Mirth Management

Mistakes can be brilliant.

It’s reported that the electric light bulb’s unique shape is the result of Thomas Edison accidentally dropping a screwdriver on an early light bulb, knocking it out of its original shape and causing it to burn more brightly and with increased power.

Mistakes can be less than brilliant.

When Coca-Cola first entered the Chinese market, the bottles were embossed with Chinese characters that represented the sounds of “Coca-Cola,” but which actually meant “Bite the wax tadpole.”

The Daytona Beach International Airport has begun awarding 500 frequent flier miles to funeral directors for every dead body shipped out of the struggling airport. “We’re going to put this airport back on the map if it kills us,”¬†according to one councilman.

This is the 21st century version of the outlaw posse in the Wild West! Taxi cab drivers have been deputized by the local Sheriffs’ Departments to assist in searching for stolen cars in Anchorage. A lucrative part-time opportunity and successful program, the drivers receive rewards from $100-$500.

Southwest Airlines has ugly airplanes, even CEO Herb Kelleher agrees. “Most passengers recognize our planes because they don’t like our paint schemes,” he admits. “A lot of other airlines are faceless.” That’s a true optimist for you, finding the hidden beauty in harvest gold and burnt orange.

Sacramento County Office of Education Superintendent David Meaney has unusual business cards. On the front is all the usual stuff, but on the back is a mini customer satisfaction survey, asking how his office treated you. Of course, he always hands out two cards at a time!

Humor as a hostility diffuser is nothing new. When Abraham Lincoln was accused of being two-faced by a heckler, he was said to respond, “If I’m two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

Are funny employees born or can they be trained? Western Pacific gives its flight attendants a full day of training on game playing, and Carnival Cruise Lines sends trainees to a three-hour class in comedy improvisation.
It’s a sweet fact of life. Staff and colleagues visit managers who keep a jar of candy on their desks more often. Valuable informal communication can result. Does that make those M&Ms deductible?

Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana, offers books, games, videos and audiotapes through its Library of Life, Love, and Laughter. Integris Health’s Oklahoma City hospital has visiting clowns, a humor video library, and MIRTH, a 25-bed unit devoted to lightheartedness.

Martha Driver, a librarian in East Cleveland, hit on a novel way to save money on moving 60 tons of books to a new library building. She persuaded the editor of the local newspaper to run a feature story about a special offer. Book lovers could draw out an unlimited number of books, keep them all summer, and then return them in September to the new library.

Every Thursday afternoon, selected employees of Hallmark Cards go to the movies. The company screens cartoons, Laurel and Hardy, or the Three Stooges in order to help its writers and artists think creatively.