Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas with the Stooges

Oh jaysus. It's over for another year. I'm in Kilshite with the rest of the assembled family.

Mind you, it's one of the nicest Christmases I've had for quite some time.

I remained relatively sober throughout the day.
I didn't insult anyone.
I didn't spill cranberry sauce down my new top.
I only belched (not farted - because I am a lady and we do not make bottom noises) in front of guests.

Best of all...!!!!

In my parents' back garden there's a stray cat eating the turkey leftovers... and he looks exactly like HITLER!

This has been a source of great amusement to me because I can no longer go out through the back door without shouting "Arbeit Macht Frei" or "Sieg Heil".

Now they've locked the door and hidden the key on me. Gits.

I'd post a photo of him but the bugger keeps running off to annex some other neighbour's garden. In the meantime, here's something himmler ... er... similar.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Form ...part the second

(Part 1)

Govscrooge awoke again, this time with a desperate urge to wee. Damn that Leffe! Having endured a trepidatious waddle to the toilet, she washed her hands (remember kids!) and decided that the table was not a good place to sleep after all. She turned to go upstairs. At that precise moment, the clock in the hall struck three. "Bollocks", thought our protagonist, "I'm going to have some fucking head on me tomorrow."

"And right you are", quoth an iridescent globule which materialised suddenly at the foot of the stairs.

"What the fuck!" screamed Govscrooge. As a fairly heavy drinker, she had seen some weird things in her time, but never what looked like a talking hyperbolic paraboloid. "Oh wait, are you one of those things Morley said he was sending?"

"That's right", said the thingy, which morphed into a vaguely humanoid figure. "Now, if you'd like to sign this docket as proof of delivery, we can get started." The figure proffered in its hand something that looked vaguely like a form. Govscrooge retched at the sight of it. But signed it anyway and handed it back. Immediately, the ghost took Govscrooge's hand and every atom of the surrounding environment vanished as if a thick fog had suddenly seeped around them.

When the fog cleared, Govscrooge recognised their new, grim surroundings instantly. "Holy shit, it's the sales office of Disgrace Brothers! I had my first job there! There's the office manager now. What a bitch." A small, pinched looking woman came into view. She was brandishing a large pile of order forms. "Govscrooge", she said, "The customers have changed their orders. As there's no-one else here and we have to make deliveries before close of business because it's Christmas Eve, you'll have to amend them all." The younger Govscrooge looked up and said "But I've already made plans for tonight. I wanted to go on the piss with my mates!" "Do I look like I care?" said the manager. "You want this job, don't you? We pay you 100 quid a week, so start earning it." She left the forms on Govscrooge's desk and walked back to her own office, where the accounts manager was waiting, with a barely concealed bottle of wine under his jacket. Govscrooge sighed and took the first order form off the pile.

"Jesus, what a fucking shithole. I hated that job.", said the present-day Govscrooge. "I wouldn't put up with that shite now. I've a good mind to find out where that bitch lives and petrol bomb her house". The ghost merely smirked. Some synapses in Govscrooge's inebriated brain began to work again: "Oh right, I get it, you're trying to teach me something. Well I think I get the message, so if you don't mind, I'd like to go home now." "Yeah, all right. You're a bit too sweary for me", said the ghost. "I've been dead for two hundred years you know. That was when ladies were ladies." A mist descended once again, and Govscrooge found herself back in her own home. "Ok, maybe I'll be nicer to Bob from now on", she muttered to herself as she ascended the stairs. Without a further thought, or changing into pyjamas, she collapsed into bed and promptly fell into a deep alcoholic sleep.

The clock struck four, and, with an almighty clatter, the bedroom windows flew open. Govscrooge woke with a start, "Not again". A second figure appeared, at first translucent, but then filling out into a comforting opacity. "Hieeee! I am the ghost of Christmas Present" announced the apparition, which now resembled a Yummy Mummy dressed in a Juicy Couture pink velour leisure suit and Ugg boots, laden down with a bulging Prada handbag and lots of bags from BT.

"Oh Jesus. I think I liked the first one better", moaned Govscrooge. "Don't be silly", said the ghost, and grabbed Govscrooge's hand with her own, French manicured one. "Come on, the Land Rover is outside." "So much for the bloody recession", growled Govscrooge. The ghostly Land Rover took them through the deserted streets of Ballyfuck, then into the next town. It stopped outside a small house. "Come on, let's have a look!" enthused the ghost. They peered through a window into a cosy family scene. Bob Scratchit was there, surrounded by his grown up children, and their own young families. They were unwrapping their presents.

"Gawd, look at that wallpaper" said the Ghost. "I mean, loike, you can get the look of handpainted damask at knockdown prices in Dundrum. " Govscrooge glared at the ghost and resumed looking at the Scratchits. Bob's wife handed him a parcel. "Bob, it's not much, but I think you'll like it". Bob unwrapped his gift. It was a knobbly, uneven, handknitted scarf. He grinned up at his wife. "It's lovely. Thank you so much." "Oh my Gawd, have they no taste? Alexander McQueen..." the Ghost was silenced by Govscrooge's hand clamping firmly across her mouth. Bob gave his wife her present. It was his civil servant diary, wrapped in ribbons. "Sorry love, department wouldn't sanction overtime this year. And I couldn't get out of the office to do any proper Christmas shopping because I forgot to apply for the leave on time. But look, it's got a nice leathery cover and everything." Mrs Scratchit hugged her husband and said "Never mind. At least it's something I'll use. Here's to a better year. I hope your application for a transfer at work is successful. You might get a more accomodating manager. I wish that Govscrooge woman was here right now, I've a good mind to give her a knuckle sandwich."

Govscrooge turned away from the window, retching once again. Mrs Scratchit was a big woman, with hands like shovels. "Get us out of here before she sees me", Govscrooge whispered hoarsely to the Ghost. "OK, but the Land Rover's just been repossessed. We'll have to walk", replied the Ghost. They walked the miles back to Ballyfuck in silence. Well, near silence. The clicking of the Ghost's Manolos on the road almost drove Govscrooge into a frenzy. "If she wasn't already dead..." she thought.

Back home, Govscrooge attempted to sleep, but knowing that there was another fucking ghost on the way didn't help. And the room was spinning. That wasn't good. Neither was the third ghost. It was just standing there looking down at her. Silently, it extended a skeletal hand from underneath its black cloak. Govscrooge knew better than to refuse. "Bloody hell, you stink", was all she said.

The scene instantly changed to the interior of the Department. A small group of HEOs that Govscrooge knew were having tea together. "So, Bob Scratchit got promoted to EO at long last" said one of the HEOs. "Yes, good for him. He's a good worker. He hasn't had an easy time of it in his last section" said another, "I hear he's to replace Govscrooge. Well, he knows the work inside out." Govscrooge looked at the ghost. "What do they mean, replace? Did I get a transfer or something? I hope I don't get stuck in HR. Everyone expects you to know everything in there." The ghost shook its head.

The scene changed once again. They were standing alongside a long queue of people. The queue was extending out of the door of a large, grey building and went all the way round the corner. They walked to the door and entered the building. No-one complained. They were invisible, you see. A large counter with perspex windows dominated the room. There were also several metal chairs, all of which were occupied, and all of which were bolted to the floor. A man with a can of cheap cider sticking out of his back pocket was banging on one of the perspex windows. A tirade of filthy abuse issued from him. "Where's me bleedin' dole, you fuckin' miserable oul' BITCH?" he screamed at the petrified woman behind the counter. Govscrooge squinted. That woman looked vaguely familiar. A bit older, yes, but not much. "Oh fuck, that's me! What the hell am I doing in the bloody dole office?" she screamed, grabbing the ghost's robes. "What the hell am I doing in an understaffed dole office in the middle of the RECESSION?" Govscrooge fell to the floor, retching yet again. When she looked up, she was back in her own home. "Oh, Christ", she moaned, and slumped, unconscious onto the floor.

Bob Scratchit awoke on Christmas morning with a splitting headache. It was not helped by his wife poking him in the ribs with her toe. "Get up, you git!", she shouted. "What a sight for your grandchildren to see, you lying there, drooling on my nice new wood floors. Get up and help to set up Tiny Tom's new Nintendo Wii." Bob groaned, roused himself and slowly shuffled into the kitchen for a drink of water. The smell of roasting turkey that filled the house did nothing to help his hangover.

