24 – Meeting, Greeting, and Bleeting

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Mr. D: “Welcome team. Thank you for taking the time to meet today. As you know, we have a very serious problem that requires our immediate attention. I’ve asked Sarah to join us from Engineering, Don from Public Relations, and Anne from Accounting. Sarah, could you please start us off by sharing your thoughts?” 

Sarah: “Thank you, Mr. Derriere. As we all know, the recent structural collapse of Charity Hospital’s west wing has resulted in numerous injuries. Miraculously, no one was killed. Ironically, the injured had to be transported to other area hospitals since Charity Hospital was forced to shut down due to the chaos and damage. Since we were the engineering and construction firm for this project…” 

Mr. D: “Thank you, Sarah”. 

Sarah: “Huh?” 

Mr. D: “Thank you.” 

Sarah: “For what? I didn’t even get started! We’re under the microscope here, with several ongoing investigations by city, state, and federal regulators.” 

Mr. D: “I’m sorry, Sarah, but this is a Bleet meeting.”

Sarah: “A what?” 

Don: “A Bleet meeting. Sarah, darling, don’t you ever read our company memos?” 

Sarah: “I’m sorry, Don. But with this disaster going on, I’ve been kinda busy lately. And my name is not ‘Sarah darling’. It’s just Sarah, thank you.” 

Don: “Well, Sarah, saying the least is the whole point. This is a Bleet meeting.”

Mr D: “Don is correct. With the rollout of our new ‘Bleet Meeting Policy’, all meeting participants will be limited to bleeting out a maximum of 50 words. This will promote efficiency and encourage participants to be brief and concise.” 

Sarah: “Huh? But I have a detailed analysis to present. My team has conducted an extensive, time-consuming investigation to determine the reason for the structural failure. It’s essential that we understand the specifics of the building collapse in order to develop a response to all of these investigations. I have…”

Mr D: “Thank you, Sarah. Don, do you have anything to add?” 

Don: “Rats.” 

Mr D: “That’s it?” 

Don: “I found out the hospital wasn’t keeping up with their pest control. Rats probably chewed away at the foundation, thus causing the building to collapse. Totally the hospital’s fault! Not our problem!” 

Sarah: “But, you don’t understand. According to my report…” 

Don: “Hey, I’m the PR guy, right? We need a plausible position on this unfortunate occurrence. And rats fit the bill!” 

Sarah: “But the foundation is solid concrete with steel structural beams. There’s no wood for the rats to chew!” 

Don: “And I quote from my extensive research on this matter. Ahem. A rat bite exerts more force per square inch than an alligator or shark. Rats can chew through almost anything: wood, drywall, brick, concrete, aluminum, sheetrock, and more.”

Sarah: “Concrete eating rats? Where do you get this stuff from?” 

Don: “Why, Google of course. The most authoritative source in the Universe. We’re off the hook!” 

Sarah: “Well, according to my report, we used a new concrete vendor for the footings in order to save money. Evidently this new vendor didn’t institute adequate quality control procedures during the manufacturing process, thus resulting in weaker hydration curing which resulted in poor adhesion. Consequently, the steel beams were not firmly attached to the underlying…” 

Mr D: “Thank you, Sarah.” 

Sarah: “But, there’s so much more to say! We need more depth of understanding here. More clarity.” 

Don: “More rats! Let’s go with the rats!” 

Mr D: “Anne, you’ve been awfully quiet. What does accounting have to say?” 

Sarah: “Sorry, Anne, but before you share your thoughts, I really need to provide more details. We can’t gloss over this disaster. We need to carefully examine what happened, so we can avoid future problems. We’ve recently built other structures using this same concrete vendor. This is a serious problem and…”

Mr D: “Thank you, Sarah.” 

Don: “Sarah, you just don’t get it. Your bleeting needs to be brief. We’re stuck in meetings all day. We need to be more efficient.” 

