Becky Says...

July 7, 2001

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A Client Tale

Back in my days at Non-Profit Agency #1, we had a very strange client. My predecessor did me the kindness of warning me about him; he was the sort of client who would come to the office and want lots of attention while he rambled on about whatever subject was on his mind. Trouble was, though, he didn't always have the facts to go along with the opinions.

My predecessor told me that it was possible to get quite a lot of work done while listening to him with half an ear; the only thing you could not do while he was around was type. But he didn't seem to feel ignored if you did non-typing paperwork, and all you really had to do to make him happy was nod your head and say "umm hmm" every so often.

One day he was very angry at the agency head. Seems the client's son was an engineer. And the agency head had made a speech in which he said he hoped that America would never again be involved in a nuclear war. At no time did the agency head say that other aspects of nuclear energy were bad. But the client only managed to grasp the word, "nuclear."

From that, he decided the agency head was against his son, because the son was working on installing nuclear power somewhere. But he didn't tell me he was angry at the agency head. I was treated to an hour of very impassioned commentary on the good things that nuclear power could do for us (nodded head, said "umm hmm," and did some filing).

When the agency head came back from lunch, he got the same commentary. I recognized the first of it cranking up as I was on my way out.

It took the agency head another hour to convince the man that the speech had been about the horrors of war, not about nuclear power.

And it took all of us several days to stop laughing every time someone mentioned "nuclear."

Text © copyright 2000-2001 Becky