Not long after there was a knock on the door. Wiping the crusty drool from his cheek, he went to answer it. "Oh Holy shite", he screamed as he realised who the caller was. "What are you doing here?" Govscrooge stood in the doorway with a big grin on her face. Her eyes were bloodshot and she was still wearing yesterday's work clothes, including ID badge. In fact, she looked totally bolloxed, but she still managed a cheery "Merry Christmas, Bob." She had two cases of Leffe at her feet. "Here you go, Bob, I thought you might like these. I'm giving up the booze." Bob was still staring at her, open mouthed. Govscrooge continued, "Oh, and there's absolutely no problem with taking today off. I've signed your leave form. And there's a few blank ones there too so you can fill your own dates in. Here, have a look." Bob took the familar form from Govscrooge. December 25th was indeed signed off. "Wait a minute, Govscrooge", Bob said. "Today is my day off anyway. It's everyone's day off. It doesn't have to be signed off. Not by you, not by anyone."

"Oh, bollocks. I was wondering why everywhere was closed. I wanted to get you all something for Christmas. This beer was all I had. I must be really hungover, not to know even what day it was."

"Never mind. Do you want to join us for dinner? There's more than enough", invited Bob.

"No thanks, I've heard how your wife picks her... errr... I think I need to go home and sleep now", said Govscrooge.

Bob watched her go. The next year was going to be better. He wiped the drool from his mouth once more with the form and went inside.

"God bless us every one", he said cheesily to his assembled family.

"Shut up you corny git", said his wife.

The End (At last)
With apologies to Charles Dickens

Have a great Christmas, folks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmassy Stooge

Well, sitting here knowing I have only one day to work, that it will be all over in seventy-two hours, basking in the pathetic glow of my fairly (yes, fairly... they're not very good at all) lights and listening to Handel's Messiah while snaffling Lidl cut-price Skips by the bucketload (nom, nom!), I have a warm fuzzy festive feeling. Makes me think of my favourite Christmas story.

A Christmas Form

It was Christmas Eve, and, in the Department, all was quiet, apart from the clicking of computer mice on pornographic images, the slurping of tea and the frantic scratching of arses. The whole scenario was presided over by Govscrooge, the most evil and foul-tongued EO in the entire Department. Govscrooge was the Departmental Time Lord; an omniscient and hostile being in charge of the flexi-clock and leave planner.

"Well, I'll be off on my half day then, Merry Christmas to all," chirped Bob Scratchit, the lowliest Clerical Officer in the whole section. Bob was a cheerful chappie, always singing and dancing and generally annoying everyone. As Bob approached the Great Clock, there was a tumult from the furthest corner of the office.

"Just a minute!" yelled Govscrooge. "Did I sign your leave application form?"

"Er, no, but I did tell you I wanted a half-day off on Christmas Eve", said Bob.

"Where's your fucking form, Bob?" Govscrooge barked, rounding on Bob. "If I didn't sign it, you're here until four o'clock. You have to apply in advance. That's the rule, unless you're sick of course. Then I have the right to enter your house to see what you're really up to."

"But I have to get home. My grandkids are coming. I still have to get the Christmas tree up", whined Bob.

"Not my problem," said Govscrooge, "get back to your desk or you'll become the fairy on top of the section Christmas tree. And we do need a new one, since Graham Norton rogered the other one to bits on his recent visit to the Department to open the new wing. Dirty fecker."

Bob Scratchit returned to his desk, despondent. He had so wanted to go drinking with his mates down the pub. The grandkids story was merely a ruse to elicit sympathy. But Govscrooge must be onto him, he mused. He returned to his big dusty pile of forms. Some of them had been there since October. He looked around one last time, and noticing the homicidal look on the EO's face, put his head down and returned to his work.

Four o'clock rolled around and Bob shut down his PC and shrugged himself into his coat. He bade Govscrooge a subdued farewell - which was reciprocated by a grunt that sounded suspiciously like "Fuck off" - and headed for the door. Civil servants were spilling out of neighbouring sections, full of festive cheer. Bob walked, head bowed, down the street. He did not look up until he reached the stained-glass doors of "The Bureaucrat's Arms", the local drinking emporium. Once inside, he ordered a pint of the establishment's finest golden-hued beverage. And drank deep and was silent (with apologies to Austin Clarke).

Govscrooge worked late, balancing all the smokers' clocks - those fucking fag breaks really messed things up. When this irritating task was finished, it was time to go home, to the large stately pile in the centre of Ballyfuck that Govscrooge called home. It was a mansion that had passed down through several generations of Govscrooges. It had real Georgian windows, Grecian urns and a door knocker in the shape of Charlie Haughey. Govscrooge skidded on a small rectangular object as she stepped through the front door. The cry of "Bollicks" echoed through the house. Govscrooge looked at what had caused the accident. It was a brown envelope with a harp on it, and now, a wet footprint. "Fucking bastard payslip" roared Govscrooge. "Fuck all in it anyway! Jesus I need a beer."

Bob Scratchit weaved his way home through the snow which had begun to fall while he was in the pub. On the way he met the parish priest, who wished him all the blessings of the season. Bob belched in response, and continued on. He stopped twice on the way home. Once for a wee on a door, and again to be sick in a bush. On arriving home, he engaged in a pitched battle with the keyhole of his front door and, once having won, fell into his hallway and promptly fell asleep.

Govscrooge woke, slumped at the kitchen table, surrounded by empty Leffe bottles. "Fuck, how many of those did I drink? And what the hell woke me up?" The question was answered by the rustling of paper. Suddenly, an apparition appeared, right there in the middle of the kitchen. It couldn't be, could it? It was semi-transparent, glowing, covered in Post-it notes and Departmental compliment slips. It was Morley's Ghost! The Ghost of Govscrooge's former HEO!

"My God, Govscrooge, you really are a miserable wagon", boomed the spectre. "Why do you take my instructions about leave forms so seriously? Even at Christmas?"

"Ah fuck off, Morley. You're not doing my PMDS anymore. Get out of my house you ectoplasmic waste of space", retorted Govscrooge.

"I'm not finished. I have the ULTIMATE PMDS review for you. Before morning, you will be visited by three ghosts." said Morley.

"Jesus, I'm really scared" yawned Govscrooge. "I've so much beer in me I couldn't give a fuck. Just tell them to wipe their feet before they come in. And why so late anyway? Even Jehovah's Witnesses don't come knocking at those hours."

Morley's ghost sighed, and without a further word, disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"God, smokers ming", thought Govscrooge, and resumed her slump at the table.

To be continued....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm gonna be sober this Christmas...

I have kept my brought-forward-three-weeks New Year's resolution for a week now. That was to give up getting pissed. Not to give up drinking. Asking Govstooge to renounce alcohol would be like asking the Pope to convert to Pastafarianism. So far I've been slagged twice by friends and colleagues for stopping at Pint No. 4, and, therefore being a fucking wuss.

Funnily enough, I like waking up on weekend mornings with a clear head and the energy to do all the housey stuff I can't do during the week, because it's too dark outside. Especially this time of year. There's only a few hours' light in the day, I like to make the most of them. Otherwise I'd be depressed. And what do many people do when depressed? Drink. Alcohol itself is a depressant, which just adds to the vicious circle of sleeping very late, getting pissed... ad infinitum.

Making a tit of myself at the office do was, I'm sure you already know, the spur for this.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I have few recollections of the recent office Christmas party.

The meal was lovely. I remember that bit. Plus I was seated next to some colleagues I didn't know very well before now and that worked out nicely.

I also remember singing loud rebel songs in a pub with some equally drunk colleagues while people at neighbouring tables looked on, smirking.

I bumped into a former colleague in another pub. The conversation went something like this:
Govstooge: AAAh howya Margaret!
Margaret: Hello Govstooge, how are you?
Govstooge: Uhurrhuurgh! Bleargh! Burble! (And various other unintelligible drunk person sounds).
Margaret: Eh, yeah. Excuse me, I have to go over here now.

The highlight of the night was when my stomach contents erupted all over the fine wood-marquetry of an upmarket pub door. And I got a fair few spatters myself.

Luckily, no-one else remembered.

I hope.

I have to face the rest of them tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Why does it now take me HALF a FUCKING hour longer to get home from work because of the FUCKING Christmas shopping traffic????

For FUCK's sake, those FUCKING shops are open 24 hours now... why do these pricks all have to go at the same time??


Not only that... but I was stuck behind a couple of enormous Toyota Land Cruisers and Land Rovers ... with fucking "Baby on Board" stickers plastered all over them.

C***s! Garrrgh!

Monday, December 8, 2008


Now the unfortunate pig industry is fecked, what with all this dioxin shite scare that's gotten into the meat. And, as if there wasn't enough bad news, hundreds of workers in the industry have been laid off. Dismal news for yet more families. It makes me cringe lately when I read about this depressing stuff and all I can think of is my tum.

