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When Work Is What Ails You

There’s a name of a town in Louisiana that keeps being mentioned during the oil spill coverage. It is the same as the last name of a secretary I had decades ago.  She was a lovely woman who was an excellent typist, but her communication skills were sometimes a bit awkward.  As she keeps coming to mind, I thought I’d share one of L’s many telephone misadventures with readers today.

L was a chronic and constant complainer, and she never heeded requests to refrain from bitching and moaning to clients.  One day, as I walked past her cluttered desk, it didn’t surprise me to hear L on the phone whining about how stressed she was feeling from her “piles.”

What did surprise me was the client who met me in the parking lot the next morning a few minutes before 9 AM.  She handed me a bag from a pharmacy, saying she’d brought L a special ointment she’d found “most useful in reducing pain you know where.”  I didn’t know where, but I thanked her and placed the bag on L’s desk.

A few minutes later, probably while I was fixing a cup of tea, a commotion started.  “What the hell?  Is this somebody’s idea of a joke?” L was holding a tube of hemorrhoid cream aloft at her desk and yelling “Who thinks I’m a pain in the ass?”

I explained where the bag came from, and after a few more seconds of red-faced fuming, L called the client.  Shortly into the conversation, she burst out laughing and shared the story with the rest of the office.  Seems “piles” is another name for an anal affliction (news to me) and after whining about the anguish she was feeling from the stacks of work piled high on her desk, the client felt compelled to share her favorite soothing remedy!

After that incident, another attorney in our suite frequently asked L:  “Where do you keep the [butt cream]?  I want to get rid of all my work!”

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