January's Disgruntled Employee of the Month: Tom Roper, Futurist.
GARY NEWBRUNSWICK: Hello, Tom.
TOM ROPER: Hello Gary. Happy January!
GN: Uh, yes. Happy January to you, as well. I must admit, I was a bit surprised by this assignment, as I didn't realize we had a, um, "futurist," here. I'm not even quite sure what it is you'd be doing, exactly.
TR: Yes, I've been here for a couple of weeks, now. Mr. Brockie hired me. I ran into him at a cocktail party in December and he asked me questions for hours and hours.
GN: Ah, that explains a great deal. So you're what, some kind of psychic? Because, if you are, we've had problems with him doing this in the past...
TR: Oh, no, no. What I do is study trends in the culture and make certain recommendations and predictions about directions to follow to keep ahead of our competitors and customers.
GN: Oh, okay, then. Well, that makes a bit more sense, I suppose. So, what do you see in the coming year?
TR: I'm glad you asked, Gary. I see big changes in the novelty item/consumer product/humor website industry trend curve in 2002.
TR: Yes, 2003.
GN: Such as?
GN: Trends for 2003?
TR: Oh, yes, yes. Thank you for asking. First off, I'm sure, you're well aware that people in this country are rather uncertain about the future nowadays- Where things are going in terms of the economy, world affairs. We may be going to war, Gary! Have you heard that? War!
GN: Yes, I've heard about it.
TR: War, Gary.
TR: Oh, yes! Well, we need to be there, Gary, to take their minds off their problems. We need to sell them things. Things we produce.
GN: Alright, such as?
TR: Oh, novelty items, consumer products, humor websites, that sort of thing. You don't happen to have a list handy, do you Gary?
GN: A list?
TR: Of things we make, to get the old trend-spotting juices flowing.
GN: You have no idea what we make here, do you?
TR: Sure, sure I do. Wooden sailor statues.
TR: Those squirting flowers?
GN: Some, yes.
TR: There we go! Squirting flowers for the public! All production will be shifted to that division!
GN: A squirting flower division?
GN: Hm. Have you discussed any of this with Mr. White yet?
TR: No, just Mr. Brockie and he loves it. I haven't even met Mr. White yet. Apparently, he's been on holiday. I'll be giving him my full report next week.
GN: I think past trends in his irrational anger can allow you to make an accurate prediction about your future with Amalgamated Humor.
TR: Really? What's that?
GN: Never mind. You'd better just stock up on office supplies while you can. Happy January.