I'm one of those annoying "flexitarian" fence-sitting people, who purport to be vegetarian, but who occasionally get cravings for meat products. I live for the most part on lentils, vegetable curries, Lidl Margherita pizzas and houmus. But not always. For instance, I love traditional Christmas dinner - all but sprouts. I sometimes crave a floppy, shadow-of-its-advert Supermacs' burger after the pub. And, about once a month, a bagel filled with tomato, lettuce and... bacon. Today was a BLT craving day, but I was obliged to opt for something healthier.

A nice brown wholemeal scone. Mmmm... roughage.

And I was wondering, is it still safe to get stuff off It's just that I won a load of points (points, not pints... still, never look a gift horse in the mouth, eh??) off them last week... (Edit... good old Curly has come up trumps again!)

This recession is turning out to be apocalyptic. I'm feeling really grateful for my job right now.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Today you walked past me as I was out for a walk on my lunch hour. You were well-dressed, well groomed, altogether a fine specimen of a man. I admit, I ogled you as you passed by. You had that nonchalant, devil-may-care jaunt in your step. Then, a blue-hued waft of carcinogenic death hit me in the face. As an adjunct to that carefree bounce in your walk, you were puffing on a fag. Bleargh. I pulled my scarf around my face in the style of a yashmak and quickened my step to get down wind of the smoke. I succeeded. I thought, "yeah, his tar-ridden lungs will prevent him from getting past me again." I was wrong. You cannoned past me, oblivious to my irritation. This time I did not ogle you. You weren't as cool as you thought you were.


You fucking stank.


Sunday, November 30, 2008


Good fuck, it's fucking freezing. I'm regretting that short haircut now - or at least not gathering up the hair from the hairdresser's floor and stuffing the lining of my coat with it. The Nazis did that you know, with the hair they shaved off the Jewish prisoners, for the soldiers on the Russian Front. (Fat lot of good it did them.) And no, it didn't cost me €410 of public money. And I don't look like an evil Teletubby, unlike a certain Government Minister.

Hope it's warm in work tomorrow. I hope the cutbacks don't extend to turning off the heating in the Department. If there's one thing I can't stand it's the proliferation of Puffa jackets in the office. It's bad enough having to look at them on the coatstands, without having to see their owners coccooned in them sitting at their desks, like some sort of Government larvae. I hate Puffa jackets. They have a unique property in making anyone who wears one look like a complete knob. I myself favour long wool or leather coats in this weather. 'Cos I'm all classy, like.

I love this weather, though. Imagine, the sun is shining, and it's too cold for flip flops! Heaven.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Red Mist

It was a lovely November day. The air was crisp. The sun was shining. It’s my favourite kind of weather, in spite of the short days. Christmas is a month away. Just think, in a mere 30 days’ time, we will all be sitting back thinking, just what the hell was all that about?

Why am I not happy today though?

It’s this place. The poxy Department. Things are getting right on my raving titties today. The red mist is descending once more. Everything’s gone mad fucking busy again. Except this time, it’s completely new stuff. New to me, that is. The bosses have done it before but are now sick of it, so have dumped it on me. With fuck all instructions on how to go about it.

Typical fucking civil service.

It’s a kind of project management role that involves gathering input from various other people, who I don’t work directly with. Tracking them down has been fun (!) so far, especially since none of them ever returned my calls or emails, and for those in the same building as me, I don’t know what they look like so I can’t pounce on them in the corridors.

In the case of those that I have been able to talk to, I have pissed them off on a grand scale with my work. Apparently everything is wrong. I have created changes that certain people can’t cope with and they want everything back the way it was. A sweary rant in my bosses’ ears imploring them to intercede on my behalf has worked, at least to some extent. Boss no. 1 has, so far, ignored my complaints. Boss no. 2 has made an effort to reconcile the differences, to reach a compromise and has offered help with the remainder of the job. There wouldn’t have been this much aggro if I’d received help in the first instance. But still, at least one of my managers realises the error of their ways. Good.

Then, as if I haven’t enough to do, some bollox in a neighbouring section dumps me in it. Picture the scene.

Guy-who-stands-too-close-to-people has a problem with his computer. He asks a colleague, Bollox. Bollox glances at the clock and says, “Ask Govstooge. Govstooge is good with computers.”

Bollox quickly shrugs himself into his coat and bounds merrily down the corridor to the canteen. Guy-who-stands-too-close-to-people is now standing too close to me, describing his problem. As his personal hygiene is good (i.e. no stale cabbage odour), I go to help a colleague in need, instead of tearing down the corridor and giving Bollox a good running kick up the arse, as is my immediate gut reaction. I hope the tea was cold.

And to cap it all, the top bastards in FAS are giving the rest of us a bad name! Pay per view films, golf trips and eyebrow tints, all on the taxpayer. Fucking disgrace. If there’s going to be a hatchet, chop them. Bastards.

I have days where I want to sing and dance down the corridors of the Department, giving thanks for a secure job and generally decent people to work with. Today wasn't one of them.

Molotov cocktail anyone??

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Groundhog Day?

Today my hangover was such that I did not emerge from under the covers until it was beginning to get dark again.

Going to bed at 4am tanked up on beer is not healthy.

Looks like I didn't miss much though.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Impatience is going to get the better of me in the end.

I'm generally patient when dealing with other people, as long as they are not rude or obnoxious. I'm pretty good at training new staff and don't go insane if they mess something up (we've all been there).

I'm not very good at waiting.

Twice today, outside of work, I nearly got myself into trouble for this. Actually, I think "trouble" is too soft a word for one of the instances.

I was walking, and needed to cross a busy junction. I cross at this junction most days and think I know the sequence of the lights on it fairly well, so as not to have to wait for the green man to start flashing. (In my younger and more tentative days I have spent up to five minutes standing there like a tool.) Noticing that lights had gone red at the approach from the minor road, I stepped merrily into the road and proceeded to cross. It was a minor miracle that, when the lights on the other road turned green, that I was not squished. A jaywalk later, I'm home free, and shitting bricks. Won't be doing that again.

Then, less than twenty minutes later, I skip a queue at an ATM. Well, the girl who turned out to be at the head of the queue didn't actually look as if she was queuing, and didn't approach me to tell me they were first. So I got away with that one as well, and so did the big guy in painter's overalls who got in line behind me. All I got was a dirty look from the girl five minutes later when I passed by again. By now, she had gotten to use the ATM. It was only at this stage I realised that she had been in the queue from the beginning. The thing is, I would have given her back her place at the head of the queue if she'd told me. I'm not evil. Just impatient. I don't like having to queue, but I don't take liberties. Won't be doing that again.

Pissing people off isn't an interest of mine. Nor is getting myself killed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Really tired these past couple of days. Work is quiet, which helps, but unfortunately the presence of HEOs means I can't have a sleep there. Plus, what kind of example would that be setting? More coffee, please. I've invented stuff for myself to do. Things like cleaning out stuff I don't need. After all, an uncluttered worker is a happy worker. At least for me, anyway. I don't like mess. I'm also being diligent and making inroads on drafts of performance appraisals etc before things get crazy again.

The Finance Bill tomorrow may mean some voluntary redundancies for underemployed civil servants or rapid deployment to other departments that are understaffed. I don't think it's a problem in my area, but I'm still getting images in my head based on the film, "Office Space", in which (among other things) a corporate hatchet man is sent to a company. He has to interview each employee and each has to justify his or her job. Imagine if it happened to the civil service!

It won't - because it would take forever and would necessitate the hiring of an external contractor, which are well documented recently for already draining public finances.

But what if it did? I imagine there are many folk whose "jobs" could be culled, and how they would behave if a hatchet man did come:

Hatchet Man: So, what do you do?
Civil Servant: I'm a civil servant.
HM: I know that already. I'm not chatting you up. What's the nature of your job?
CS: Weeell... I clock in at 10. Then I go to my desk and power on my PC. While that's firing up I take my newspaper to the toilet and have my morning dump. I come back up, push some paper around the desk for twenty minutes and then go for tea for an hour.
HM: Here's a P45. Take it to the dole office where the civil servants who actually work for a living will process your dole claim.

I work hard, though. Honest. I earn my tea. And I don't spend longer in the toilet than necessary.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Build Up

It's the fucking build up that kills me every time. No, not the build up of stomach gas after eating yet another of my own dodgy curries. Nor is it the build up of traffic which seems to worsen at the instant I swipe out at work every day, meaning a good 10 minutes or so are added onto my commute.

I am talking about Christmas. It's really in my face now. It's been gradually gaining momentum since late September but now, it's everywhere. Businesses are bedecked in fantastic arrays of lights. Homes will follow soon. Every time I open a newspaper or my email there's something with a festive theme.

