Sharp, this razor-blade

Every so often, on my slide down the razor-blade, I happen upon one of those little tricks of life that I daresay most of you (both of you? You? Who reads this?) know already.

Yesterday I was chatting to my MSN virtual friend. He had worked most of the holiday weekend and was celebrating his arrival home, at 9 pm on Bank Holiday Monday, with a snifter. I made a teasing comment, referring to how much work he had got done over the holiday. “Are you being sarcastic?” he asked. “No, just gently ironic” – “that’s all right then.”

I have another friend who declares he never uses sarcasm, only irony. And evidently that is how he gets away with it too.

MSN friend does indeed work long hours. There is, in his company, a designated maximum number of monthly hours you are allowed to work and, for the second month running, he has exceeded it. I asked what happens, compulsory time off? No, you are given an appointment to have a psychiatric assessment. If you are not deemed to have suffered mental health issues because of your overwork, then carry on, no harm done. Obviously, you do not want to fail the medical and so you make every effort to pass the test.

Like so many quotas and targets, very easily circumvented.

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