Mr D: “Don is right. Efficiency is the key here.” 

Sarah: “But this is so superficial. We’re confronted with a very complex problem. We need to examine it in depth. Explore solutions. Determine the extent of the problem. Develop a game plan to address the…” 

Mr D: “I’m sorry, Sarah, but now your bleeting has exceeded your overall meeting limit allocation.”

Sarah: “Meeting limit?” 

Don: “Yeah, Ms. Engineering Expert. Each participant has a 250 word meeting limit, and you’re way over the limit, babe.” 

Sarah: “Babe?” 

Don: “Sorry. It’s just PR lingo.” 

Sarah: “For someone in PR, maybe you need to change your lingo.” 

Mr D: “Please. We’ve no time for bickering. We need to hear from Anne now. Anne, could you please present your observations to the team?”

(silence)

Mr D: “Anne?”

Anne: “Oh, sorry Mr. D. My mind wandered a bit.” 

Don: “Yeah, it wandered to your smartphone. Looks like you’ve been busy texting your buddies. Have you even been listening?” 

Anne: “No need to listen to all this bleeting nonsense. I carefully examined Sarah’s engineering report before the meeting started. After all, if we want to be more efficient, shouldn’t we take the time to be prepared? Study the situation before the meeting? At any rate, I’ve already determined that we’re up Doo-Doo Creek without a paddle. So, I’ve been polishing up my resume on my smartphone.”

Mr D: “Resume?” 

Anne: “Sure. I’ve already determined from Sarah’s report that we’re burnt toast! That’s why Amy from Legal excused herself from our meeting today. She’s too busy fending off the multimillion dollar lawsuits and regulatory fines we’re gonna be hit with from this disaster.” 

Sarah: “Exactly, and that’s why I’ve been trying to engage in a serious, in-depth discussion of how we can address this grave issue.”

Don: “Hey, no bleeting about graves! Nobody’s died yet! Okay, a few dozen critically injured, but…” 

Anne: “And as far as listening to Sarah’s in-depth analysis, forget it. With this new dingbat Bleeting policy, it’s impossible to engage in any thoughtful dialogue!

Don: “Dingbat? Hey, I was the one who promoted this in the first place! After all, people around the world are using social media tweets for all sorts of important stuff. Why, even famous sports stars and celebrities are using it. Not to mention world leaders and politicians! With the adoption of our new Bleet policy, our meeting efficiency rate has…” 

Mr D: “Thank you, Don.” 

Don: “Wait! I’m not finished!” 

Sarah: “Politicians and movie stars? So, that’s the depth we’ve sunk to?” 

Don: “Hey, don’t be so quick to judge! We can’t all be engineering experts, ya know. Senator Blowhard just tweeted a concise summary of the new 2,000 page legislative bill that passed Congress yesterday.”

Sarah: “You mean the one he didn’t read?” 

Mr D: “Well, nobody actually read the entire thing. Who has that kind of time these days?”

Anne: “I’m not sure Senator Blowhard knows how to read.” 

Don: “That’s ridiculous! Where did you hear such a thing?” 

Anne: “Have you read any of his tweets?” 

Sarah: “Look, this is ridiculous. Our meeting’s degenerated into one-liners and snappy comebacks. We have a serious problem here. Our company’s survival is in severe jeopardy and all we’re doing is engaging in mindless banter. Can we please return to my report? According to the examination of the west wing footings, we have…”

Mr D: “Thank you, Sarah.” 

Don: “Hey, didn’t we use that same concrete vendor for our new building wing? The same wing we’re sitting in right now? And what’s that rumbling noise I just heard?”

Anne: “Jackpot!” 

Don: “Huh?” 

Anne: “I just scored a job offer from Giant Construction Company. A nice pay raise too! See ya! I gotta go!” 

Mr D: “Uh, Anne, could you please text me their contact info?”

Anne: “Sure. No problem. I’ll bleet it to you.”

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