Yes it does gladden the heart. The gloom of shitty weather and evenings dark as the devil's arsehole is somewhat alleviated by the twinkling lights and tinsel and trees in shop windows. And I know that my annual tradition of battering my liver with alcoholic substances will soon begin in earnest.

It's still early enough not to have your ears raped by awful Christmas music everywhere you go (I think, at least. Maybe others have heard some already.)

What's pissing me off about Christmas right now is how some folk at work are already planning what they're going to buy for their beloved offspring. Loudly. And even more loudly when they elaborate on how much they are going to spend (more than I earn in a week, some of them). And - now this is what's really grinding my gears - louder still when I am within earshot. Not to mention dangling little presents for their darlings that they happened on while they were in town at lunchtime in my face:

Colleague: Look what I bought for little Petey!
Govstooge: Yeah. Great.
Colleague: You haven't looked properly. Look again! Isn't it lovely!
Govstooge: Err... what exactly is it?

You see, I am not a parent. There are no little Govstooges running around my pristine house. My DVD collection is bereft of Dora and Barney. I have never seen or heard High School Musical. My car has no child seat, meaning more room for those important beer runs.

My colleagues are aware of this and some of them cannot understand why, at my age, I have not produced progeny. Why, when they were this age, they were already picking out communion outfits! What is wrong with Govstooge? Let's awaken that latent maternal instinct by bragging loudly about our kids when she is around, so that she'll suddenly turn broody and then we'll have something in common with her! And we can compare how much we're going to spend on them at their birthdays and Christmas!

Fuck off.

Kids are great. They're cute, funny, silly and you can fuck with their heads by telling them you're Kylie Minogue on your days off.

That doesn't mean I want to have any right now though.

I'm having way too much fun being feckless and not much more than an overgrown kid myself.

But if I see those Santa websites open on any screen in our section again, I'm temporarily revoking internet privileges. At least until December.

Bah humbug!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Why do so many people come to this site from a Google search for "AO - Let's Go"? Is there a contingent of Ramones fans out there intent on looking up lyrics?

On the whole AO front, I've heard nothing. I've resigned myself to remaining in the Department trying my best to keep tabs on the horde of COs I am currently in charge of. Not an easy task. They keep slipping out through the fence and like to go wandering off to sections that they worked in previously. I don't get paid enough to follow them and round them up.

I was just in time for the Government cutbacks. No promotion for me. Ever.

Stupid recession.


"Recession - DIY condoms" - let's see if that'll bring any Google searches to this site. I'll update on progress.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Performance, Underperformance and Unpronounceable Songs

PMDS is making the news a lot in the last couple of weeks. Crazy eh? It's not as if they're short on news stories what with recession, U-turns, more recession, more U-turns and Barack Obama's historic victory in the polls. Well done Mr Obama. Mind you, his opponent did look like this:

I used to do that behind teachers' backs when I was 12! And he's 72!

But back to PMDS in the news...
It was recently revealed in the Sunday Times that almost 100% of all civil servants were awarded increments this year - increments that have been, for the past couple of years, linked to their PMDS ranking; i.e. 2 or more. 18 civil servants, at grade 1, were not awarded the increase.

Grade 2s, remember, are still underperforming to a certain extent. They are not allowed go for promotion for a year. That's the only penalty imposed on them. I imagine many of them don't care about promotions or additional responsibility. And they get the same pay award as me, and others like me, who are working our fucking arses off. It suggests to me that if I take even longer tea breaks, do Sudoku all day at my desk and pull all the uncertified sickies I can, I will be appreciated just the same by the system.

What did those 18 people do (or not do) to score a "1" then? It must have been bloody awful. I can only imagine:

- Setting fire to their desks and toasting marshmallows in the flames
- Calling the Taoiseach a "pie-faced goon" to his face
- Telling management to fuck off
- Phone calls to their sister in Australia lasting all day
- Abseiling past the boardroom window during senior management meetings
- Doing awful Karaoke at the Christmas Do
- Sewing whoopee cushions into the HEO's chair
- Drinking in the office and throwing up on senior officers
- Excessive smelly bodily functions in the vicinity of colleagues
- Humping the EO's leg
- Streaking through the Personnel Department (i.e. without an ID badge on)
- Making origami sculptures with forms

The reality is probably even more disturbing than that.

It calls into serious question the operation of the PMDS across all Departments. Only a couple of years into it, and it's already crying out for reform.

With any luck, they might get rid of it all together, and replace the endless meetings and arguments with something simpler like "" - etc. Well, if teachers can have it, why can't we?

Oh, and I've recently discovered Sigur Rós. I don't have a notion of what they're singing about - as it's all in Icelandic - but their music transcends the language barriers. They're divine, and I can't stop listening to them. Going to buy even more of their albums when my increment comes in. (Which it will, I'm more than 99% certain.)

Now playing: Sigur Ros - Med Sud I Eyrum Endalaust - 07. Ara Batur
via FoxyTunes

Double Standards

One rule for them and one rule for the rest of us, or "Do as I say and not as I do". It occurs in all walks of life, whether in school, home, private sector, civil service etc.

Today's incident, however, took the fucking biscuit. It was both flagrant and egregious.

Picture the scene. A meeting for the whole section in a conference room, which the HEO has convened. The COs are rolling their eyes in boredom and looking at the malfunctioning clock hanging lopsided on the wall. One CO is visibly drooling. Another may have died. The EOs are sitting with their arms folded, resolutely avoiding eye contact with the HEO who might just ask them if they would like to add something to what was just said. One particular EO just wants to get the hell out of there and find the coffee machine. (Can you tell who it is yet?)

Suddenly, a strange buzzing sound. What could that be? Is it a fire drill? Ah, no, it can't be. They only do fire drills on nice sunny days so people don't get wet waiting to go back inside. We can't have people going on sickies claiming they caught a chill.

There is a scuffle of activity from the head of the table. The HEO leaps from their seat, mobile phone in hand (for yes, that is the source of the buzzing), and sprints to the door. The rest of the attendees glance around at each other with expressions of bemusement. There is silence as we try to determine the nature of the boss's conversation from what we can hear through the door.

Some minutes pass, and the HEO re-appears with a sheepish expression and says: "Errr.... sorry about that. I had to take that call."

The meeting breaks up shortly afterwards. The main item on the agenda - i.e. "Inappropriate Use of Mobile Phones During Office Hours" didn't go down too well.

Has to be up there as the most pointless bloody meeting ever.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dee dee dee dee ... it's the twilight zone ...

I watched the Bertie documentary on RTE 1 last night - typical RTE sycophancy, "carefully-chosen" 70s and 80s soundtrack, irritating closeups of Haughey's rancid face all tied together by commentary from various people short enough to be taken out of context (the comments, that is. I am not making reference to the stature of any individual). There was an interesting bit about Bertie's campaign in the 1977 General Election.

Strange, then how my dream last night was all about the rise of Hitler.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Country's Fucked! (Part Three...)

The state of the nation at a given time often inspires artists to produce some of their best work. Think 1980s Britain and the backing tracks of Joy Division, The Cult, The Cure, The Jam etc etc.

So what about reviving Self Aid?

We could have:
Christy Moore "Don't forget your form if you want to draw the dole"
S Club 7 "Don't Stop Movin' (Because the heating's off)"
John Spillane "DSFA Girl"
Bobby Darin tribute "CV of Love"
IBEC and the Staff of the Sunday Times: "Kill All Civil Servants"

And U2, Enya and all those other million-selling artists could just start paying their fucking taxes. That would be music to many people's ears.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Another weekend, and another load of even more miserable-fuckery on my part.

Halloween was a non starter. I don't rate this as a holiday and have steadfastly refused to garnish my house in plastic tat, pumpkins, and other tomfoolery, even if all my neighbours are buying into it. As a consequence, my house probably looks "scarier" than all the others. Having bought some sweets, I laced them carefully with chilli and Ex-Lax, and left them by the door, I waited for the sound of tentative steps to my door. None came. Bah. I like chilli anyway so everyone's a winner.

I'm in my town of origin, Kilshite, at the moment visiting the folks until tomorrow. It's a beautiful, tiny place about two hours' drive from Ballyfuck. It has lakes, mountains and old nineteenth-century buildings. It also has nineteenth-century ethos. It's full of begrudgers, backbiters and gossips. Brinsley McNamara could have written Valley of the Squinting Windows as an elegy to my home town. It gets claustrophobic if I spend more than three days here. Visits from the more annoying members of my extended family and nosey neighbours grate on my nerves, so I'm looking forward to going out on the piss with local mates later. . .

