My first real job out of college, in the mid-1980s, was at a computer book publishing company in the Bay Area. You will recall—or, if you’re too young, I guess I will make it clear—that in the mid '80s there was no such thing as “the Internet,” so people tended to get their information from such now archaic forms of communication as print. LOL.
The books that this company made were instructional books on the then popular software and programming languages at the time: Lotus 1-2-3, WordPerfect, dBase, and so on. My job, as a recent graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English Literature, was proofreader. I would proofread the galleys (page proofs) for spelling and grammatical errors, and then to paste the galleys on to boards that would get sent to the printer. These were the days of literal “cut-and-paste.” We’d use Xacto knives to physically cut lines of text and paste them onto the boards. So you Ctrl-X/Ctrl-V people? We used to do that, like, for real, okay?
Anyway, my boss at this place was an amiable but utterly absent-minded kinda guy, as well as sort of spineless and cowardly when it came to dealing with the higher-ups. The latter part, unfortunately, pretty much negated the fact that he was amiable, because, in critical work situations, it was clear that when push came to shove, he was always going to side with upper management, rather than his employees, out of fear for his own job. Thus a pattern of distrust was established.
One particular week, the upper management dipshits got it in their heads that the proles were wasting too much company time on private phone calls. A crackdown was ordered.
Our boss returned to our area and informed us of the crackdown. There will be no personal calls on company time, except in emergencies. People were abusing the privilege. To prove his point, he pulled out the most recent company phone bill, with all the itemized calls. As he scanned the bill, he noticed that one particular phone number in our area had a grotesquely large number of long calls.
“Look at this one!” he exclaimed. “Who the hell is this on the phone all the goddamn time!” he said, waving the bill around in the air. “You know what? I’m gonna CALL this number and see who the hell answers it!” He dialed the number, while a few of us watch him. “It’s BUSY!” he yelled. “IT FIGURES!” He slammed down the phone.
A few minutes later, he left his office. A couple of us walked in to peek at the phone bill, and the offending phone number.
It was his phone number.
He had called himself.