It was a perfect storm.

In the run-up to Christmas break, everyone was busy and self-absorbed. I stopped shaving and soon a beard was evident. Then there was the festive break, during which my beard flourished.

I ate too much and drank too much and did not exercise enough during the festive break, so I resolved to lose weight in the New Year — much like everyone else.

I returned to the office with a beard and on a diet.

Over January I lost over 5kg by skipping bread, potatoes, and alcohol. (protip)

On the last day of January, I shaved off my beard. That was when the problems started. I woke up on 1st February with a crick on my neck. It was very painful and I had to tilt my head to the left to gain pain relief.

I now think it was the head tilt, the beard loss and the weight loss – whatever it was, my client looked at me and freaked out.

“Do you feel alright, Dave?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Come with me”

I followed him to the main boardroom where a meeting was going on.

“Sorry guys, sorry to interrupt, but look at Dave – what do you think?”

I stood there, ignominiously, as people stared at my face, intently, deliberately and solemnly.

“Oh dear!”

“Not good”

“Get him to hospital”

My eyes widened.

Suddenly I was told to go straight to the nearest hospital. I was also told to leave my car and they got a colleague to drive me to the hospital right away and without delay.

Scary. Serious. WTF?

How weird did I feel? Imagine how you would feel. They thought I was having a stroke!

Minutes later, and  I am in the A&E department of Monklands Hospital. I am Whisked into a bay, the curtains were drawn. Blood was drawn too – and a catheter installed in my right hand. I was tested for mental agility, I got an ECG print out, I had a sip test. All sorts of things were done and I was thoroughly checked over.

All in all I was whisked from my desk at 1pm and eventually made it home alive at 8pm. That’s a long, stressful shift. My wife and children arrived to relieve my colleague. And what was the verdict?

I’m OK.


Nice to know.

On the other hand, people think I have had a stroke just because I am ugly.



Oh My Gawd!

We got a new Mitel phone system installed in the office.

I connected the wires. I logged in. So far so good. I set up 30 odd other phones. I’m a helpful guy.

Then I noticed that I had to set up my voicemail. I pressed the appropriate buttons.

“Input your voicemail password” … Easy – login password 4 digits plus three more as provided in the email.

“Enter your new seven-digit password”… Oops (I wasn’t prepared for replacing the password)… 0000000

“Say your name as you like it to be said”… OK, no problems.


“Please say your outgoing message”… So I said “Sorry I am not available – please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can”.

That was it. Simple enough – until I noticed that when tested, people calling in only heard: “Sorry I am not available – please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can”… not my name. I ought to have said my name in both recordings. Damn.

I tried to erase and re-record the “Sorry I am not available – please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can”, but it wouldn’t let me. Never mind.

I overheard a colleague trying to do the same thing I had just done, so I said, “You have to be careful; if you get it wrong, you cannot change it”.

Unknown to me, the daft lassie admin person was in the middle of doing the same thing. When she heard me saying you cannot change the message recorded, she exclaimed, “What? Oh! My! Gawd!”

And this is what was recorded as her outgoing message.

When people call her and get voicemail, they are greeted with, “What? Oh! My! Gawd!”.

And she cannot change it.