Category Archives: Amusing Stuff

Actual quotes taken from employee performance appraisals

Performance Appraisal CartoonAs a manager, I’ve had to do my fair share of performance appraisals, which (as I’m sure the employees also found) was a pretty tedious and meaningless experience. Fortunately I left all of that behind me when I left Reuters in 1999, my last full-time employer before striking out as an independent consultant (now semi-retired). On reflection, I was fortunate to have some excellent people in the teams I managed, but I still remember the occasional miss-fit. I can’t take any credit for these appraisal comments, but I wish I’d had them to hand for one or two of the interviews I managed. Enjoy!

  • “Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”
  • “I would not allow this employee to breed.”
  • “This employee is really not much of a has-been, but more of a definite won’t be.”
  • “Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”
  • “When she opens her mouth, it seems it is only to change feet.”
  • “He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.”
  • “This young lady has delusions of adequacy.”
  • “He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”
  • “This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”
  • “This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better.”
  • “Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.”
  • “A gross ignoramus —144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.”
  • “He doesn’t have ulcers, but he’s a carrier.”
  • “I would like to go hunting with him sometime.”
  • “He’s been working with glue too much.”
  • “He would argue with a signpost.”
  • “He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room.”
  • “When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell.”
  • “If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one.”
  • “A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.”
  • “A prime candidate for natural de-selection.”
  • “Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.”
  • “Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.”
  • “He’s got two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it”
  • “If he were any more stupid, he’d have to be watered twice a week.”
  • “If you gave him a penny for his thoughts, you’d get change.”
  • “If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean.”
  • “It’s hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm.”
  • “One neuron short of a synapse.”
  • “Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.”
  • “Takes him 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.”
  • “The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.”

The Rise of Zombie Smartphone Users

Apparently there is a world-wide epidemic of ‘Zombie Smartphone Users’, which I can quite believe based on my infrequent sojourns into London. A smartphone zombie is a pedestrian who walks slowly and without attention to their surroundings because they are focussed on their smartphone.

I used to keep dodging out of the way of people with their heads in their ‘phones as they walked towards me, but I found that maximising my concentration levels in order to avoid collisions was quite tiring. Instead, if I now see a Smartphone Zombie coming my way, I will stand still and wait for the inevitable collision to occur. It takes less ‘dodging’ effort on my part, and can be quite amusing to see the look of alarm on the zombie’s face when they’ve made physical contact.

The issue of people using their smartphones has become such problem that a variety of initiatives have been implemented around the world in an attempt to curb injuries and accidents related to their use. The problem has reached such serious levels in places like Japan that they have even invented their own term for it, that of ‘Aruki Sumaho’, or ‘smartphone walking’. Cities such as Chongqing and Antwerp have introduced special lanes for smartphone users to help direct and manage them.

I’m a great believer in the Darwin principle of survival of the fittest. If people choose to ignore potentially fatal hazards whilst texting, then they get what they deserve, and maybe over several hundred years they will all be gone. That will leave a safer environment for the rest of us, pavement or road users! Get rid of the signs!

Texting while walkingTexting while walking

How the EU Works

With apologies to the original author, but I don’t know the provenance of this piece. All I know is that it conforms to my understanding (and experience) of how the European Union works, it explains it in language we can all understand, and (irony and pathos aside) it’s very funny.

Subject: How the EU works

The deputy chairman of a local resident’s association offered to help us understand how the EU works and he wrote the note below using a Cheral Residents’ Association analogy to explain the processes.  The explanation of how the EC works is greatly simplified in order to render it understandable even to the few deluded Bremainians in the association..

Once upon a time, a man moved into a house.

He kept a few chickens. His next door neighbour made jam.

After a while, they got chatting over the fence & he gave her a box of eggs which she accepted. Out of  kindness, she gave him a jar of her homemade jam in return. This became a regular thing.  It was a trade between them & they got on fine for years without need for anything in writing.

But nearby they have a bossy neighbour called Mr Pluncker who wants to control everyone.  He runs the local resident’s association that has high membership fees.

