Your Empathy Amuses Me…

Mid-way through a particularly dry conference call one of the participants fell down a flight of stairs. The sound quality was unusually crisp and we heard ‘…We should be able to hit the milestone, but a note of cau…CHRIST [Two category A swearwords] followed by a tumbling ‘Huhhh,’ then silence.

We already knew the speaker was in the fire escape as he’d told us moments before.

The guy running the call said ‘Hello?…[NAME]? Oh…well I guess he’s gone…shall we carry on?’

‘Are you two in the same building?’ I replied.

‘Yes.’

‘How bout maybe checking he’s OK?’

‘No, I’m sure he’s fine.’

‘Probably, but let’s take five minutes to be certain.’

‘I’ve only got ten minutes before my next meeting.’

‘Seriously?’

Yes, I thought, you definitely said that out loud.

My mind wandered to a TV programme many years ago featuring Phillip Schofield talking with a circus knife thrower and his ‘fabulous female assistant’ strapped to a spinning table. After a big build-up the man threw his first knife straight into the woman’s head. Rather than help her Phillip stood directly in front of her to shield the garish spectacle from viewers – The consummate professional / massive prick! Others scrambled in behind him to untie the woman (who was later revealed to be shocked and scarred, but otherwise OK).

The incident annoyed me a little. At what point did it become OK to place making a sale over the well-being of a colleague?

When five minutes became ten I thought: Yep, definitely dead, or else hideously deformed.

But when we finally reconvened it transpired that the man in question had suffered minor cuts and bruises and had broken his phone. We were now free to find the whole thing hilarious / mock and abuse him.

Proper etiquette MUST be observed.

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