Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 57

The Time Mookie Had Uncontrollable Laughter During A Work Seminar

As I just crossed the “10 Year” mark at my current employer yesterday, I thought it was appropriate to share this one. 

Not long after I started at my current company, my supervisor “Donna” (*) thought it would be a good idea for me to attend a particular training seminar.  The seminar’s focus was to provide tips, tricks, and tools on how to better “interview” someone over the telephone.  The boss lady thought this would be good for me because I often had to speak with family members of our policy holders, and try to get clarification on any issues that needed further explanation.  A lot of the policies I administered revolved around accidental coverage, so in order to rule out “exclusions and limitations” contained within the policy I had to investigate the hell out of the incident.  This involved me getting and reviewing the policy holder’s medical records, any applicable police accident reports, and autopsies from medical examiners.  It goes without saying I have seen and read about some pretty funky stuff.
When I think of lectures, this is what I picture.

Thankfully I was not alone on this training excursion.  Donna had also asked 3 other ladies in our department whom she thought might also benefit from the training to join the fun too.  The seminar was one-and-a-half hours away in Des Moines, which was nice because it got us out of the office for the whole day. 

Once we made it safely to Des Moines, we quickly found where our seminar was being held in the downtown area, parked, and walked to the venue.  The seminar was being hosted by another insurance company in the area, so to probably help defer the cost of the speaker (and probably make a few bucks), there were several insurance companies invited. The featured speaker was a noted big-shot with the state Department of Criminal Investigation (I think he’s the head of it now), and had a remarkable likeness to Garth Brooks for some reason.  There were less than 40 people present to see the speaker, and once he got started he seemed to enjoy not having to speak to a huge room full of people.  One thing I know from my Criminology/Law Enforcement college days is that most cops LOVE to tell police stories, and this guy was no different.  

You should have seen the penis on this dead guy!
Much to my amusement, a couple of his stories were ones I would NOT consider telling in such a professional setting.  While I wasn’t offended, I could tell there were a few people who were definitely uncomfortable.  What stories did he tell?  The questionable ones usually involved something of a sexual nature, but he totally took the cake with one that had something to do with some guy who had sex with a farm animal.  Apparently the animal physically kicked or rammed the guy (it wasn’t said if it happened before, during, or after the sex), which in turn the guy fell, hit his head and died.  Then of course the guy was found dead with his pants around his ankles, and the investigators had a field day.  At first they thought it was some sort of perverse homicide, but after they put all the pieces together, did some lab work (on him and the animals), they figured out what happened.  What this had to do with telephone interviewing I didn’t know,  but GD this guy was an awesome story teller.  You can’t beat hearing bestiality stories in a public setting instead of sitting in a cubicle.

Eventually we got down to business and the guy started giving us tips and tricks on how to talk to people.  He made it an interactive experience by bringing audience members up on stage one at a time to help with his demonstrations and methods.  I have to say it kept everyone interested because you had to be on your toes when he called you up.  When it was my turn, I somehow did a super job of asking the right questions, keeping him on subject, and getting the answers I needed (Don’t ask me how I did this because normally I’m horrible at asking the right questions).  I don’t remember why, but the guy had fun with me and everyone got a laugh at my expense (I’m used to this).  When I returned to my seat, I took a bit of ribbing from Donna about my time in front of the crowd as well.

As the seminar moved on and I knew that I wouldn’t have to go up front again, I got a little bored.  I would watch/listen intermittently, and doodle on my notepad while person after person went up front to demonstrate some situation.  Eventually, the subject turned to "getting someone to listen to you when its apparent they don’t want to or they aren’t interested."  Since this is right up my alley, I figured I’d listen.  He basically said that one key in getting someone to listen to you, is to start with something that most people are interested in….themselves.  He brought this girl up on stage to demonstrate the situation, and said that the key is getting that person to believe that you think they are special.

He sits this girl down in a chair, and pulls up a chair himself right in front of her so that their knees are almost touching.  He looks at her with a smile, and says:
“Hey you know what?  You’re a winner.”

I don’t know why, but I LOST it and started laughing hysterically out loud.  It was not apparent to me what angle he was getting at here, especially since he didn’t know her - and this for some reason was WAY funny to me.  Who walks up to someone and calls them a “winner?”  Donna looked at me with this “what the hell are you laughing at” look, which worried me because Donna can be a badass when she wants to be.  I tried to stifle my laughter because it was on the edge of disruptive but I couldn’t help it.  I said through giggles “He called her a winner.  Who does that?”   To her credit, Donna started laughing.  However she was laughing AT ME because it amused her that I thought this comment was funny.  This in turn also got one or two others in our group laughing.  We eventually settled down though and finished out the seminar without disruption.  However the drive home, and the days that followed involved everyone making fun of me for laughing out loud during the seminar.

In the end, the seminar was a bit of a disappointment because none of us really learned anything (except that animals may attack you if you try to have sex with them).  However we will always remember it because of our outbursts of laughter.

To this day, one of us who were at the seminar will intermittently walk up to another’s cube and say “Hey, you’re a winner.”  It gets me every time.

(*) Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Miss a previous episode???  Click HERE to catch up!

ALSO!  March is coming up here shortly, which means that a lot of people will be headed out for a week on SPRING BREAK.  To celebrate, every Monday Morning Story With Mookie  in March will revolve around my favorite Spring Break location:  LAS VEGAS.  Stay tuned!

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