He tells them both they will benefit if they join the resident’s association because it will enable them to meet more of their neighbours & network so they may be able to sell more eggs & jam to their neighbours.

So they join. It has seven other members at the time. This all worked OK. But, after a while, the resident’s association committee started giving them advice on how to run their own households.

Then some affordable housing was built nearby with poor and formerly homeless people moving in.  They are allowed to join the resident’s association, but instead of having to pay a membership fee, being poor,  they actually get paid to join.

After a few years, the membership expanded to 28 households. 

Half of them were poor households and benefitted from free membership.  Some of the poorer ones even received money from the association each year.

After a while, the resident’s association committee started getting bored & wanted more power to do something ‘exciting’ & ‘visionary’ & ‘bold’.  So they gave a few of the poor countries Wonga & QuickQuid type loans, on which the association got a hidden commission, as a nice little earner, from kindly Mr  Goldman and his partner Mr Sachs. They had a bank in the town and were good friends of  Mr Pluncker. You see, the resident’s association doesn’t actually have that much money, so it has to borrow the money to lend to the poor residents. 

The man with the chickens also had a large pond with lovely koi carp that breed & he used to sell the fish. But the association took a vote & decided he should let the other residents, especially the poor ones, come & take out 80% of his fish so they too could sell them.  Of course, he voted against this but got outvoted. But this was all perfectly fine because the decision followed the democratic process. 

The bossy neighbour Mr Pluncker who runs the association then started telling residents how they should run their households. He even made it a condition of their loans saying “If you don’t do as I say then the loans will stop & I’ll have your car off you”.

This rule secretly got extended to all residents. When they sign their annual subscription fee it’s written in the small print that ”No single member of the association will be permitted to make any decisions on how to run their own households without a vote being taken on it”

The idea was sold to the residents on the basis that they will all get to vote on whether they’re permitted to do this or that in their own house, so it’s all completely democratic. 

Furthermore, each member is told – ”New rules on how you are to run your household will be generated for you at monthly intervals & you must obey them. You will, of course, be given a chance to vote on the new rules as this is a democracy’’ 

The reality of this wonderful new democracy is that 84% of individual residents get out-voted by sheer force of numbers. Meaning that whatever was right & appropriate for one household and was probably not right & not appropriate for another but it gets approved anyway; no exceptions were allowed.  Every household had to do exactly the same as the other households thanks the democratic ‘community method’ and something that Mr Pluncker called “acquis communautaire” just to make things even more confusing for the residents and everyone else.

But no matter. Everything is voted on so it’s all perfectly democratic.

Residents are also told they must leave their front doors unlocked so other members can wander into their house & stay as long as they wish. The poor people and those who are “vulnerable” (which means most of them) especially love this.

Some residents wonder where their money is going.  But when they ask to see the association accounts they are always refused. And they begin to wonder how Mr Pluncker the chairman of the resident’s association ever got voted in by the committee. Turns out he was the only candidate in a secret ballot.

Half of the residents think this is perfectly OK. Frankly they’re a rather timid & pathetic lot and they believe Mr Pluncker and his friends who warn them that if they were to leave the association it would be A LEAP IN THE DARK.  They’d be ostracised by their neighbours & wouldn’t know what to do or how to run their households. 

In fact, after so many years of being told what to do, they’ve lost all confidence that they could ever run their households again. 

So they just go along with everything without complaining. 

Besides, the poor ones have little choice.  The association now holds their purse strings.

When any neighbours suggest they might all be better off leaving the association, they get called “racist anti-European xenophobes” meaning they must have a morbid fear & loathing of their neighbours in wanting to leave. 

The motto of the new democratic residents association is ‘Pay & Obey’.

And no, they didn’t all live happily ever after……..

And neither will we if end up voting to stay in this dysfunctional and undemocratic organisation!

 

Performance Appraisals and References – some ideas on what to write

cartoon

Stuck for what to write on your employee’s personal appraisal form? Short of ideas on what to write on that reference you were asked for? Here’s a few ideas (with apologies if you happen to have been the recipient of one of these comments!).

“Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”

“I would not allow this employee to breed.”

“This employee is really not much of a has-been, but more of a definite won’t be.”

“Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”

“When she opens her mouth, it seems it is only to change feet.”

“He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.”

“This young lady has delusions of adequacy.”

“He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”

“This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”

“This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better.”

“Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thing to hold it all together.”

“A gross ignoramus —144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.”

“He doesn’t have ulcers, but he’s a carrier.”

“I would like to go hunting with him sometime.”

“He’s been working with glue too much.”

“He would argue with a signpost.”

“He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room.”

“When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell.”

“If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one.”

“A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.”

“A prime candidate for natural de-selection.”

“Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.”

“Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train isn’t coming.”

“He’s got two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it”

“If he were any more stupid, he’d have to be watered twice a week.”

“If you gave him a penny for his thoughts, you’d get change.”

“If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean.”

“It’s hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm.”

“One neuron short of a synapse.”

“Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled.”

“Takes him 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.”

“The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead.”

Share if you find these useful, or amusing even!

Misleading Notices

I guess we’ve all seen them – notices that have used some form of strangled English to convey their message. Some funny, some weird, and some that defy logic. Here’s a selection:

In a Bangkok temple:
“IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN, EVEN A FOREIGNER, IF DRESSED AS A
MAN.”

Cocktail lounge, Norway:
“LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.”

At a Budapest zoo:
“PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUITABLE FOOD,   GIVE  IT TO  THE GUARD ON DUTY.”

Doctors office, Rome:
“SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.

Hotel, Acapulco:
“THE MANAGER HAS PERSONALLY PASSED ALL THE WATER SERVED HERE.”

Dry cleaners, Bangkok:
“DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.

In a Nairobi restaurant:
“CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.”

On the grounds of a private school:
“NO TRESPASSING WITHOUT PERMISSION.”

On an Athi River highway:
“TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER, THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.”

On a poster at Kencom:
“ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO, WE CAN HELP.”

In a City restaurant:
“OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.

One of the Mathare buildings:
“MENTAL HEALTH PREVENTION CENTRE.”

A sign seen on an automatic restroom hand dryer:
“DO NOT ACTIVATE WITH WET HANDS.”

In a Pumwani maternity ward:
“NO CHILDREN ALLOWED.”

In a cemetery:
“PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES.”

Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations:
“GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVI OURS IN BED.”

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
“OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.”

In a Tokyo bar:
“SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.”

Hotel brochure, Italy:
“THIS HOTEL IS RENOWNED FOR ITS PEACE AND SOLITUDE. IN FACT, CROWDS FROM ALL  OVER THE WORLD FLOCK HERE TO ENJOY ITS SOLITUDE.”

Hotel lobby, Bucharest:
“THE LIFT IS BEING FIXED FOR THE NEXT DAY. DURING THAT TIME WE REGRET  THAT  YOU WILL BE UNBEARABLE.”

Hotel elevator, Paris:
“PLEASE LEAVE YOUR VALUES AT THE FRONT DESK.”

Hotel, Yugoslavia:
“THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.”

Hotel, Japan:
“YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.”

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
“YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN  AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS, AND WRITERS ARE BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.”

Taken from a menu, Poland:
“SALAD A FIRM’S OWN MAKE; LIMPID RED BEET SOUP WITH CHEESY DUMPLINGS IN THE FORM OF A FINGER; ROASTED DUCK LET LOOSE; BEEF RASHERS BEATEN IN THE  COUNTRY PEOPLE’S FASHION.”

Supermarket, Hong Kong:
“FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, WE RECOMMEND COURTEOUS, EFFICIENT SELF-SERVICE.”

From the “Soviet Weekly”:
“THERE WILL BE A MOSCOW EXHIBITION OF ARTS BY 15,000 SOVIET REPUBLIC PAINTERS AND  SCULPTORS. THESE WERE EXECUTED OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS.”

In an East African newspaper:
“A NEW SWIMMING POOL IS RAPIDLY TAKING SHAPE SINCE THE CONTRACTORS HAVE  THROWN IN THE BULK OF THEIR WORKERS.”

Hotel, Vienna:
“IN CASE OF FIRE , DO YOUR UTMOST TO ALARM THE HOTEL PORTER.”

