October 3, 2006

Film Noir SML

Well, tomorrow marks another milestone for me at work: My 7 year anniversary of working here. Seven glorious years working alone in an office, doing books and lovin' it. Or something like that.

(Insert wavy flashback lines)
FLASHBACK of Two Years Ago, filmed in black & white...

*Scene begins with sillouette of someone outside office door, visible through the glass*

Cue VOICE, film noir style...

"Monday morning hit me harder than yesterday's salami on rye." (SML enters shadowed office, wearing high heels, taking off trench coat and hat, turning on the radio, sitting down at computer)

"News on the radio can't be any worse than this sludge they call coffee." (SML begins typing)

"It was just like any other day. Same old story, same old line. The days had a way of blending together like the sea of faces rolling past me through the smoke at the club last night."

(Large black rotary phone on desk rings. SML picks up, says hello, nods...after a few moments she pulls receiver away from her ear, looks at it with confusion, and slowly hangs up)

"Something wasn't quite right. I knew it as much as I knew Bush shouldn't be president. My boss never called this early. His 'Good morning!' sounded too happy, too intimate, too personal. What did it mean? I wouldn't have to wait long for the anser."

(SML picks up folder labeled TIME CARDS and opens it. She suddenly stands up with paper in one hand and check in the other, a look of shock on her face)

"I had never been hit with something like this. My heart was racing faster than the news that Brittney Spears' boobs aren't real. Here was a check, made out to me, in the amount of one thousand dollars."

(Cue Dramatic Organ Music, one note, lasting five seconds. SML looks away from so many zeroes to read note)

"SML -

This check is our thanks for five years of hard work for our company. Your dedication is a key factor to the continued success of (our company.) Keep up the great work! Thank you!

(The Boss)"

(SML sits down slowly, shock still on her face)

"Either I was halucinating or my ship had just come in. I needed to make a few calls to see if hell had in fact frozen over. My mind raced with immediate thoughts of how and where I was going to spend the money. This was the answer to my prayers! I could buy all the art supplies I needed to fund my secret habit. I could finally take that trip to Austria I'd been dreaming of for ten years. Or I could be nice and plan a real vacation with my family for the first time. The possibilities roared through my brain like the wrath of God."

(SML looks up, right at the camera, lips open in surprise)

"Oh...God! That's right! How could I forget Him at a time like this?"

(SML folds her arms, bows her head, and says a silent prayer of thanks at her desk. She looks up and grabs her purse, and begins to rummage through it)

"I knew I had better take out tithing first, before I spent what wasn't mine of this bonus. Tithing checks to me were like taxes...hold the money aside weekly, but pay it as seldom as possible. I didn't realize I had this many checks in my purse. The stack before me rose like the Tower of Babel."

(SML adds stack of checks on calculator, then look of confusion and disbelief on her face....then frantic re-adding on the calculator)

"What the.....Something started to smell, and it wasn't just Mrs. Pollock's Brussels sprouts from downstairs. No matter how hard I added what I'd already paid and what I had to mail, my tithing was coming up shorter than a micro skirt on Paris Hilton. EIGHT HUNDRED NINETY-SIX DOLLARS short, to be exact. I needed some answers, and I needed them FAST."

(SML dials phone, is shown speaking into phone with eyebrows raised...silence during this part)

"My husband was on my list, and I don't mean my list of people I'm sending a Christmas card to. He was the one who wrote my tithing check out each week, and put it in the envelope in my purse. But apparently in May and June, when we traveled so much for soccer games, he felt like we couldn't afford it so he thought he might have skipped a few payments. This story was getting uglier than Martha Stewart's underwear drawer. If I added the tithing I owed from before with the $100 I owed on my bonus, the total came to $996. I was left with exactly four dollars."

(SML sits with look of total abject despair, because now she realises what she must and will do with the money)

"Filling out that tithing slip hurt worse than childbirth. There was no way in hell I was going to tell my non-Mormon husband about this bonus. My only consolation came when I realized that if I ever needed it, I'd have the best faith-promoting story to tell the next time the Stake President picked me out of the congregation with no forewarning to share my testimony, as he'd done 3 times before. Obviously God had prompted my boss to gift me my tithing money when I didn't even know I was short."

(Cue victory music...SML smiles peaceful smile with tears of joy in her eyes as she licks the tithing envelope closed)

***********THE END**************** Pans across screen.

I can't tell you how this true story (minus the dramatic film noir!) irks me. I can only shake my head in disgust at myself. It's a real testament to my husband...I told him about it a couple months later. It's a miracle he didn't commit me to a mental institution. He actually didn't say anything. Not even, "Why didn't you talk to me about it first?" Truly amazing.


A soul, finally free. said...

