Executive Assistant


Many of you are aware that I am an intelligent person with a job of some importance.  My position requires that I have a large office with wonderful views of the city and an impressively large desk filled with papers of some sort.  It is also necessary that I have an “executive assistant” who, I understand, performs many critical “tasks” and who takes on many “responsibilities.”  Recently, she asked my permission to have a day off and suggested that I might handle things in her absence.  Being a caring and understanding superior, I asked what types of things I might have to do.


Pointing to a rather complicated-looking apparatus that had several lights and buttons on it (along with what appeared to be a receiver) she replied, “Well, you would have to keep an eye on the phones.”


Well, I could certainly keep an eye on the phones.  This was no big deal.  Since I was not being asked to actually answer them I felt confident that I could handle such a critical chore.  I asked her if there was anything else.


“Oh yes,” she answered, “you also have to pick up the mail.”  She gestured to a modest pile of letters perched on a nearby credenza


I studied the mound for a few moments.  I estimated its weight to be about one pound.  This was not a problem.  I happen to be one of those people who are amazingly capable of lifting light objects.  At worst, I might need to use two hands to compensate for any momentary weakness.  I was growing confident that I could manage.  I again asked if this was all.


“No.  You would also have to make sure that your schedule doesn’t get too crazy,” she said.


Of course, I had heard of many occurrences of calendpsychosis, a mental illness common to the business schedule.  (Indeed, a friend of mine once had to call a physician that specialized in such afflictions - at considerable expense - to verify the diagnosis.)  But I had never known my schedule to become “too crazy” so I was quite sure that this would not be challenging.  My confidence was still rising and I was inclined to give her an entire week off.  I inquired if there was anything else.   


Sensing my complacency, she replied in a somewhat irritated tone, “Well. . .yes.  There are hundreds of things that I do behind the scenes each day to make sure that you look good!”


I chuckled quietly and casually glanced out the window.  In doing so, I happened to catch a glimpse of my reflection.  I reeled back from the figure staring back at me.  (It resembled a casaba melon balanced on top of a damp sack of potatoes – more fruit and vegetable than human.)  I suddenly felt my confidence flagging.  Turning back to her, I said,


“I am sorry but you are invaluable.  I simply cannot let you have a day off.”