Saturday, May 10, 2014

Story 31: Meeting of the Minds

(Scene: A meeting room with one long table.  Ten suits and one secretary enter and sit.)
Head Suit: The meeting of the Group Committee will come to order – please review last meeting’s minutes.
Suit 2: (Mutters) More like hours.  (Head Suit narrows his eyes at him)
Head Suit: Is there a motion to approve?
Suit 3: I would like to make a motion to approve, if that’s all right.
Head Suit: (Discreetly rolls his eyes) Second?
Suit 4 and Suit 5: Second.
Suit 4: Who gets credit for that?
Head Suit: It doesn’t matter – all in favor?
Suits 2 to 9: Aye.
Suit 10: Ayuh.
Head Suit: Minutes approved.  For the –
Suit 7: Hold it – I have a revision to the minutes where it says –
Head Suit: It’s too late!  They’ve already been approved!  Actually read them before the meeting next time if you want to make revisions!  Clarice here (He gestures at the secretary) spends hours distilling what is said at these meetings into our permanent record; the least you could do is read her fine work!  You people make me sick!
Clarice: It’s OK, I –
Head Suit: No, it is not OK, Clarice – no one will be denigrated in this company on my watch, do you hear me?  So Tony, shut your fat mouth!  (Suit 7 hangs his head in shame) Clarice, I retroactively make those previous comments off the record.  (Clarice crosses out five lines in her notebook) Now, on to Item 1 on the agenda: this year’s budget.  Angela?
Suit 5: (Looks at her report) We have no money to order anything.
Head Suit: So, same old?
Suit 5: We did receive a grant to order T-shirts for the annual walk, but they have to be ordered by tomorrow or we lose it.
Head Suit: Order away, then.
Suit 8: That has to be by Committee consensus, sir.
Head Suit: Oh yes – I make a motion to use the grant money to order T-shirts for the walk.  Second?
Suit 2: Can we just raise our hands?
Head Suit: Fine.  (A few hands go up) All in favor?
Suits 2 to 7 and 9: Aye.
Suit 8: Nay!
Head Suit: One dissension – the motion carries.
Suit 8: I raise an objection on the grounds that we don’t have a quorum!  In case no one’s noticed, we’re missing 15 members!
Head Suit: You’re not even on this Committee anymore, Roger; I took you off in January, so get outta here!
Suit 8: Oh.  (Mumbles and gathers papers) Would have been nice if someone’d sent me a memo….
Head Suit: And you’d better not take those minutes out of this room!  (Suit 8 drops them on the floor and skulks out) Please note that Roger has now officially been notified that he is no longer a Committee member.
Suit 4: (Whispering to Suit 5) Thank goodness – I didn’t want to be the one to tell him.
Head Suit: Moving on to Item 2: the presentation on company numbers.  Clarice?
(Clarice turns on a projector and shuts off the lights.  The screen turns blue, then an error message appears)
Suit 3: Should we call I.T.?
Head Suit: That’ll take hours.  Clarice, I thought you tested this beforehand?
Clarice: I forgot!  (She buries her head in her arms and cries)
Head Suit: There, there, we all make mistakes.  Just e-mail it to us later and don’t ever let it happen again.  (Clarice nods, turns off the projector, and turns the lights back on) Item 2 is tabled due to technical difficulties, which I think is a nice and diplomatic way of putting it.  Item 3: layoffs.  This is not an item for approval; it is only informational.  Susan, Larry, Jill, and Tom – this is your formal notice.  Thank you for all your years with the company (He waves over someone outside the room); Security is here to escort you out.
(Three Security personnel enter and escort out Suits 3, 4, 6, and 9)
Head Suit: Now, Item 4: meeting planning.  What do you want to put on the next meeting’s agenda?
Suit 2: I would like to make a motion to dissolve this Committee instead, now that we have less than half the required number of members here.
Head Suit: That can be discussed under the “Open Discussion” section – right now, we are on Item 4.
Suit 2: It’s a counter-proposal to the discussion at hand.
            Head Suit: It is not – it is a different topic and must wait until we reach “Open Discussion”.
            Suit 2: If my motion passes, the Committee no longer exists and the topic of planning future meetings will be moot!
            Head Suit: Again, it is off-topic and must wait until “Open Discussion”!
            Suit 2: Well, what do The Rules say?
            Clarice: (Reading from The Rules) “All items on the agenda must be discussed or tabled.”
            Suit 2: I move to table!
            Head Suit: Anyone second?  (The other suits raise their hands) All in favor? (The other suits say “Aye”) Motion carried – Item 4 is tabled at this time.  Item 5 –
            Suit 2: We just tabled Item 4 so we could dissolve the Committee and end the meeting!
            Head Suit: You know that’s not how it works, and now you’re just making everyone uncomfortable.  Item 5 – the rat infestation issue.
            Suit 2: I move to table!
            Head Suit: We have 20 more items on the agenda – will you be moving to table all of them until we reach “Open Discussion”?
            Suit 2: Yes!  With all of my heart, yes!
Head Suit: Very well, I will go against my principles and put it to a vote.  Who is in favor of dissolving the Committee?  (Everyone except Head Suit raises their hand) Who is against?  (Head Suit raises his hand) So moved – the Committee remains intact.  As Chair, my vote overrides everyone else’s.
Suit 7: (Stands) That’s not in The Rules!  Clarice!
Head Suit: Only I can order Clarice around, now back to your station!
Suit 10: (Stands) I declare a vote of no confidence in you as Chair!  Sir!
Head Suit: (His mouth drops open and he stands slowly) You dare to declare a vote of no confidence in me?!  This is mutiny!
Suit 2: (Stands with Suit 5) As Vice Chair, I call a vote to have you removed as Chair and me installed in your place.  All in favor?
Suits 5, 7, and 10: Aye!
Suit 2: So moved!
Head Suit: Strike that from the minutes!  This is highly irregular!
Suit 2: Motion to dissolve this Committee; second; all in favor?
Suits 5, 7, and 10: Aye!  Aye!  Aye!
Suit 2: Committee dissolved!  We’re free!
(Suits 2, 5, 7, and 10 grab their papers, throw them into the air, and run from the conference room in glee.  Head Suit sits down wearily in his chair and looks at Clarice)
Clarice: Should I enter that the meeting’s adjourned?
Head Suit: No.  It will continue – forever.  That’ll show them for not following proper parliamentary procedure.
(The company went out of business the following day)


  1. Sounds like every meeting I attended when I was working. Very true.

  2. Yes, I figured any committee member/office worker would appreciate it :-).