On a happy note, I saw the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace on Friday. With the delectable Daniel Craig. With a villain that looked a lot like Robert Carlyle (I couldn't take him seriously as a villain, as I kept thinking of that dancing Dole Queue scene in The Full Monty) - but it wasn't him, and not enough explosions or gadgets (where was Q?). Still, good entertainment and highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The End of the Affair

So. Deadline's passed. And no, I didn't enjoy the whooshing sound it made as it flew past, because I met it. Is nice! And I can once again engage with colleagues with my witty banter - as opposed to the complaining, swearing and sighing I've been treating them to recently.

The only question is - what to do next? I've cleared the piles of paper off my desk and found lots of things I'd forgotten about: an unchewed biro, a mini Toffee Crisp, a very old form and an out of date voucher for €2 off a six pack of Guinness (Yes, can't believe that one! That I actually let it go out of date!).

I have to invent a new project for myself to do now. Yes, there will always be day-to-day stuff to take care of, but I need something that I can work on over a number of weeks. I miss the big project you see. It gave me a genuine excuse to scowl at the HEO who was approaching with extra shite work for me to do; work that they could have done themselves but wanted to delegate for the sake of delegating. Now my desk is clear, I'm once again a target for this shite work.

So I've made a list of things I could be potentially getting on with:

Organise Christmas "do" - non-runner as another colleague is taking care of that. Phew.

Safety Inspection - already covered by the HEO as they get to walk around with a clipboard.

Draft my Job Spec and procedures for use by whatever lucky sod gets my job if I get a transfer. I will title it "So, you want to be an EO. Fool."

New section Floor Plan - deciding who goes where in a maniacal game of office chess. Generally a HEO job though because they get the best location for themselves in this way (By this I mean somewhere no-one else can see their screen, which has YouTube on it at least 80% of the time).

Do complicated statistical pie-charts, flow charts and bar graphs on Excel. Only they're not statistics. They're song lyrics, or random nonsense. Like the ones here. I've yet to think of my own ones and when I do, I'll post them. The thing is, they look like work. And they're funny.

Make a head-start on staff appraisals for the Annual Reviews in December. Head wrecking, yet strangely guilt free.

Write a novel. Looks like work from a distance. Only with swearing and sex and stuff. WooYay.

Take the easiest option and just upend the waste paper bin on my desk all over again and sit there scowling.

I reckon I've got plenty of stuff there to keep myself amused.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tesco Value Santa

On a late-night booze-fuelled web surfing mission, I have just stumbled on this.

A burglary suspect was arrested in the Tesco Express store in the Pemberton area of Wigan, Greater Manchester. Stuck. Up a chimney. In the nudie.

Jaysus. Since when did Tesco have chimneys? And the bit about "clothes came off as a result of his struggle" is, I'm sorry, bollocks.

I'd say he was a perv who simply wanted to frolic in the altogether past the frozen fish, cavort clothesless in the cheese aisle and wind up with a nice new pair of Y Fronts from Florence and Fred.

(I'll refrain from making awful "sack" jokes just this once.)

If anyone from Wigan is reading this (in particular, members of the extended Govstooge family who live in that very area), I'd check my purchases for foreign objects - specifically short curly hairs - before eating.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I love Autumn. Out for a walk today in the fine weather to escape the pressure-cooker environment of the Department I reverted back to my childhood for a few minutes.

I found a walkway carpeted in brown, red and yellow leaves. Giving thanks for abscissic acid and its delightful aesthetic effects I skipped, kicked and crunched my way along the path, forgetting for several minutes the drudgery of the job.

Autumn days don't get much better than today - at least where I am.

Returning to work having put my sober EO face back on, I was in fine form for roaring filthy abuse at errant clerical officers.

All in all, a good day. And I don't care who saw me fannying about with the leaves either.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Fantastic Foaming Mouth Functionary

I'm going through a rather busy period at work of late and haven't been attending to writing as much as I would like to; I just want to turn my brain off in the evenings and watch my Scrubs boxsets before trudging upstairs to bed and entering a comatose state for several hours.

I've been doing more hours than the 6.57 that is required of me daily ( Yes, my flexitime balance is incredibly healthy, and I'm praying for a chance to use the day off). The work just keeps on coming and I have to stay on top of it, because the clerical officers will have fuck all to do when I pass the boring bits onto them. And, on top of all that, I have a big deadline looming. If program files on my C: drive were actual physical entities, then Arse Race.exe would have six inches of nasty Government dust and other detritus on it.

Well, it's better than no job at all. That's what keeps me motivated to go in every day. I've spent some time signing on at the dole office and actually taking recruitment "consultants" seriously. At one stage I was even been tempted to work at a call centre with a bad reputation, for minimum wage, just to get off the dole queue. (It was when I realised at the interview that bonuses were paid in pizza that I said "G'luck, I'm off to sign on" and turned to the door.)

That's also what motivates me to do my job well, or at least, to the best of my ability. I put my head down and try to see the task through to its conclusion. Apart from the swearing, mood swings and threatening to rip the arms off clerical officers and beat them to death with the wet end, I like to think I set a good example. Especially when I'm busy as I get my head down and render myself oblivious to what's going on around me. Not an easy task given the open plan layout and the volume of shite-talk from all corners. I don't deal with interruptions too well.

I don't deal very well with being assigned additional tasks when I'm clearly under pressure either. For instance:

Boss: Err... Govstooge?
Me: Whu... what??
Boss: Could you do something with this? (Hands me a file)
Me: Whatever. Add it to the pile, I'll get round to it some time this century.
Boss: Well, it's just that I'd like something on it this evening.
Me: (Gesticulating at the piles of paper in front of me) Maybe it's best to get someone else to do it. I'm up the walls here. Hey! You know what would be really quick?
Boss: What?
Me: If you did it yourself?

Seriously, I don't advocate talking to superior officers in that fashion as a matter of course. But when you KNOW that the boss has been on the phone to their partner or their mother all morning, or trying to get on the Joe Duffy show to whinge about medical cards or surfing the internet and using Alt_Tab not quite quickly enough for you not to see the EBay page open when you go to their desk with something - when you've been working your hole off, it brings out a vicious streak. On certain days it's as close to apoplexy as a healthy young person such as myself is likely to get.

When my deadline is up, and it will be soon (and yes, I'm on track), I'm going to rest on my laurels for ooh, I don't know, a couple of days, take some flexi time off and get a headstart on Christmas shopping so I can beat the rush and avoid further stress.

No, I won't do the shopping online at work. I've more principles than that (sniffs haughtily). Besides, a few of the clerical officers can see my monitor. Ordering Nazi memorabilia for Uncle Joe within their line of sight may not be big or clever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Letter to the Facilities Management Unit.

Dear Facilities Management,

I realise you have enough to do what with ensuring a steady supply of stationery, that people don't park their cars in the foyer on wet days because they don't want to get their clothes wet, that some of the stranger employees don't use the bins in the ladies' toilets as headgear, but I hope that you will at least give my request a little consideration.

I am at my wits' end. You may have seen me tearing my hair out at my desk as you went about your building inspection. You might even have heard the plaintive whines from all corners, surrounded as I am by several clerical officers:

"Govstooge, can I have tomorrow off?"
"Govstooge, can I have yesterday off?"
"Govstooge, this form's not filled in right. Can you fix it?"
"Govstooge, can you ask the HEO for me about.... (insert anything you like here)?"
"Govstooge, I forgot my password."
"Govstooge, I think I broke Microsoft Excel (this from the HEO)."
"Govstooge, there's a splinter in my desk."
"Why is the sky blue, Govstooge?"

Jesus. How do you expect me to work in these conditions? I have a lot of important EO-stuff to be getting on with.

I am making an official request to have a soundproof perspex shield around my desk. With a sliding window for me to shout at people out of. Preferably with a megaphone. (Please supply this also.) If the window could be spring loaded that would be a big help because anyone attempting to open it could lose a finger and frankly, I need a laugh when I'm on duty. This I feel will increase my productivity as people will stop bothering me and go somewhere else with their silly problems.

If this is not possible, could I have my own office? I know there is a vacancy down the corridor. I believe its former occupant met with a sudden and tragic accident in the vicinity of Ballyfuck recently.

I await your reply in earnest.

Yours sincerely,

Executive Officer
Noise Pollution and Pestilence Section

Can life get any better?

Tuesday 14th October 2008.

Wonderful day. Torrential rain, increased taxes to look forward to and the bloody NCT.