A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
“IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN, LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT  UNLESS  THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.”

Hotel, Zurich:
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE  BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE.”

An advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
“TEETH EXTRACTED BY THE LATEST METHODISTS.”

Tourist agency, Czechoslovakia:
“TAKE ONE OF OUR HORSE-DRIVEN CITY TOURS. WE GUARANTEE NO MISCARRIAGES.”

Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand:
“WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?”

In the window on a Swedish furrier:
“FUR COATS MADE FO R LADIES FROM THEIR OWN SKIN.”

The box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
“GUARANTEED TO WORK THROUGHOUT ITS USEFUL LIFE.”

In a Swiss mountain inn:
“SPECIAL TODAY – NO ICE-CREAM.”

Airline ticket office, Copenhagen:
“WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.”

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
“IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THE RUSSIA, YOU ARE WELCOME TO IT.”

A laundry in Rome:
“LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.”

A Teacher’s Nightmare

This is  true story!

A class of primary children started a class project to make a plant pot to take home. The teacher wanted to have a plant in it that was easy to take care of, so it was decided to use cactus plants.

The children were given greenware pottery in the style of a clown plant pot. They painted them with glaze and had them professionally fired at a class outing so they could see the process. It was great fun. They planted the cactus seeds in the finished planters and they grew nicely. Unfortunately, however, they were not allowed to take them home. The cactus plants were removed, replaced with a small ivy, and the children were then allowed to take them home. The teacher said cactus seemed like a good idea at the time…

 

Cactus Clowns

 

Letter to Mr Cameron

I received the following via one of those viral/chain emails, that encourage you to forward to several people at the risk of having the Wrath of Kane (or some other curse) upon you if you break the chain. I’m not one for propagating viral emails, so I guess I’m due to reap the consequences! However, I did find the content quite amusing, and being over 50 myself, I thoroughly endorse this manifesto and will do my best to get it in front of David’s policy makers ahead of next year’s elections.  I encourage you to do the same…especially if you fall into the relevant demographic!

Dear Mr. Cameron,

Please find below our suggestion for fixing the UK ‘s economy. Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:

There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Ten million job openings – unemployment fixed

2) They MUST buy a new British car. Ten million cars ordered – Car Industry fixed

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage – Housing  Crisis fixed

4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university – Crime rate fixed

5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week …..

And there’s your money back in duty/tax etc.

It can’t get any easier than that!

P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances I

Also….

Let’s put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home. This way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc. and they’d receive money instead of paying it out. They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance. Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them. A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell. They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose. They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education. Simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free, on request. Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens. Each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls. There would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.

The criminals would get cold food, be left all alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week. Live in a tiny room and pay £600.00 per week and have no hope of ever getting out.

Think about this (more points of contention):

COWS

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Appleby almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the  county of Cumbria? And, they even tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 125,000 illegal immigrants wandering around our country.

Maybe we should give each of them a cow.

(From a viral email – original author(s) not known).

 

Could we live without polices, rules and regulations?

We live in an increasingly complex world, where our every thought and decision is in some way bounded by protocols, policies, rules and regulations. After all, these have been developed by knowledgable committees and elected representatives, who have the benefit of experience and precedent, lessons learnt and best practice applied, to ensure that the rest of us can live harmonious and fulfilling lives in an almost utopian society. Who needs common sense when we can rely on policies and regulations to guide us?

If only these polices had predated the key moments in our history, such as the Battle Of Trafalgar…..

Nelson falls

Nelson: “Order the signal, Hardy.”

Hardy: “Aye, aye sir.”

Nelson: “Hold on, this isn’t what I dictated to Flags. What’s the meaning of this?”

Hardy: “Sorry sir?”

Nelson (reading aloud): “ England expects every person to do his or her duty, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. ‘What gobbledygook is this for God’s sake?”

Hardy: “Admiralty policy, I’m afraid, sir. We’re an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil’s own job getting ‘ England ’ past the censors, lest it be considered racist.”

Nelson: “Gadzooks, Hardy. Hand me my pipe and tobacco.”

