Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Yes, I Would Love To Listen to Your Voice Against My Will

For most people, putting on a pair of headphones is associated with listening to relaxing music or settling down for an in-flight movie.  But to a secretary, headphones are associated with none other than the Panasonic Microcassette Transcriber featuring back space control, quick erase, and totally uncool technology.

With this handy transcriber, management is able to transmit the most irritating sounds in existence directly into their secretary's ear canal.  When those headphones are strapped to her head, she may as well prepare for 10-60 minutes of pure torture at the hands of Irritating Dictaphone Guys:

The Bore - What's worse than having to transcribe a document that you neither care about nor understand? Having it read to you by Ben Stein.  Being trapped at your desk, listening to a monotone drone on and on for eternity about pipes and gravel pits, will no doubt have you testing how many times you can wrap a headphone cord around your neck.

The Mumbler - The Mumbler records his tapes with a mouthful of sweatsocks or with his recorder stuffed in a basket of laundry.  Also in this category falls the guy who records his tapes "on the go" so that every other word is muffled by the sound of windshield wipers, ambulances, or terminal velocity.

The Stumbler - The Stumbler neither knows about, nor cares to learn about, the rewind button.  When a regular person botches a sentence they rewind the tape and record over their mistake.  The stumbler will instead use phrases like "scratch that" or "uuhhhh" to indicate that his secretary should go back and make a correction. Where exactly the correction is to go is never fully identified.

The Homeless Guy- The Homeless Guy includes anybody who wheezes, coughs, hacks, sneezes, snorts, or, in extreme cases, vomits into their dictaphone.  With time, just the sound of a Homeless Guy opening and closing his recorder will give his secretary the heebie jeebies.

Unpredictable Heart Attack Guy  - Surprise surprise, but Unpredictable Heart Attack Guy wins the award for best kind of dictaphone guy.  He is stressed out, sweaty, and tends to swear.  And so help me God, nothing breaks up a document about pipes and gravel pits like an unexpected "what the f#ck?!", the sound of a pencil cup and 100 Bics hitting the floor, or hearing a client referred to as "that <insert highly offensive derogatory term here>."  HR may have a problem with his methods, but to a secretary subjected to any of the above, he is truly a breath of fresh air.