My day:
8am Start at work. Coffee, scowling, ranting and then forms.
9am Realise my NCT is this evening and not tomorrow. Feck.
11am Long, long tea break. Much bollocks is discussed.
Lunchtime: Waste it on the internet, looking up Budget stuff. It's pissing outside and I didn't wear my wellies to work today.
4pm Swim to the car and go to the NCT centre. (Actually I can't swim so it was more floundering - If any of my staff are reading this, we are NOT having the Christmas do at the local swimming pool. )
6pm Arrive home, make myself a Prozac smoothie and settle down to watch the Budget. (Discovered that if I forego canteen coffee I can save the cost of the 1% levy.) Jesus fucking Christ.

At least the car passed. And Desperate Housewives was on tonight. And the HEO left me alone. And Brian Lenihan left the price of beer alone so that's not so bad either.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ballyfuck Rally

Tonight I want to expound on a subject which is close to my heart. The Hate Node of my heart, as it happens.

There are a considerable number of boy racers living in Ballyfuck. The sort of lads who get their kicks from getting two euro worth of petrol and cruising up and down the street in their noisy buckets of shit for the evening in the hope that people will look at them. And when they get fed up of that, they go home to their rooms in Mammy's house where they commit unspeakable acts while watching reruns of Pimp My Ride.

One wanker on my street has some sort of indescribable piece of shit which makes a sneezing noise as he changes gear. I have never looked to see what kind of car it is. Because that's what he wants.

The other day was when I was walking home after having got the paper from the shop and there was a lad parked outside, waiting for his passenger to come out of the shop. As I passed, he revved his engine a couple of times.

Hey, a girl! Vroom Vroom! Look at me!

(I might add at this point that I bear no resemblance to the sort of girls who grace the cover of Max Power and other such periodicals aimed at boy racers. For one, I am comprised of 0% silicone.)

I looked up at a nearby roof and admired the new PVC guttering. But not before I had a chance to have a quick shifty glance out of the corner of my eye to see what kind of car it was.

A 1997 Fiat Punto.

I sniggered all the way home.

Poor wee lad. Let him have his fun.

Edit: I actually enjoy Pimp My Ride.
In fact I think they should do a similar idea for wedding day makeovers.

Pimp My Bride

***runs away before the rotten tomatoes hit ***

Oh, Bugger.

I'm not very quick on the uptake on Monday mornings. Suffice it to say, I'm a right bloody thick until I've been caffeinated. This morning was no exception.

Picture the scene. I am at my desk alternating between yawning and scowling at big piles of forms. Some clerical officers are discussing various issues that came up last week.

CO: And so ____ (insert name of HEO) thinks it should be that way.
CO2: Oh really? That's not very nice, is it?
CO: No. What do you think, Govstooge?
Me: Leave me out of it. I don't give a shit until I've had my coffee. Anyway HEOs can do what they like.
CO: Ok then... the Head Eejit Officer has the final say, eh?
Me: Bwahahahahahahaha! That's funny!
CO2: Wait a minute, why are you laughing at that?
Me: Because... because... it's er... oh fuck. Does that make me an Eejit Officer then? Because I prefer Evil Overlord if you don't mind.

May I take this opportunity to apologise to the CO and their family and I will repay the cost of having the stapler removed in full.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Country's Fucked! (Part Two... yadda yadda)

OK, I'm having another shot at the unemployed. Even though I know I shouldn't. I've been there. I know what it's like to have a civil servant scowl at you over the counter when you go in to sign on at 2 pm, and they say to you: "You should have signed on this morning". And you reply: "Well I couldn't fucking come in this morning because I had A JOB INTERVIEW, you septic old wagon!"

But anyway...

Recent elongation of the country's dole queues made me wonder today: What the hell are all these newly-unemployed people going to do to pass the time - and on the cheap? I suppose daytime TV will keep some of them amused (personally I would rather stick my head in the oven), maybe others will take up knitting or basket weaving or dry stone-walling, or possibly even writing a blog.

I imagine that many people will frequent the civic amenities, like libraries or museums or public toilets or parks.

Parks with duck ponds.

Where people can feed the ducks and they make that funny scooching sound as they enter the water and swim over. Ducks are cool.

Except, as the recession deepens, there will be an increasing likelihood of another unemployed person running up as folk throw the bread, interposing themselves heroically between the thrower and the duck, and gallantly snaffling the bread themselves before moving on to the next unsuspecting duck enthusiast. I can see it... a man with a P45 sticking out of his back pocket leaping along the water's edge towards a mother with two little girls and a stale baguette.

It'll be taking the bread line a bit too far.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The most awful image...

I have a very strong tolerance of disgusting things. I can watch gory episodes of ER while munching on spaghetti bolognese, or discuss embarrassing bowel conditions over a leisurely lunch. I am a big fan of Peter Jackson films (in his pre-Lord of the Rings days - Brain Dead, Bad Taste, anyone? Rent them, see what I mean). I have a very scatological sense of humour and few conversation topics have the capacity to put me off my food.

Today, I discovered my Achilles heel.

During tea break, a conversation arose between some colleagues about why the HEO was late this morning.

"A chance conversation with a passing AP?"
"A quick cup of coffee?"
"One of the children vomited all over the house?"

"Having a shit?"

At which point I spat my chocolate croissant out and roared "For fuck's sake, I do NOT want to think about a HEO sitting on a toilet while I'm having my tea!!"

Exploding brains, zombies being chopped up with lawnmowers and melting heads, yes.

A Higher Executive Officer pinching a loaf, definitely not.


Sunday, October 5, 2008


Poor Girls Aloud.

A fairly harmless girly band, the sound of which is less offensive to my ears than others of their ilk. They didn't deserve this:

Some weirdo blogger in the UK has been writing fantasy porno articles about doing horrible things to those girls. He has been prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act for publishing material which could "deprave and corrupt" all who read it. It is the first prosecution for written material for some considerable time.

Guess what the writer's job is?

Go on, guess.

Lest I fall foul of our own Censorship of Publications Act, 1967, I wish to apologise in advance to anyone who has made rude noises at work/ kneecapped someone with a desk drawer/ swore loudly into a big pile of forms as a result of reading my blog.

But I also want to say to them: Get your own twisted ideas, you unimaginative gits!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


It's been very windy of late. Stupid low pressure. Bloody irritating as I can't put one foot outside the door anymore without looking like something that's been dragged through a hedge backwards when I go back in.

It was wind of a different kind that was on my mind today, however.

I spent last night in the company of some friends who had produced the most wonderful curries for dinner. (Yes, this IS going where you think). Saag paneer, saag aloo and some chicken korma all washed down with cool bottles of Lidl's finest Perlenbacher beer. It was sumptuous.

I thought I was in the clear this morning having done the necessary "evacuations" well in advance of leaving the house for work. (I am one of these weirdos who is too embarrassed to do poos at work.)

During the morning I was doing fine. Nothing was amiss.

Midday, and some gurgling in my stomach was a warning sign. Bloody wind. Farting in an open-plan office is a serious no-no, so I held it in, until I could get to the safe blast zone of the toilets. I had to mince to the toilets. I shudder to think what anyone walking behind me made of this. And it was for their benefit. And, when I got there, I had to carefully synchronise the offending emission with a flush of the toilet - in case of noise - as, typically, there were six other women in the vicinity.

Having returned to the section and turning my attention back to more mundane things, I again felt some burbling in my stomach. And then, horror of horrors! My large intestine decided it wanted to join the fun and emitted a very loud borborygmus (pre-fart) which would reach 9.8 on the Richter Scale equivalent of colonic gas! At this point I grabbed my stomach and went, "urrggh my bloody stomach" for the benefit of anyone in the general vicinity, even though the real provenance of the noises had been further "south".

Two minutes later, the same thing happened. Only louder this time. "Brrrrrrrrble" went the air deep inside me. A couple of clerical officers looked up, thinking that (a) the EO had decided to forego any of the social niceties of shared office space, or (b) the EO was about to spontaneously combust. They secretly hoped (b). Because it was cold and some of them would have liked to warm their hands at the flames. And there would be a day or two off to go to the funeral.

I spent the remainder of the afternoon waddling to and from the bathrooms, and when four o'clock rolled around I was out the door like something propelled by wind.

The local chemist was very pleased when I bought out their entire stock of charcoal tablets.

Being anally retentive is such a pain in the fucking hole.

Monday, September 29, 2008

To everything there is a season...

Autumn looks like it's well and truly here. I enjoyed our ten-day Indian summer and made the most of it. Now it looks like the only thing we have to look forward to between now and Christmas are the early Budget and the Obama/McCain fun across the Atlantic.