I have to laugh. It probably really isn't a laughing matter. But it is in the past and hopefully you will get a bonus tomorrow for 7 years. And you can do whatever you want with the money. I remember one time sitting in the bishops office for thithing settlement and I said something like "WOW, that is A LOT of money." Over that year I had paid about 50 dollars, and for a 13 or 14 year old girl to pay that to a church and get nothing more then a slip reminding me how foolishly I spent my money...it hurt. And the bishop said, "well its fire insurance, if there is ever a fire you wont burn." Well gosh I would almost like to take the chance that there is a fire, and go out with a nice outfit on....haha. And if he was talking about the fires of hell...well nvm. Anyway, I know your pain, and it does feel great to just get to spend your money. Well LOve you Lise...and happy 7 years! haha

Just one of many said...

Well what are you going to do with the next check that will be 100% SML's? thanks for the laugh...needed it

Anonymous said...

Bummer. It reminds me of the year my TBM Dad went to pay the tithing and my Jack Mormon Mom had spent it (6 figuires)and he had to remortgage his house to pay it... They didn't speak to each other for months. Neither of them remember it now.

Kita Kazoo
Planet Kita Kazoo

Sister Mary Lisa said...

JOOM, I probably will get nothing for this anniversary...those big bonuses probably happen on 5 and 10 year milestones...don't know. I really wish I hadn't been so righteous at that time about tithing. Oh well. Ya win some, ya lose some.

La said...

GREAT writing, SML. I could picture it exactly as you described. VERY creative!!

And now about the tithing. WTF?? Oh, that's SO depressing. I think I'm going to cry now. Tears of anguish for the lost trip to Austria (one of my dreams, too!)

Eight Hour Lunch said...

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouchity, ouch ouch, ouch! OUCH!

P.S., can you email me about the pic? My address is on my site. Thanks!

Janet M. Kincaid said...

That was great! I love old radio noir, having grown up listening to Radio Mystery Theater on KSL radio (then the SLC CBS affiliate. Now I think it's NBC's station??)

My favorite line: "SML enters shadowed office, wearing high heels, taking off her trench coat and hat, turning on the radio...." I immediately had a picture of a naked woman in nothing but high heels. This picture was instantly followed by the voice of the director of your noir yelling, "Cut! Cut! Where are your clothes?! Get some clothes on this woman, would you? Somebody?! You! Lackey! Get Clothing down here. Naked SML alert!"

Thanks for a good laugh and good job on the job! I love hearing about companies and leaders who do the right thing and recognize the hard work of their employees. Kudos to your boss and his company!

Of course, the real point of the story was, "How could I be so silly and sign it all away to tithing?!?" I keep telling my friends, if I die and get to the other side and there's nothing over there, I'm going to demand a refund! Your story, though, is a perfect example of how much we all--at one time or another--buy into the wholeness and goodness of Mormonism and how fervently we believe that if we do all the things we're told to do, like pay tithing, we'll be blessed with abundance. What a load of crap!

I'll stop there before my comment becomes a novel--or worse: a ranting soap box. Thanks for the laugh.

montchan said...

Oh man... That hurt!
But c'mon, you worked in accounting!!! Even during my faithful years (hehehe, yeah, good times) I employed some very creative tricks to avoid paying tithing altogether. Luckily, my boss was a jack mormon, and she didn't mind.

But when my step mother found out, hell, it wasn't pretty...

Cele said...

Tithing - have I ever mentioned I am pretty much anti organized religion? This is just one of the many reasons.

But the Film Noir was excellent and very image ridden. Totally delightful. Happy Anniversary!

Bishop Rick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bishop Rick said...


That was fantastic...except for the tithing part. If you go to this URL you can hear the General Conference talk on Tithing.


Main points:
Pay Tithing first before other obligations
Not paying tithing, is a transgression
Abraham paid tithing (not sure who he paid it to)

One definition of tithing was the profit from running a business, so if you run your household like a business, you only have to pay tithing on your profit (savings) after expenses.

By my calculations, the Church owes me $532.41

elsvb (that's Elvis spelled sideways..sorta)

Jazzy said...


D. was probably screaming inside, but he showed surprisingly good self control there. He never ceases to amaze me. :) Just imagine the possibilities of the next bonus check!!! Oh the fun that we could have... art supplies, books, art magazines, and lunch!!! Wouldn't that be great!

Sideon said...

Incredible writing, SML. I've got a smile on my face as big as a trucker's at a Vegas whorehouse.


You are one talented woman.


Sister Mary Lisa said...

You guys are all so nice! Every once in awhile I just gotta be creative.

I was thinking today what prompted me to write out my bonus story in film noir style...I decided that it was my way of covering up my embarrassment over the whole episode. I actually feel like an incredible fool for having spent my great bonus this way. I am SO glad my boss didn't ask me what I did with it...I'm not sure what I would've come up with for a lie, and lie I would. There is NO WAY I'd ever tell him how I really spent/treated his bonus to me. Shaking my head until it hurts.

Cele said...

SML a great faux pas, even a really expensive one, is so much better when liberally told in black and white, with great visuals and a smokey sound track. Get all the milage you can out of it.