Friday, May 7, 2010


The most beautiful things are those that madness prompts and reason writes.
André Gide, Journals, 1894

By Kelley Williams

I work in non-profit. And it’s a little known fact that to work in non-profit you have to be a little bit crazy. Every once in awhile, though, the word gets out. You can imagine the confusion this causes with the full blown crazy people who submit their resumes thinking they have the perfect job qualifications.

We said a little bit crazy! Not, Eee Eee shower scene, boiling bunny crazy.

A few times, the the full blown crazies have slipped through the cracks, disguised as normal people. But thankfully it’s not long before they start reverting to their crazy ways and we are able to swiftly get rid of them.

I recently switched jobs, but I used to work with four other little-bit-crazy women in an office the size of a Q-tip box.

I know what you’re thinking. You’d rather have someone reach down your throat and pull out your intestines than work in a small - did I mention it was small? - office with five women.

But guess what? We all got along. In fact, we’re actually, gasp, friends!

There’s the wise one, Agnes, full of practical solutions, sage advice and of course, lotion.

Hilda’s the one who keeps us on track and makes sure we stay serious. Seriously! She’s also good at sniffing out the full blown crazies, except for that one… good ole blew eyes.

Maud’s slightly more-than-a-little-bit crazy demeanor keeps things lively and ensures there is never a dull, or quiet, moment.

I am the one who rocks out to Journey and often stops talking mid-sentence to stare absently into space for indeterminate amounts of time.

And then there’s heaven-sent, fresh air we breathe, sunshine of our lives, Bertha. I’m sorry, did that border on creepy? It must be that little bit crazy coming through. Simply put, Bertha provides our comic relief.

Sometimes it’s with her one liners:

“Recently - a few months ago - I was…” I don’t remember the rest, but it’s not important. The first five words say it all.

Said by me or Agnes or Hilda, “We need to buy cellophane to put that basket together.”

Said by Bertha, “Cellophane? Isn’t that the stuff they put over your mouth when they want you to fall asleep?”

It was the height of season (unless you’ve worked in non-profit, this phrase is of no significance to you) and Bertha was printing something when she muttered to her printer, “You stupid piece of crap.” Okay, so maybe you had to be there. But trust me, it was hilarious.

Sometimes it’s her tuning in to the end of conversation and exclaiming at exactly the wrong moment, in other words as the boss is walking by, “You were in bed with: insert Board Member’s name!”

Seriously, I almost died on that one.

Sometimes her comic relief comes in the form of an accidental marriage. This would have been the time she went to Staples and one of the employees was hitting on her. (This happens to her everywhere she goes.) He noticed a silver band on her left ring finger.

“Are you married?” he asked.

Flustered and not knowing what to say, Bertha said, “Yes.”

“Wow you’re young. It’s hard to make a marriage work that young.”

“Yeah, well my husband lives on a boat in Jupiter and I live here.”

Either this answer made perfect sense to the Staples employee or he was too befuddled to question it. Either way, he seemed to accept her answer.

Imagine Bertha’s boyfriend’s surprise that evening when she got home and informed him they were now married.

And sometimes the story continues several months later. Only this time the same Staples employee forgot that she’s married and invited her to a weekend at Disney World with him and his daughter. Apparently sometimes the full blown crazies sniff out the little bit crazies and try to use the common craziness as the basis for which to build a future.

Bertha’s reply? Why, just what you’d expect when a total stranger invites one to spend a weekend with him and his daughter: “Hmm…yeah, yeah, maybe.” Really, Bertha? Maybe? I guess Where Dreams Come True doesn’t just apply to children, but to creepy Staples employed fathers also.

But Bertha is not only funny, she is a wealth of knowledge. Ever wondered about the differences between a bull, a cow and a horse? Bertha can tell you.

Just got a cat and you’re wondering if it’s a boy or a girl? Ask Bertha, she’ll, uh, er…never mind, don’t ask her that one.

Comedy and zoology aren’t the only weapons in her talent arsenal. Bertha is a stellar chauffeur. Your car broke down and you’re in need of a lift? Just give Bertha a call. She hates being late so you know she’ll get you to your destination on time, but more importantly, she’ll get you there safely. She’s only been in three accidents and hit just one biker.

For these reasons and oh so many more, Bertha is the wind beneath our wings. The yin to our yang. She completes us. I could wax poetic all day about the wonder that is Bertha. What? I’m starting to sound creepy again. Sorry, it’s a by-product of the craziness and a little hard to control. In fact, I’m convinced that if it weren’t for Bertha, that little bit of craziness inside of Agnes, Maud, Hilda and I would turn into full-blown psychosis. And then we'd have to hide from those nice young men in their clean white coats coming to take us away ha-ha, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha,haa.

1 comment:

  1. and don't forget the one about Mac's brothers sister cousin....has to an all time classic!


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