Why can't we hibernate?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Civil Service Spam

I hate getting Spam in my inbox. Loads of rubbish about penis extensions and Rollox watches and such other wank. And the odd pleasant missive from kind gentlemen in Nigeria offering me untold riches in exchange for my bank details. Must get back to them sometime when I'm less busy.

I hate the way it is sent indiscriminately. If they would only get their target market right. I mean, sending stuff about vacuum suction penis pumps to women?

It got me thinking, wouldn't it be great if spam mail was profession-specific?

For instance all the doctors would get the mails about cialis and viagra. And cocaine. Struggling students would get stuff about $100 Ph.Ds. The Progressive Democrats would be contacted by "Discount Funerals. Special Group Rate." Limerick people would be contacted by "Discount Funerals. Special Neighbourhood Group Rate."

And civil servants? We'd get some fantastic stuff. I've imagined it here (click to...erm... enlarge *cough*):

Then all these nice people selling stuff might actually get somewhere. In these tough economic times you need all the help you can get.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Country's Fucked! (Part one of a series of thousands)

This picture of a dole queue in Cork that appeared in the press last week is a sign of the times.

Yes, I had to fuck with it. Even though it's not really funny as I know what it's like to stand in line. Sorry everyone. I'm going to hell.

And anyway, even we civil servants aren't safe. Not with John McGuinness on the rampage. The only safe place to be these days is DSFA, by the looks of things. But no room for slackers with queues like this, I would think.

(Click to enlarge)

On a happy middle-management note, HEOs and APs can sit back and quickly assess their staff's overall performance by marking random members of the dole queue with ink or paint, and then see how quickly they get to the front of the queue. And whether the CO or EO on the counter will spot the ink or paint and tell the claimant to "piss off, you haven't even tried to disguise the fact that you're working."


Monday, September 22, 2008

Govstooge's Law of Crapness

The number of staff assigned to a manager is inversely proportionate to the number of times the manager is likely to get them all together at the same time to tell them stuff.

I've discovered this to my detriment, as I can't remember who I told what to or when.

This makes me look shit in front of the real managers.


Saturday, September 20, 2008


Another EO talking to one of their clerical officers... might I add that this clerical officer is a known berk...

EO: Any plans for the weekend?
CO: No, no. But I might take most of next week off if that's OK with you.
EO: No problem. Which days do you want off? Give me your leave application form and I'll enter them on the leave system for you.
CO: Well, I don't know yet. I might take the days off, and I might not. I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing.
EO: Are you going to come in on Monday?
CO: I think so. But I'll ring you if I'm not coming in. And I'll ring on Tuesday if I'm not coming in that day either (and so on...)
EO: I'm not going to be in on Monday or Tuesday myself.
CO: Oh.
EO: But you can ring the HEO.
CO: Actually, I think I will book the whole week off now.
EO: Ok then...

Patience of a saint, that EO. I'm glad I'm not in that situation as I would be out of a job by now. At this stage I would probably be jumping up and down whacking the CO over the head with the leave form shouting "JUST TAKE THE FUCKING DAYS YOU STUPID TWAT AND GIVE THE REST OF US A FUCKING BREAK FROM YOUR BLOODY TWATTITUDE!" A week without that kind of person in the place would be like a holiday for the others.

Now playing: Utah Saints - Something Good
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 18, 2008

National Pay Squabble

At long last the national pay talks concluded. (Yes, I know it was yesterday... I was too fucked tired last night to post anything. Don't ask. Because it's fucking boring, that's why.)

The public sector are to be awarded 6% over 20 months; the first 3.5% of which is to be paid out next September, following a 11-month public sector pay freeze. Pay freeze? Fuck! Aside from my annual increment (dependent on getting 2 or more in my annual PMDS review) I'm to get only one pay rise next year? Sweet sufferin' Jaysus! What are we to do? Where's a support group when you need one? How do I find the Employee Assistance Officer?

Mind you, we've just had a 2.5% increase on the first of this month. I celebrated with a few bottles of Leffe and Erdinger. Mmmm. Erdinger. Secretary Generals on the other hand just have some extra loo roll with pictures of windows and bridges on it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells

Tonight I watched The Naked Civil Servant.

This is a film based on the life of Quentin Crisp, in which the title role is played by John Hurt.

I was outraged by what this film portrayed. Outraged, affronted and completely let down.

There wasn't a form in sight.


(Mind you this was more than compensated for by John Hurt's performance and the subtle insertion of many of the great man's quotes into the narrative. My own favourite being: "Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne.")

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Eve of the Drawer

I derive a lot of amusement from my day-to-day work and interaction with my colleagues. It's hard not to, considering that there's fuck all on the telly and I've just finished reading the Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy and can't decide what to read next. (Maybe something by Terry Pratchett, or the biography of Mao by Jung Chang.)

For instance, playing pedantic civil service letter tennis is a particular joy of mine. I will happily return letters on lovely headed Department paper to anyone who cares enough to write to me in an official capacity. I especially like it when my civil service jargon is interpreted as "obfuscatory" (and no, I'm not in correspondence with any Ministers of State. At least, not that I know of).

Colleagues are great too. It takes all sorts to make up the Department and there's always something slightly mental going on. But sometimes thing can get too intense even for my liking. And that's saying a lot.

Sometimes I'm engaged on work that requires a fair bit of concentration (yes I do work! To tight deadlines no less!). I have to get my head down and hope I'm not disturbed. This isn't easy, given the shitty office layout we've been placed in. The last thing I need is being earwigged by the office bore, who works in my general vicinity, but who is not a member of the growing club that is known as Govstooge's Clerical Officers (catchy, eh?).

The office bore knows well enough to stay away from me. I will either ignore them or look up at them with murder in my eyes.

Recently, I have almost committed murder. Or, at least, a crude meniscectomy. Which isn't really the same thing, but I imagine it's painful. Our boring colleague decided to strike up a conversation with another colleague whose desk directly faces mine. Instead of walking around to their desk, the office bore decided to stand behind my desk, as I was sitting there, to conduct what could loosely be termed as "a conversation".

I, up to my elbows in forms, was not impressed. I reacted in the only way I knew how. I grabbed the handle of my top desk drawer and yanked it open with fury. Images of the bore limping back to their seat following a knee injury caused by high-velocity plywood filled my head.

I had underestimated my tedious colleague. I had expected them not to notice anything, immersed as they were in their own soliloquy of things that no-one else could possibly care about. I was wrong. The office bore lithely sidestepped my speeding drawer and skipped across to their audience to continue their droning monologue, as I sat there seething.

This is not the end. There will be other onslaughts. And I need to be prepared. My next DIY shopping trip will be for wires, pulleys, and maybe a little motor so I can operate the whole thing discreetly.

I could just be more assertive and say, "Sorry, ______ (insert colleague's name), I can't concentrate with you hovering over me, would you mind moving away from here please?" but that's just silly talk.

Assertiveness would just get in the way of my ambition to become the first non-surgeon to perform a delicate knee operation without anaesthetic in a non-sterile environment.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NEWSFLASH: Junior Minister gets Squits from Dodgy Cake

Today at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Minister of State for Trade and Commerce John McGuinness was locked in a pitched battle in his private office toilet with his trousers and a faulty toilet seat.

The Minister today hit the headlines for calling for job cuts across the civil service, describing it as a system which "destroys ambition, resists change and is now so insulated from reality that information can be withheld from a minister, unfavourable reports are doctored and answers to parliamentary questions that come too close to the bone are masterclasses in dissemination and obfuscation which can deny our TDs the information they need to get to the heart of a matter".

We asked an EO at the Minister's office what they planned to do if their job was cut.
"Dunno really. I might sign on the dole. I like filling out forms. I've been doing it for fifteen years now. I hear it's a growth industry these days. Have to go now, the fairies at the bottom of the garden are calling me. Tra la la."

The Minister's sudden bout of gastric problems may - pending more detailed analysis - be attributed to a cake baked for him by his staff as a celebration of his successful speech (which contained the above comments) last Friday.

The Minister, speaking to us through the door of his private toilet earlier today said:
"Oooargh! I knew I should have gone to Starbucks for a bun instead of eating that cake. It was like lead. Urrrgh. That HEO can't bake. Has anyone got a match?"

Mmmm... IRONY
The cruel irony of the whole saga is how the Minister's description of the civil service as "featherless but plump state hens" led to his civil service staff laying some really rotten eggs for his celebratory cake.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wellies at the ready

Don't know about you lot, but I'm really looking forward to winter this year.

Apparently there's a 20% chance of getting one hour of sun in January.

Hold onto that thought. We all need something to strive for.

A couple of things I've noticed in the last few days:

Wellies don't go well with my work clothes. And some people are STILL wearing bloody flip flops!

