Moments of Zen

One thing I miss about being in the newsroom is the daily banter between editors about stupid things their writers/fellow editors/prospective employees/random callers just wrote, said or did. Usually it involves a word or turn of phrase used horrendously wrong. We call these "Moments of Zen," and they often were the only thing that made me smile during an otherwise exhausting 12-hour day.

Here's an example of a typical Moment of Zen, sent to me today from a fellow editor who will remain nameless to protect the offending party's privacy:

"Some local nonprofit is giving away a custom-made bike tomorrow to a disabled kid. We’ve written about this group a couple of times in the past, so I told Cub Reporter to just assign a photo, leading to the following conversation:

Cub Reporter: So there’s more to this. The guy who’s going to present the chair is a former NAVY Seal and elite wheelchair racer. He apparently was injured in Noriega and had his legs removed.

Seasoned Editor: WHAT IN THE SAM HELL? He was injured where?

Cub Reporter: In Noriega.

Second editor, chiming in: Noriega is a person.

Seasoned Editor: He was injured ousting CIA operative Manuel Noriega?

Cub Reporter: (Blank stare)"

Now that you've had a primer, you can enjoy my all-time favorite Moment of Zen, which involved myself and a former editor, who I'll just refer to as Dimwit, and whose intelligence was as questionable as her work ethic:

I was proofing one of Dimwit's pages with her column on it, and in it she was dispensing etiquette advice for office Christmas parties. So one tip she gives is to "keep your right hand clean and empty at all times" so you can shake people's hands. She goes on to say that you should hold your plate of food, drink and napkin all with your left hand, so that your right hand is free and shakeable. (We're not even gonna get into the intricacies of how food and drink are supposed to make it to your mouth with no help from your right hand, which you are, remember, keeping "clean.")

Juggling all this in the left hand, she says, might take some practice. "Especially if you're left-handed."

Being a left-hander myself, I circled that comment because I'm thinking, 'Clearly, she meant to say EXCEPT if you're left-handed.' Because we left-handers are used to holding everything with our left hands. It's what's most comfortable. Piece o' cake.

But when I asked her about it, she actually argued with me that no, Silly Robyn, she meant what she said because left-handers shake with their left hands. Wuh? She actually believed that left-handers shake with their left hands, and right-handers shake with their right hands.

She did not believe me when I tried to correct her.

Dimwit: "Well how would you know? We need to ask a left-hander."

Me: "I am left-handed."

She still didn't believe me. It was not until I literally (swear to God) reached out my left hand, and had her reach out her right hand, as if we were going to "shake," and I said "Has anyone in your entire life tried to shake your right hand with their left hand? Do you know what would happen? We would just end up ... holding hands."

Her eyes bugged out of her head at this sudden revelation.

Good times.


Carol said...

That made for a good chuckle. Thanks for sending me off to bed with a smile on my face!

Amy said...!!
I remember you telling me that story and how hard I laughed that time too.

maureen said...


Sheila said...

I'm not trying to defend Dimwit, but could it be she was confused and was thinking back to the days of the Girl Scout Promise where we would shake with one hand, and hold up the other in a configuration that resembled giving testimony in a court of law?

Tara said...

The Dimwits of the world are good for something - a hearty laugh. :)

Carole Seawert said...

Perhaps she was getting confused with boy scouts - they shake with their left hands. (Well, they do in the UK, not sure about anywhere else).

Ian Leslie said...

Cub reporter? More like embryo reporter.

D said...

That is amazing!!!!!!!!! (i always hated editing columns with the overuse of exclamation points.)