February's Disgruntled Employee of the Month: Janice Ennis, Whistler
Gary Newbrunswick: Congratulations on being named this month's Disgruntled Employee of the Month, Janice.
Janice Ennis: Thanks, Gary.
GN: Tell the folks reading this what you do here at the Amalgamated Humor headquarters.
JE: I'm the office whistler.
GN: So what do you do?
JE: I whistle. See, years ago, anyone in the office could whistle whatever they wanted. It was just anarchy as far as office whistling was concerned. There was a guy in accounting who would just constantly whistle "Frere Jacques" every morning. So odd. And there was a lady in finance who just had this short tuneless riff she would whistle out randomly throughout the day. It was like she was a parrakeet or something, they tell me.
GN: Then what happened?
JE: Well, Heinreich Flimminhoffer, he was company president at the time, decided this whistling needed to be regulated. First they tried a schedule for allowing different people to whistle, then they told people they could only whistle when they were on break - they had to go outside or to a designated whistling room. Finally, Flimminhoffer decided to ban whistling from all employees except for an individual hired specifically to whistle.
GN: And that's you.
JE: It is now, yes. Bert Corliss was the first whistler and he lasted a long time, but when he got older he kind of lost touch with the newer tunes out there to whistle. He also went a little senile and started whistling the theme to "Sanford and Son" every other song. So I replaced him when he retired in 1983.
GN: And you've been whistling ever since.
JE: You bet. I just wander around the office bringing a little whistle to everyone's day.
GN: That's great. Any favorite tunes?
JE: Well, it's dangerous for me to put my favorites first. I try to keep a good mix of the classics and current favorites. I try to keep away from anything that might be too distracting, controversial, or offensive. That's not what you want from a whistler. I must admit, though, I do try to whistle "Rhapsody in Blue" - at least a movement or two - once a day That one's for me.
GN: Well, Janice you've done a great job, and I felt like it was about time you got recognized for it.
JE: Thank you.
GN: Especially, considering, you won't be doing it much longer.
JE: Thanks, I - what?
GN: Well, we're going to be asking you to retire now, Janice.
JE: What? But why? I can still whistle! I've got years of whistling still in me.
GN: I know you do, Janice. And now you can whistle on your own time.
JE: What are you doing, replacing me?
GN: I'm afraid so. Yes.
JE: But why? With who?
GN: R&D has come up with a Whistling Intelligent Logarithmic Bipedal Electronic Robot, W.I.L.B.E.R.
W.I.L.B.E.R.: (enters, whistling "It's Not Unusual")
JE: Oh, no. A robot?
GN: Yup. Isn't he great?
JE: No! This is awful. He's just a machine!
GN: A machine with over 10,000 pre-recorded whistles and ready to be played back. He can take requests, he can gauge the general mood of the office and respond with the appropriate tunes. He never needs a coffee break.
JE: But can he understand the soul of whistling?
W.I.L.B.E.R.: Yes, I can. (Starts whistling "Got to Get You Into My Life")
JE: I won't stand for this, Gary. The true spirit of the whistler can't be replicated by gears and cogs. The true spirit of the whistler is the human spirit! (W.I.L.B.E.R. switches to whistling "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah") Sure, he can play back more songs than I can. Sure, he won't take the occasional sick day or need to go the bathroom, but he'll never understand the real desires of humanity. He'll never understand why "If I Fall in Love" is a better song for a rainy day than "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." Yes, he can carry a tune, but he can't express real love or hope or sorrow.
GN: I don't know. He sounds pretty good to me.
JE: Give me another chance. Let's have a whistle-off! Man versus machine! Give me the opportunity to show you - to show everyone that I'm a better whistler than this mechanical melody-maker. I will move you to tears and laughter! I will give you every note I can whistle until I breathe my last!
GN: No. We're going with the robot.
W.I.L.B.E.R.: (Begins whistling "Happy Trails")