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Bad Day at the Office


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Hi Sue,


Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wetsuit.


This time of year the water is quite cool. So here's what we do to keep warm: We have a diesel-powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temp. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, doesn't it? I've used it several times with no complaints.


When I get to the bottom and start working, what I do is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my neck and flood my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds my itchy butt started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done.


In agony I realized what had happened. The hot-water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. This is even worse than poison ivy under a cast. I had put that hose down my back, but I don't have any hair on my back, so the jellyfish couldn't get stuck to my back. My butt crack was not as fortunate.


When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into my butt. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communications system. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he and 5 other divers were laughing hysterically.


Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make 3 hellish in-water decompression stops totaling 35 minutes before I could reach the surface for my chamber dry decompression. I got to the surface wearing nothing but my brass helmet. My suit and gear were tied to the bell. When I got on board, the medic, with tears of laughter streaming down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to coat my butt when I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for two days because my butt was swollen shut.


We've since modified the equipment to filter out most sea creatures.


Anyway, the next time you have a bad day at the office, think of me. Think about how much worse your day would be if you were to squash a jellyfish on your butt. I hope you have no bad days at the office. But if you do, I hope this will make it more tolerable.

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