It’s that time of year here at NWR when management pulls its collective head out of its ass to conduct performance appraisals with staff.

We didn’t want to subject our Field Reporters to this type of pressure but they kept stuffing suggestions into the suggestions box (a purely decorative feature that didn’t originally have a slot in the top but does now thanks to Tom practicing his Ninja moves) listing ways to improve staff morale. Like not charging for toilet paper. Which we don’t do. All staff are given an equal amount of TP on a weekly basis and if they go over, well…not really our problem.

We have the key to the executive bathroom.

A series of random questions have been developed at great cost to management. All staff will be asked the same set of questions. Staff will be graded based on readers responses to their answers to these questions. Staff who achieve a 100 per cent success rate (based on our arbitrary analysis of no particular merit) will see a nice bump up in salary. Equal to about 20 per cent of their current salary. As they are volunteers, they won’t be able to actually purchase anything but technically, they can tell their friends and family they got a raise. And that’s what’s really important. Right?

First up, Oma from Blurt. (Please. No snickering or heckling while reading his answers. Save that for the comment section.)

1. Have you ever peed outside? If so, where, and why on earth did you do something so disgusting?

Oh, yeah.

I started peeing outside when I was three years old. I was on a car trip with my parents. They pulled over to the side of the road because they wisely had no confidence that I would make it to a proper facility before I brought forth.

As a boy, I did not want to stop playing  long enough to go home to use the toilet, so I went into the woods and did some recycling. It was challenging to get my fly open and get myself into launch position while wearing a baseball glove. Eventually, I learned to just take it off

When I was working, I peed outside fairly regularly. Emergency services workers can’t always run off to take care of business when they have an emergency call of nature.

I haven’t peed outside since I retired, but I’m not ruling it out.

Your question has kind of a judgmental tone. To be fair, it’s not like I stand on the side of the road and fire away as a recreational activity. This is a biologically necessary act that occurs discreetly in the woods, away from poison ivy.

2. What’s in your fridge right now that you could use to whip up a meal worthy of Julia Child? (We know she’s dead but work with us on this.)

Mojo Criollo. Anything marinated in that stuff comes out tasty. I’m not much of a chef, but I cook well.

Did you know that Julia Child was a spy? I’m not much of a spy.

3. You’ve eaten the last slice of your partner’s/child’s/parents/friends/ (just pick one and move on) birthday cake. Do you fess up or lie right to their face?

I fess up. Eating cake is a very deliberate act for me. I eat all the cake from under the icing, then I enjoy the icing. This is a slow process and I usually get caught. What am I going to say when I’ve got a fork in my hand and chocolate frosting in my goatee…”I didn’t do it”? Nah.

“I ate your cake. I’m sorry. Your cake was something that you had every right to take pride in. It was a confection whose deliciousness was worthy of someone like you. Congratulations.”

4. Do you leave a tip even if the service was really horrible?

Yes. Waiting tables is demanding work, so I always tip. I think the only way I wouldn’t was if the waiter was deliberately offensive.

As I was thinking about that, a thought occurred to me. If you had service that was so bad, wouldn’t it be cool to both tell the manager and then tip the waitress at the next table? That would make it very clear that you aren’t some tightwad looking for a way to save a buck, that they really suck.

If I’m with someone who does not tip (or is rude to waitstaff), I always make up for their shortfall and I never eat with them again.

5. How do you eat spaghetti? Twirl up with your fork straight from plate to mouth or do you twirl the noodles against a spoon first?

I only use a spoon if the plate is noisy. I want someone to explain why I can execute a silent twirl on some plates, but on other plates its nails on a chalkboard time.

6. What would make you admit to crying during a movie even if you didn’t actually cry?

I wouldn’t if I didn’t. Why would you be so insistent that I did that you’d look for ways to get a false confession? This is why we don’t go to movies together. That, and we’ve never been in the same place.

7. One of your fellow Field Reporters has been diagnosed with an ingrown toenail so infected, they have to wear Crocs until the antibiotic kicks in. What do you do?

A. Commiserate.

B. Write a post about it.

C. Find ways to make them walk across the room.

D. Pull people in off the street to take a look.

E. Tell them to post a picture to Instagram.

F. None of the above because…eww. Gross!

G. Other (and be specific)


Infected toenails have been around for a long time. How long? Well, longer than there have been Crocs, that’s for sure.

Back in the time known as B.C. (yes that’s exactly what it means), people with a bad toe didn’t have the option of wearing Crocs. They found other ways to ensure that they were properly shod. What’s my point? No one has to wear Crocs.

Thank you, Oma. Please leave the room now while we review your answers.