Exit Hazing

Friday, December 17th 2004 ·


If you've been following recent events in my life at work, you may have been wondering after reading my entry Monday what creative pranks my co-workers have been thinking up this week to send me off. Rather than posting about it daily, I figured I'd wait until friday and give it to you all at once, with pictures. So here goes...

You may have heard about what they did to me the week after I got back from my wedding last February. That week, they did something every day. Monday, they replaced my computer with a piece of crap that wouldn't even start and led me to believe that it was legitimate. Tuesday, they covered my desk with black balloons. Wednesday, they filled my desk area with a vast spiderweb of black streamers. Thursday, they set up plastic cowboys & indians all over my desk. And friday they truly outdid themselves: they covered everything, and I mean everything, in aluminum foil. Here is a picture. They foiled everything. The chair, wastepaper basket, keyboard, monitor, phone, every book on the shelves, the papers I had hanging on the walls, each individual pushpin, one of the balloons left over from earlier that week, and everything in my drawers, right down to loose change and paperclips. They were ruthlessly thorough.


Monday, they picked up where they left off. Foil again, although less thorough. The only difference: this time, they created a foil wall, closing off the cubicle area entirely. Since they weren't around when I arrived that day, I decided that it would be fun to climb in and pretend I was late. They figured out I was inside within 5 minutes though. I wrote about this on Monday.

Later that day, we all went out to lunch at a Brazilian restaurant in Hartford, where they had all-you-can-eat meat. While there, I was presented with gifts, most of which (okay, all of which) require some explanation. First, they got me a large stuffed frog, which was a reference to a bizarre website I'd located a week or two before about Hopkin Green Frog. It had become an inside joke, and as the originator, I was apparently due a frog. Secondly, a ninja action figure. There is also a story behind this, and the explanation in its entirety can be found here. I'd told most of my immediate co-workers about it since I found it so funny. Third, they gave me a VHS tape which I didn't immediately understand. Paula Abdul?? Apparently the connection is that I dance Lindy Hop. Since Paula Abdul dances, there must be some similarity. (?) Anyway, the last item was a Elmo digital watch, which they told me was "The Howley Watch". Here, I must once again go into an explanation - one I'll most likely regret when this is read by my friends and family. Since I live two hours away from work, traffic and weather conditions are often hard to judge, and I get to work late more often than anyone else. The people at work are very understanding of this, and rather than reprimanding me when I'm late, they set up a gambling pool and bet on what time I'll arrive, usually wagering 25ΒΆ each. This has become known as "The Howley Watch". (They don't call me Greg because of the other Gregg who works right next to me. They call me "Howley") Also, while we were out that day, a couple co-workers bought me a drink called a "Redheaded Slut", which turned out to be a huge faux pas when they learned that my wife had red hair. They felt bad when they actually found that out. Despite all that, the drink was actually pretty good.


Tuesday, I arrived to find my entire cubicle walled off with seran wrap and filled with balloons and crumpled-up newspaper. You can vaguely see Hopkin Green Frog in the background. Amazingly, it only took about 10 minutes to clear the whole area out, since Gregg and Mark helped me.


When I got in Wednesday morning, I found my entire cubicle wallpapered with pictures of Paula Abdul. How odd. Right in the middle of it all was the video they'd bought me monday. It was such a stirring sight that I left many of the pictures up all day.


Thursday, it turned from pranks to foul play. I arrived to find Hopkin Green Frog missing! Who took my frog? Who found my frog? There was a ransom note on my desk which read as follows:

We have frog. If you look for Hopkin Green, we have. Yes, him we have. No call FBI. No call security. We cook frog. Frog tasty.

"Yes, him we have"? Was Hopkin Green Frog kidnapped by Yoda? Apparently not, as these suspiciously familiar photos of the kidnappers showed. Before long, a message appeared on my voicemail. It said "We have your frog. Do not contact the FBI or the frog will get it!" By this point, I was quite worried for Hopkin's safety.

Before long, another note appeared.

If you want see frog, give donuts. If no donuts, we eat frog. Instructions coming.

With this note came photos of Hopkin Green Frog apparently intended to confirm that he was still alive.

Around noon, I got an interoffice mail. Inside was a folder and a cell phone. The folder contained another note, and more pictures.

If want frog back buy donuts. 1 dozen. Take phone. Wear no-eavesdropping hat. Wait on 4th floor ay Ann's desk. 1:30. We call with more instruction. If no do this frog in trouble.

Poor Hopkin! Apparently they were forcing him to smoke and threatening to kick his chair over!

So come noon, I waited in the appointed location with the cell phone, a dozen cookies instead of donuts (coworkers told me that the kidnappers changed their minds), and brought the YouAreDumb hat, which was apparently what they'd meant by the "no-listening hat". After a bit, the phone rang, but I hit the wrong button to answer it, and it didn't work. It rang again, and I picked up correctly, but heard only "Bring the..." before the battery died. So a nearby worker who apparently had the kidnapper's phone number called them and got the demands. I was to drop off the contents of the box in a conference room and wrap them in tin foil so as to prevent any tracking devices from working. Funny, since I'd actually put a fake "tracking device" in the box with the cookies.

So I headed back up to the 6th floor and found the room, where I used the foil to wrap the cookies, and headed back. Hopkin Green Frog was at my desk. Minutes later, Gregg showed up and told me that two masked men had run past and given him these cookies. Lucky for us. So we all shared them. I still have leftovers.


After the tumult of the week leading up to my last day, I'd expected friday to be the topper, as it was the week after my wedding, when things culminated with the first tinfoiling of my desk. However, it was not to be. Friday was actually anticlimactic. When I arrived, I found a bundle where my keyboard had been. All I could see was balloons, beneath which I could vaguely discern Paula Abdul pictures, which I then noticed had been removed from my walls. As it turns out, Hopkin Green Frog was beneath that mess, wrapped in seran wrap, foil, Paula Abdul pictures, and balloons - every bit of the week's pranks. Compared to what I'd been expecting, this was quite mild. And I do believe that Hopkin was suffocated beneath all that seran wrap. R.I.P. Hopkin. Apparently, Gregg had the idea to move Tony up to my desk, as we expect he'll do before long - that would have left me deskless though, and I do have a couple things to finish up, so it didn't happen.

Afterwards, they got me a really cool cake, and then made me serve it to everyone. I've never gotten that custom. Then we all exchanged hugs. It was a tender moment.

I'm going to miss working here - the guys are wacknuts. My kind of people.

Comments on Exit Hazing
Comment Friday, December 17th 2004 by tagger
Better all this than leaving and having nobody notice.

You need better cubical security. :-)

Comment Monday, December 20th 2004 by Not-Gregg
That Gregg guy seems cool.
Comment Monday, December 20th 2004 by Danielle
Sorry I missed the festivities. Especially the cookies. jk!
Also sorry I didn't get to say bye! Good luck in Colorado and keep in touch. I will still be using the Howley website for games on a regular basis so NEVER take it down!!!! (Else i'll be bored @ work)
Comment Monday, December 20th 2004 by Greg
That Gregg guy isn't that cool...
I hate that guy! ;-)

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