Photo ID Shows Toll Job Has Taken On Employee

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Vol 40 Issue 19

Halliburton Employee's Pay Docked For Weeks Spent As Hostage

BAGHDAD—Spokesmen for Halliburton International announced Monday that employee Thomas Hamill will not be paid for the three weeks he failed to fulfill his truck-driving duties while being held at gunpoint by Iraqi captors. "While we share your joy in regaining your freedom, we are forced to withhold your wages for the period of April 9 to May 2," read the official corporate reprimand, which reached Hamill in Germany as doctors treated his bullet wound. "A disciplinary slip noting your failure to report to work has been added to your employee file." Halliburton has not yet disclosed the amount Hamill is being charged for structural damage to the company truck he was shot in.

House Inappropriations Committee Suggests Nation's Women Dress A Little Sexier

WASHINGTON, DC—In a policy initiative released Monday, the chairman of the House Inappropriations Committee suggested that the women of America start to dress a little more provocatively. "Why don't they wear some shorter skirts?" U.S. Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) said. "They've got nice legs. They should show 'em off." Young said he could offer American females even more suggestions if Congress would underwrite a fact-finding tour to Miami Beach.

Bathroom Too Disgusting To Shit In

AUSTIN, TX—The men's bathroom at area rock club Emo's was declared too repulsive for the emptying of concertgoer Max Risdy's bowels Saturday night. "The floor was covered with water, there was toilet paper and garbage everywhere, and it smelled disgusting," Risdy said, wincing at the memory Monday. "It was really not the kind of place you want to leave a big pile of digested food matter after squeezing it through your rectum from the depths of your bowels." Risdy added that the area near the music venue's stage was too loud and crowded.

Film-School Graduate Goes Straight To Video-Store Job

SANTA MONICA, CA—The theatrical career of recent USC School of Cinema-Television graduate Neil Hemmitt was put on hold indefinitely as the aspiring director went straight to video-store clerking Monday. "The big studios never gave me a chance," Hemmitt said, as he shelved a Big Fish DVD at Blockbuster. "But it's because they didn't understand me." Hemmitt's producers, Harold and Francine Hemmitt, pulled his financial support in March, after calling his predicament "hardly original."

Sugar Baby

Ever notice how big things happen when you least expect them? You settle into a routine, and you go along like that for years, but then, suddenly, the bottom drops out from under you? I used to think these sort of jolts happened to other people, and not an "old reliable" like me. Not true, it turns out!

Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

Though the Bush Administration apologized for U.S. abuse of Iraqi prisoners, some feel the coalition's reputation has suffered irreparable damage. What do you think?
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  • Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

    ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Photo ID Shows Toll Job Has Taken On Employee

CHARLESTON, SC—Seth Poole's employee-identification card is a revealing indicator of the toll that two years of work at Blue Juice, Inc. has taken on the internal auditor's appearance and overall health, sources close to the 37-year-old revealed Monday.

Poole shows signs of wear not present in his ID from two years ago (below).

"I happened to see Seth's ID sitting on his desk the other day, and I let out a gasp that could be heard across the hall," Blue Juice accountant Joan Brandywine said. "It didn't look like the same person. I thought, 'Dear God, what happened to that young, vibrant man who walked into the May 2002 employee-orientation session?'"

Blue Juice, whose sales topped $50 million last year, is one of the fastest-growing organic-juice brands in the country. Hired by Blue Juice CEO Benjamin Valdavia, Poole said he was initially excited to join the small but rapidly expanding company.

Poole's ID card, however, reveals his growing disillusionment with both Valdavia and Blue Juice. Assigned the task of assisting Valdavia in the expansion of the company's operations in order to ready it for a broader domestic market, Poole said he soon found his job to be "less engaging" than he had originally expected. As evidenced by the ID, over the course of 24 months on the job, Poole was transformed from a boyish-looking 35 to a haggard, sallow 37.

Other Blue Juice staff members who have seen the card attest to Poole's dramatic aging.

Photo ID Shows Toll Job Has Taken On Employee

"That ID shows a man who's excited to be working for a company that offers a high-quality, all-natural product," executive assistant Mandy Keefer said. "That's not really what Seth is like. Not anymore. At our last team meeting, Seth kept repeating that the package redesign we're planning is a big waste of money that the company doesn't have. Then he said, 'I don't know why I even bother coming in to work.' I'll bet he can blame at least a couple of those crow's feet of his on those redesign prototypes."

Keefer estimated that, every time Valdavia says "vision can't be charted on spreadsheets," Poole loses 75 hairs.

"Yesterday, I walked into the breakroom and found Seth leaning over the donuts, picking frosting off a Long John, and mumbling, 'If Ben does his fishing-out-of-his-wastebasket gag one more time, I walk,'" Keefer added. "It wasn't pretty."

Jason Marshall, a security guard in the building where Blue Juice is headquartered, said he was initially confused by the image on Poole's ID card.

"I saw this old guy flashing some young guy's ID, so I stopped him," Marshall said. "Once I saw the photo up close, I could tell it was [Poole]. Man, the last couple years have been hard on that guy."

While Poole seemed unaware of the dramatic change in his appearance, he did report that his health has taken a turn for the worse in recent months. He said he developed a duodenal ulcer earlier this year, shortly after he discovered that Valdavia had extorted cash from the company's 401K matching fund for renovations on his Vermont lake house.

"When I found out [about the embezzlement], I said to him, in a tone of voice you'd reserve for a child, 'Ben, you know this is stealing, right?'" Poole said, his scowl forming deep lines on his forehead. "And he said, 'How was it stealing when I paid it back within a month?' So I asked Ben if he had heard of any of those recent corporate financial scandals, and he answered that those companies were publicly owned, whereas most of his assets are tied up in Blue Juice. He thought that meant he was entitled to borrow from the employee-retirement account fund for personal reasons."

Poole's face has also borne the ravages of his boss' inconsistently implemented "open communication" policy; Valdavia's recent declaration to investors that, unbeknownst to his staff, an IPO was imminent; and his tendency to call Poole into his office for lengthy chit-chats when Poole is about to leave for the night.

Poole's photo ID does not tell the whole story of his decline. The face on his card only hints at the 10 pounds now missing from his once-muscular body.

"I used to go to the gym, but I haven't seen the inside of Gold's since we started on this new distribution structure," Poole said. "I used to eat fairly healthy, too, but I've grown pretty accustomed to snacking on whatever's in the breakroom all day and then grabbing some McDonald's on the way home. I always pair it with a 32-ounce Coke. That's right—sugary, empty-calorie-laden Coke. I refuse to choke down another fucking Blue Juice as long as I live."

Leo Drake, president of Safeguard Solutions, the security-consultant firm that sold Blue Juice its ID-card machine, recommends that companies update their employees' photo IDs annually to prevent a "reverse Dorian Gray" effect.

"Regularly renewed IDs will reflect the subject's likeness with greater accuracy, improving the ID's functionality as a tool for identity verification," Drake said. "In addition, employees won't be confronted every day with proof of their ongoing personal decline."

Drake added: "By no means should employees be allowed to keep their old IDs, lest they make the connection between their workplace struggles and their unnaturally aged appearances."

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