Hardy: “Sorry sir. All naval vessels have now been designated smoke-free working environments.”

Nelson: “In that case, break open the rum ration. Let us splice the main brace to steel the men before battle.”

Hardy: “The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It’s part of the Government’s policy on binge drinking.”

Nelson: “Good heavens, Hardy. I suppose we’d better get on with it, full speed ahead.”

Hardy: “I think you’ll find that there’s a 4 knot speed limit in this stretch of water. It’s an environment protection initiative.”

Nelson: “Damn it man! We are on the eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow’s nest, please.”

Hardy: “That won’t be possible, sir.”

Nelson: “What?”

Hardy: “Health and Safety have closed the crow’s nest, Sir. No harness; and they said that rope ladders don’t meet regulations. They won’t let anyone up there until proper scaffolding can be erected.”

Nelson: “Then get me the ship’s carpenter without delay, Hardy.”

Hardy: “He’s busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the foredeck Admiral.”

Nelson: “Wheelchair access? I’ve never heard anything so absurd.”

Hardy: “Anti-discrimination requirements, sir. We have to provide a barrier-free environment for the differently abled…”

Nelson: “Differently abled? I’ve only one arm and one eye and I refuse even to hear mention of the word. I didn’t rise to the rank of Admiral by playing the disability card.”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented in the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.”

Nelson: “Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons.”

Hardy: “A couple of problems there too, sir. Health and safety won’t let the crew up the rigging without hard hats. And they don’t want anyone breathing in too much salt; haven’t you seen the adverts?”

Nelson: “I’ve never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy.”

Hardy: “The men are a bit worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral.”

Nelson: “What? This is mutiny!”

Hardy: “It’s not that, sir. It’s just that they’re afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of legal-aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks.”

Nelson: “Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?”

Hardy: “Actually, sir, we’re not.”

Nelson: “We’re not?”

Hardy: “No, sir The French and the Spanish are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries Policy, we shouldn’t even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit with a claim for compensation.”

Nelson: “But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil”

Hardy: “I wouldn’t let the ship’s diversity coordinator hear you saying that sir. You’ll be up on disciplinary report.”

Nelson: “You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King.”

Hardy: “Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive in this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest; it’s the rules. It could save your life.”

Nelson: “Don’t tell me – health and safety again! Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?”

Hardy: “As I explained, sir, rum is off the menu! And there’s a ban on corporal punishment.”

Nelson: “What about sodomy?”

Hardy: “I believe that is now legal, sir.”

Nelson: “In that case. kiss me, Hardy.”

(I will happily give accreditation for the above if anyone can advise me who the original author was).

The Best University Application Ever?

Application form

Now and again I come across something so “off the wall” and esoteric that I’m never quite sure what to do with it. As a life-long fan of Monty Python, this appealed to my quirky sense of humour, so I thought I’d share it for the benefit of anyone else who thinks trivia adds meaning to life.

This is (allegedly)  a genuine application from a student for a course at  Southampton University. I’ve reproduced this exactly as the original I received, since I think the sentence and paragraph structures add to the overall impact.

Interestingly, they (allegedly) gave him a place on the course.

3A ESSAY: In order for the admissions staff of our university to get to know you, the applicant, better, we ask that you answer the following question:

Q: Are there any significant experiences you have had, or accomplishments you have realised, that have helped to define you as a person?

I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Kenyan refugees, I write award-winning operas, and mange time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and god-like trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook thirty-minutes Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I had trials with Manchester United, I am the subject of numerous documentaries.

When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my garden. I enjoy urban hang-gliding. On Wednesday’s, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.

Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have appeared on ‘Though The Keyhole’ and won a gold plaque. Last summer I toured Eastern Europe with a travelling centrifugal-force demonstration. I run the 100meters in 9.65 seconds. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles.

Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert missions for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life, but forgot to write it down.

I have made extraordinary four course meals using only some vegetables and a Breville Toaster. I breed prize-winning clams.

I have won bullfights in Madrid, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and chess competitions at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to this University.

Maybe a few tips here for your CV?!