Home Roland Rocchiccioli What has happened to the tried-and-true office protocols and procedures which served...

What has happened to the tried-and-true office protocols and procedures which served us so well, and so efficiently, for so many years?

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I remember a time when one could call an office number, speak with the switchboard operator/ receptionist who, with time, came to know your name and recognise your voice. It was her job to connect you to the person whom you were calling, and, in the event they were out of the office, or on another call, she would take a message – remember the yellow message pads with a carbon copy? It was so simple and effective. How times have changed. It is a curious thing, but so many office workers do not say good morning in reply to your telephone salutation. Depending on my mood, I sometimes say – rather tersely: “I said good morning. Did you not hear me? It’s good manners to say ‘good morning’ in return.” Sometimes it engenders a response from the stunned worker; other times a sullen silence. I do not care what they think. I am tired of bad manners. They are infiltrating and contaminating our lives, and the workplace.

I emailed a script to a theatrical agent in London, asking for it to be passed on to their client, who was waiting to read it. I telephoned to make sure it had arrived, only to be told they would confirm in a couple of days. Exactly one week later, I received an email: ‘I have been on holidays. Could you send the script again?’ These days, no-one has time to answers the phone in their office. They are far too busy being busy, and God forbid, they should have to talk with hoi polloi. Every call is directed to the mailbox system and then, conveniently, it disappears into the ether.

I called a business and asked to speak with a particular person. The receptionist asked: ‘What was your name?’ I replied: It was and still is, Roland Rocchiccioli. I would like a dollar for every time I have been asked: ‘Is Roland Rocchiccioli your real name?’ Sometimes I answer with a simple ‘yes’; however, you cannot imagine the looks on their faces when I say: ‘No. It used to be Grace Topalovski, but I changed it for professional reasons.’ Believe it or not sometimes they believe me! Why does everyone say: ‘Would you like to take a seat?’ Again, depending on my mood, the answer varies: ‘Do I look like a removalist?/Why, are you giving them away?/ Where do you want me to take it?’ Mostly it goes over their head like a hair net. My least favourite is when the person on the other end of the line, wanting to give you a phone number, asks: ‘Do you have a pen?’ My answer is always: Yes, I do thank you. Isn’t that exciting?’

When Debbie Reynolds died a reporter called and asked: ‘Do you have a number for Debbie Reynolds.’ I said: ‘Yes, I do, thank you,’ and hung-up. They did not call back.

I would like to meet the boffin who invented the telephone programme for push button one, push button

two et al. I am not intellectually concussed in any way, shape or form, but there are telephone menus which leave me totally bamboozled, and frothing at the mouth in rage, like a rabid dog.

Being forced to dial the 13 and 1300 telephone numbers is nonsense. I have a Telstra plan which provides all my local, STD, and mobile calls for $99 per month. The 13 and 1300 numbers are not included as part of the package and Telstra charges 40-cents a call. I have tried, but it is impossible to obtain the landline number to businesses and organisations. I am charged approximately $4 a month for these calls. Multiply that around Australia and figure would be staggering. Obviously, someone is making a lot of money from a charge over which I have no control – try as I do. This was given me by my Doctor, Rimas Liubinas. It would be funny, if it were not true!

The heaviest element know to science was recently discovered by investigators at a major US research university. The element, tentatively named administratium, has no protons or electrons, and thus has an atomic number of 0.

However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons, and 11 assistant vice neutrons, which gives it an atomic man of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons. Since it has no electrons, administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of administratium cases one reaction to take over four days to complete when it could have normally occurred in less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three-years, at which time does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons, and assistant vice-neutrons exchange places. Some studies have shown that the atomic mass actually increases after each reorganisation. Research at other laboratories indicates that administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points such as government agencies, large corporations, and universities. It can be usually be found in the newest, best appointed, and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration, and can easily destroy any productive reactions where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising. Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30.Contact: rolandroc@bigpond.com

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