Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

The Hump Day Humor-Gram, September 5, 2007 Issue Number 228

Cruise on by to vote in this month’s
poll: How many fun suckers do you work with? (Yes, I know,
it’s not the most uplifting question, but perhaps if we
start by identifying the fun suckers, we can find them their
very own office somewhere far, far away. . .)
1. Surprise! Another Reason Why Ha + HA = AHA!

According to author and researcher Stefan Klein, happier people
solve problems better and are more creative. One study showed
that when doctors were given a small gift as a surprise treat,
they were able to think more creatively about a strange set of
symptoms and arrive at the diagnosis faster. And when monkeys
(not that I’m comparing doctors to monkeys)are given a steady
diet of apples, then switched to raisins, the monkeys’ brains
fire up wildly due to the surprise. Here’s what’s happening: a
pleasant surprise raises the level of dopamine in our brains,
which in turn activates the prefrontal cortex and working
memory, which is just what we need activated in order to
control attentiveness and juggle different data. According
to Klein, a pleasant surprise makes our thinking more supple.
Dopamine helps us feel more motivated, optimistic and confident
—it’s like a mental lubricant. As many brain researchers have
now pointed out, and as we at the old hump day have so often
suggested: “The brain runs on fun!”
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Try a little “Office Bingo.” You can download bingo cards from, then take a day or week to compete with
teammates to complete the cards by observing random work-related
events such as: printer jam, yawning epidemic, office whistler,
or awkward silence. Better yet, make up your own bingo cards with
oddball events and sightings relevant to your workplace setting.
3. Quote of the Week

“Whatever else a person believes about themselves, he is
absolutely sure he has a sense of humor.” E.B. White
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World

As reported in the journal New Scientist, the University of
Cincinnati has developed software that will help robots
understand and even laugh (“HA HA”) at basic human jokes. The
inventors of the software suggest that this will help make
robots seem friendlier to humans. (Great. Not only do I
now have to worry about my wife not getting my jokes, soon
I’ll be performing for my toaster.)

Happy Hump Day everyone AND happy “Be Late for Something Day!”
(Try not be late for anything too important—the people waiting
for you might not be aware of this very important holiday.)
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2007.

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