Dear Senior Manager

Thank you for thinking of me today.

I thought I was all alone in the section today (in the absence of a HEO) and the fate of the day's work rested squarely on my shoulders.

Then, for the first time in six months, you come down from your enormous office to my part of the world, where I am allocated a space that is precisely one sixteenth of your private room. Did you gaze around the huge open-plan area as you entered, taking in the sight of umpteen civil servants running around towers of forms, irritating co-workers who just stand there talking to no-one in particular while getting in everyone's way, people complaining about the draughts and the sound of fifteen different ringtones at once?

No. You did not.

You headed straight for my desk, waving a piece of paper in a manner similar to that of Neville Chamberlain returning from his meeting with Hitler in Munich in 1938.

"Make sure this is updated," you said.

"OK", I replied.

You disappeared, not to be seen for six more months.

Looking at the sheet of paper, I recognised it as something I have updated, almost weekly, for a long time now.

I suppose you have to justify the enormous salary somehow...

Monday, September 8, 2008

I pity the fuel...

Our office canteen is great. All kinds of things can be had for breakfast, lunch and tea breaks in general. I myself prefer a cup of steaming black unsugared coffee and maybe some yoghurt or something when on a tea break.

Today I saw a HEO in the canteen getting breakfast. I often wondered where these managers got the energy to keep them flapping around the place belching out incomprehensible management speak all day long.

Well, after today, I wondered no more.

It was an enormous plate of baked beans.

A foodstuff low in glycaemic index (being mainly protein) which is widely known for producing a large volume of smelly methane from the nether regions within hours of consumption.

There you have it.

Conclusive proof that HEOs talk out through their arseholes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cock of the Walk

More defaced pavement fun from Govstoogeland.

Maybe it's not a willie. Maybe it's an avant-garde rendition of a Zeppelin.

Aren't street artists great?

They're better than the piss artists anyway. Their stuff stinks.

The Decline of English

New statistics from the Department of Education show conclusively that skangers are getting thicker. A spokesperson yesterday said that "95% of all knackery scobey chavs can't spell their favourite words, let alone their own names".

An exclusive picture follows.
(Warning, may cause distress to sweary civil servants.)


Friday, September 5, 2008

Govstooge's Guide to Being an EO - Part Deux

PMDS Reviews

(For the uninitiated, a description of the PMDS rating system is linked here. You lucky sods.)

PMDS reviews must be conducted roughly six months after the role profile form is agreed (Interim). And again around Christmas (Annual), when you dole out a rating on the scale of 1 to 5. And agree another fucking role profile form for the next year.

To carry out a PMDS review in a professional manner you will need the following:

A Clerical Officer
(you will find these somewhere in the vicinity of your own desk. If they are difficult to catch for a review, wait until they need a day off and bring their leave form to you to be signed off on and then grab them).
A Role Profile Form - Available from your friendly "Human Resources" section.
A Review Form (Varies, depending on whether it is interim or Annual)
A private room - Almost impossible if you are an EO. I find declaring an outbreak of Ebola on the top floor gives me the pick of large, intimidating senior managers' offices. (Tip of the week).
Riot Gear - Depending on the CO you are reviewing, you might want to invest in a perspex shield, a helmet and some Kevlar body armour.

Once you have all of these you are ready to begin.

When you have cornered the CO for the review meeting, make sure you accompany them the whole way to the meeting room. Some of them have a habit of wandering off (Oh look a new printer) or just generally disrespecting your authoritaah by making you wait. I once spent ten minutes standing outside a meeting room looking up and down the corridor and scowling at my watch waiting for one CO to come for review. I eventually had to go back to the section where I found them still at their desk. I had to walk behind the CO all the way to the meeting room with the role profile form (sharpened to a point) to their back. And then some other opportunistic EO stole my room. The fecker.

Conducting the Review
You will both have to yawn and nod through a variety of bollocks and toss such as "key performance indicators" and "critical success factors", and tick a few boxes indicating "satisfactory/ unsatisfactory" on the form. Simple stuff so far.

Then, you will discuss any training and development needs for the future:
CO: I'd like to do an Irish course.
Govstooge: OK, we'll stick it on the form and give it to the folk in HR.
CO: I'd also like to learn to play Spanish classical guitar. And backgammon. And tennis. Can I put those on the form too? Oooh and maybe some Italian lessons too. I'm going to Tuscany for a fortnight next June you know.
Govstooge: Have you tried the local fucking community college?
CO: I thought this place was it? They told me it was the big grey ugly building on the left hand side of the street?
Govstooge: Do you even work here? Sorry, I have so many staff reporting to me I can't remember everyone's name.

Ratings System
This has, since 2006, been integrated to our pay awards. On a scale of 1 to 5 where "3" is completely satisfactory, an employee has to receive a rating of 2 or more to get their annual salary increment. Yes, that's right, if you're fucking up a bit, they still reward you for it. You would have to slam the nearest HEO's head in the door, go "wibble" at a senior manager for two minutes or more and burn all the forms received in the last month in a big pile in the middle of the office while dancing maniacally around it before you would get a rating of 1.

Occasionally you will meet with someone who disagrees with your rating and thinks they should get a higher one. In these cases, as is the procedure, the HEO must intervene if no agreement is reached between you and the CO. In some cases the CO will not want to deal with the HEO as life is too short to put up with the stream of middle management waffle that invariably issues forth during the mediation meeting. So you win. Heh.

Upward Feedback
Once you have given all the feedback to the CO, it's their turn to give some feedback to you. On how they are being managed and all that.

Govstooge: So, do you have any upward feedback?
CO: No, no, none at all.
Govstooge: Oh come on, you must have something to say.
CO: Well, all right. I'd just like to say that you're the best manager I've had in my entire working life. You're always so polite and willing to listen to my problems. And the on-the-job training you give is superb. And you look fantastic in that top. It really shows off your curves.
Govstooge: All right, that's enough, you fucking lezzer. There was no need for the last bit. Jesus.
CO: Just trying to help. Can you take the letter opener away from my eyeball now please?

The meeting ends with both of you signing the form and consigning it to the bowels of the HR department for all eternity.

Six months later you must do it all again.

Blather, dense, repeat.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Stupid Twat...

Appearing completely clueless and unable to bullshit my way out of it in front of one of my superiors was not the highlight of my Wednesday.

I really need that course on Management-speak.

Greening the Office

As part of the Office of Public Works' laudable initiative to reduce carbon emissions by 15% in all of the buildings they operate, our Department is building awareness on green issues and doing their bit.

Which is great, as I adopt similar practices in my own home (turning off standby lights, only heating the water I need, recycling shitloads of stuff). Why not at work too?

One thing I'm not so enthusiastic about, though is someone's idea to turn off the printers and photocopiers on our floor at 5pm. I didn't even know they were doing this until I went to print an important document for a meeting tomorrow morning and when I walked the length of the vast corridor to retrieve it I discovered that the printer wasn't even on.

For feck's sake. We may be civil servants but some of us don't feck off at 4 every single day you know. Switching it back on wasn't an option as it takes a bloody age to "warm up".

I'd turn it off if I was working late... promise....

Stating the obvious?

At least, I hope I am.

Got a bit of a scare today when I stumbled on an internet article about some civil servants in the UK who were blogging about their work, and faced disciplinary action and even dismissal. Admittedly, they were higher up than I am and had apparently made comments about the political system and incompetencies of senior officials etc.

So, just in case I get into hot water, I just want to point out a few things:

I'm not particularly interested in making insightful political commentary given that the civil service codes of standards and behaviour explicitly states that we must be impartial whatever the party in Government is. There are far better political writers in the blogosphere than me.

I haven't made any direct reference to the exact nature of my work, for confidentiality reasons. Apart from the fact that it involves lots and lots of forms.

I'm also very conscious not to defame anyone. The characters I refer to in this blog are caricatures and composites of people and managers I have worked with throughout my working life, along with a little bit of the madness of the sort seen in The Office or Office Space. And Father Ted. I myself have adopted an evil persona.

The events I write about are sometimes based loosely on actual events and others are completely madey-uppy.

My primary reason for writing all this stuff is an outlet for creative writing which has been an interest of mine for as long as I can remember. And if I get a few comments, so much the better.

What I believe I am writing is a somewhat surreal and satirical account of life at the bottom of the pile of a large organisation.

Truth is, I'm lucky to have a secure job that I enjoy doing most of the time and decent people for colleagues and managers.

If any of them happen to stumble on this blog I'd hope they'd get a laugh out of it and leave me a comment.

That's my serious bit over. Now, back to the silly stuff.