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Mrs. Puff

Watching a popular cartoon with my three-year-old son the other day made me think of my first job out of college. I was hired to serve an eccentric millionaire as his personal assistant. I spent days and far too many evenings scribbling notes detailing my bossís ideas to multiply his fortune. Instead of earning time-and-a-half for my extra hours, my boss invented creative ways to reward me for my donated time.

To celebrate my third anniversary in his office, my boss decided to hold a raffle for a day on his boat. The raffle was open to all of his employees. Being the only person on his payroll, I figured I had a pretty good chance of winning as he drew the lucky contestantís entry out of his literal hat. And I was right! I won!

The day before I was due to ride around the local lake with my boss, he was called out of town to attend a funeral. Apparently a prospective investor had suffered a heart attack while reading my bossís proposal to start a ďStop by for SímoreĒ dessert restaurant chain and my boss wanted to pay his respects. Before leaving, he asked me to sign a short term insurance policy authorizing me to drive his car while towing the boat to the lake.

I'd have been better off going by taxi; I could have got cheap taxi insurance at

With the short term car insurance cover in place, I dropped my boss off at the airport, picked up my friend and my bossís boat and headed to the lake. After watching me struggle to back the boat down the ramp for thirty minutes, an observer successfully launched the boat. The kind gentleman said heíd be at the dock at 5:30p.m. to help me get the boat out of the water. Offering my sincerest thanks, I assured him Iíd meet him then.

Behind the wheel of the vessel, it occurred to me that neither I nor Cindy had ever driven a boat. I wondered if the short term insurance covered accidents on the lake. I began to sweat thinking about it and narrowly missed running aground on a shoal. When I began to shake from fear, Cindy handed me a cold beer. Four drinks later, I knew we were fine for the short term, until we had to get the boat out of the water.

At 5:25p.m., I saw the kind stranger I had met in the morning. I pulled the boat alongside the dock, disembarked and got my bossís car. Handing the car keys over to the skilled driver, I again assumed captaining the boat and prepared to set the boat atop its lengthy trailer. From the car, the stranger yelled something. I leaned forward to hear what he was shouting, resting on top of the accelerator. The boat sped forward. Unfortunately, my bossís car stopped the boatís progress.

With the nose of the boat in the back seat of my bossís car, I met the insurance agent who had written the short term policy on the ramp a few hours later alone; Cindy and the stranger, her current husband, had abandoned me. I tried to explain what happened, but couldnít. When I relayed the series of events to my boss upon his return, he suggested that a cartoon character would serve as a better captain than I had. Years later, enjoying my sonís favorite show, I have come to accept my current job as a driving school instructor.

Copyright 2007