Suddenly - HATS!
Excerpt from chapter three of the Scaryduck-penned manuscript "WTF?!"
Toby Young gets paid stupid sums of money supervising a design team on the fledgling Scaryduck Dot Com website, owned by the frightening Margaret Hilda Roberts (no relation). Life is peachy...
We have an official office sport.
It is called "Hats", and involves headwear and the ability to avoid going to the toilet for up to six hours at a time. The latter being a skill developed over years of heavy drinking, which my father assured me would come in useful one way. Dads are always right, and this was no exception.
The rules of the game are simple. At any stage during the working day, a participant is entitled to shout out the words "Suddenly - HATS!" and everybody has to don an item of headgear. The best hat wins a small prize from the Stationery Cupboard of Doom, whilst defaulters or the wearers of rubbish hats have to get the teas in.
For such a simple idea (produced, it must be said, by a simpleton), the game evolved a complex set of rules which have led, on more than one occasion, to the firey destruction of hats deemed "inappropriate" by the keepers of the rulebook.
Productivity is up. God knows how.
I call this activity team-building. Ms Roberts, walking in halfway through a hat alert with a gaggle of investors calls it "this kind of thing must stop IMMEDIATELY before the company is compromised."
She might have a point, though I went to pains to tell her that she doesn't need to join in if she feels uncomfortable about the whole hat thing. In the end, the keepers of the rulebook decided that she could be exempted from any millinary penalties on account of a) her wig being classified as a hat whenever required and b) she can have us all sacked and/or bumped off at a moment's notice.
The playing of Hats is not without its risks. The first hat-burning resulted in a fire alarm and the subsequent evacuation of the building, but gained the lovely Jess a surplus-to-requirements fireman's helmet that gains her extra Hat Points on any given day.
Hats has turned us from a mercenary rabble of layabouts into a lean, mean hat-wearing machine. We go on lunch-break expeditions up to Covent Garden, searching out fresh headgear for the afternoon's madness. It has even got to the point where I have even remembered the names of the people I am supposed to be supervising.
During working hours, no-one dare leave their desk for fear that "Hats!" is called while they are away, and I have begun to suspect that some of my collleagues may be wearing incontinence pants under their clothing.