sure I knocked them over with my butt. I didn’t stick around to clean up the mess or apologize for waking up the building. I ran for my bus and never spoke to any of those people again. 🙂

  17. Pingback: More Resolved Solved! | heylookawriterfellow

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