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The Canadian Nuclear FAQ  

by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock


Published in the June 2015 issue of the Canadian Nuclear Society Bulletin, Vol.36, No.2.

A Long Time Ago in a Company Far, Far Away

by Jeremy Whitlock

Attention Staff:

It has come to Management's attention that an inordinate number of non-standard "special days" are being openly observed by employees, based upon science and sci-fi trivia; for example: "Pi Day" (March 14). While Management supports the consumption of pie and does not wish to unduly restrict the ability of the bakery industry to derive financial benefit from its activities, we must all acknowledge that the image of our company as a haven for Big Bang Theory fan boys (and girls) deriving pleasure from esoteric humour unbefitting a commercial entity, is not, in of itself and notwithstanding personal, religious, and other rights and freedoms - desirable.

Accordingly, while we all certainly appreciated the assortment of pies distributed in the cafeteria on March 14 this year (marking an apparently particularly special occurrence of this day in 2015), henceforth employees are asked to exercise restraint in letting such observances go too far. In particular:

"e Day": February 7th (with special observance in 2018). Public demonstrations of exponential growth or decay in celebration of this most natural of all constants, can be educational and interesting; however, in the past there has been much confusion and inappropriate behaviour (in particular the demonstrations in our front foyer of population growth, ponzi schemes, viral transmission, and nuclear chain reactions).

"Avogadro Day": June 2nd. The mass release of dozens of moles in our main administration building on this day last year was a particularly challenging event to deal with, and employees are reminded that security is still seeking help in tracking down the perpetrators. By contrast, the previous year's activity of releasing dozens of colorful balloons filled to a volume of 22.4 litres each was more acceptable; however, the fistfight that broke out among the chemists (apparently over the question of what actual volume the balloons should be inflated to, given that day's temperature and pressure) was unfortunate.

"Barn Day": October 24th. Many of us were impressed by the teamwork and spirit shown by the team of nuclear engineers that raised a barn in 24 hours in the executive parking lot, using only hand tools and human energy. Had the visiting Board of Directors been able to remove their cars before they were enclosed by the structure that day, it is likely that this remarkable feat of engineering might have experienced more corporate uptake.

"Gravity Day": September 8th. Unfortunately, last year's 1 PM screening of the Sandra Bullock/George Clooney 2013 blockbuster in the cafeteria, complete with a serving of fig Newtons and plates of broccoli and cauliflower shaped like Albert Einstein, quickly degenerated to a free-for-all of food thrown at the screen by those unimpressed by the physics of low earth orbit as depicted by Hollywood.

"Star Wars Day": May 4th. While it is recognized that May the Fourth holds a special place in many employees' hearts, it has been decided that storm trooper and "Leia the slave" costumes are inappropriate in customer meetings, as are light sabre duels in the ventilation shaft, and wookie calls over the PA system. Employees are asked to try to quietly observe this day in the future - or rather, either do or do not: there is no "try".

"Enterprise Month": January 2017. We understand that a group known as the "NCC-1701 Committee" is planning a month of festivities, including "blueprint trivia" contests, requirements to say "whoosh" when walking through doors on site, and random drills involving klaxons going off and everyone gripping their desks and grimacing. It is felt that such activities over an entire month would be unduly distracting, particularly the expectation that employees overact for such an extended period of time.

In addition to these measures, be advised that "Father's Day" will no longer be referred to as "I'm Your Father's Day" in the company calendar, the company work-out room will no longer be known as the "He's Dead Gym", and the cafeteria's double-patty hamburger will no longer be labelled the Spielberger (available with ET Phone Home Fries and a large Clockwork Orange soft drink).

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter. As usual, concerns and suggestions should be directed to the company feedback mailbox, by clicking on "I've Got a Bad Feeling About This" on our intranet.

Discussion welcome.

©2015 Jeremy Whitlock

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