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Work Illustrations

  • professorOne of my students could not take my college seminar final exam because of a funeral. "No problem," I told him. "Make it up the following week."

    That week came, and again he couldn't take the test due to another funeral.

    "You'll have to take the test early next week," I insisted. "I can't keep postponing it."

    "I'll take the test next week if no one dies," he told me.

    By now I was suspicious. "How can you have so many people you know pass away in three weeks?" I asked.

    "I don't know any of these people," he said. "I'm the only gravedigger in town."

  • Life saving beltToday's Illustration "An Honest Day's Work" was one I read on www.sermoncentral.com

    The USS Astoria (C-34) was the first U.S. cruiser to engage the Japanese during the Battle of Savo Island, a night action fought the 8th to 9th of August 1942. Although she scored two hits on the Imperial flagship Chokai, the Astoria was badly damaged and sank shortly after noon, on 9th of August.

    About 0200 hours a young Midwesterner, Signalman 3rd Class, Elgin Staples, was swept overboard by the blast when the Astoria's number one eight-inch gun turret exploded. Wounded in both legs by shrapnel and in semi-shock, he was kept afloat by a narrow life belt that he managed to activate with a simple trigger mechanism.

  • store hardwareOn Houston Street, a young priest saw a large sign over a hardware store: PINCUS AND O'TOOLE, and went in, to be greeted by man with a beard and yarmulke.

    The priest smiled, "I just wanted to come in and tell you how wonderful it is to see that your people and mine have become such good friends - even partners. That's a surprise!"

    "I've got a bigger surprise," sighed the old man. "I'm O'Toole."

  • fireplaceWe cannot all be famous 
    or be listed in "Who's Who",
    But every person, great or small,
    has important work to do.

    For seldom do we realize
    the importance of small deeds,
    Or to what degree of greatness
    unnoticed kindness leads.

  • restaurant mealMy husband, Michael, and I were at a restaurant with his boss, a rather stern older man. When Michael began a tale, which I was sure he had told before, I gave him a kick under the table. There was no response, so I gave him another poke. Still the story went on. Suddenly he stopped, grinned and said, "Oh, but I've told you this one before, haven't I?"

    We all chuckled and changed the subject. Later, on the dance floor, I asked my husband why it had taken him so long to get my message.

  • store signWhen a man pulled two guns on convenience store clerk Wazir Jiwi and demanded money, Jiwi asked how much he wanted for one of the guns. He said $100, which Jiwi paid him. Then Jiwi offered to buy the second gun. The robber handed it over, grabbed the cash and headed for the exit. But Jiwi had pushed a button under the counter that automatically locked the door.

    "The thief turned to me and asked what was going on," Jiwi says. "I told him to bring the money back and I would let him go. He brought the money back, and I opened the door."

  • dog lazyOne day at the veterinarian's office where I take my dog,  the receptionist and a man were verbally sparring with one another. After a few tense moments, a technician came to her co-worker's defense.

    "Sir," she interjected, "are you aware of what happens to aggressive males in this office?"

  • bike pumpWaiting for an elevator at a local hospital, I was standing next to a maintenance person holding a bicycle pump.

    Noticing my curious stares, he looked at me and remarked with a smile, "It's the newest HMO oxygen program."

  • restaurant signAt a diner, I was standing in line to pay my bill behind two women who handed the young waitress a credit card.

    After swiping the card, she loudly called out to her manager, "Mr. Allen, what do I do if it says 'reject'?"

    As the women's faces reddened and customers turned to look, Mr. Allen, also the cook, calmly walked out from the kitchen.

    "Well," he answered, "the first thing you do is shout it out loud enough to embarrass the customer, who might have been thinking about leaving you a tip."

  • restaurant boothMy husband and I had gone to a restaurant with friends. When the hostess led us to a circular booth, we noticed the vinyl seat was covered with crumbs and asked if it could be cleaned off.

    The young woman sat down at one end of the booth, slid around to the other side, then sprang up with a smile as she asked, "Did I get it all?"

  • bellsA minister well known for his beautiful singing voice came home visibly upset after consulting with a new widow about funeral plans for her recently deceased husband. His wife asked him what was wrong, and he revealed that the wife had asked him to sing her husband's favorite song, "Jingle Bells," at the funeral.

    He was troubled that it wasn't appropriate to the solemn occasion. He struggled and prayed about it, and finally decided to honor the grieving widow's wishes.

  • What a farmer might do if he won 10 million dollars.I saw an interview on TV with an old farmer who won ten million dollars in the lottery.

    Naturally he was asked what he was going do with all that money.

    He scratched his head and said, "Not sure as I know right off. Guess I'll keep farmin' till it's all gone."

  • woman cleaningI don't do windows because...
    I love birds and don't want one to run into a clean window and get hurt.

    I don't wax floors because...
    I am terrified a guest will slip and get hurt then I'll feel terrible ( plus they may sue me.)

    I don't mind the dust bunnies because...
    They are very good company; I have named most of them, and they agree with everything I say.

  • tax returnThe owner of a small deli was being questioned by the IRS about his tax return. He had reported a net profit of $80,000 for the year.

    "Why don't you people leave me alone?" the deli owner said. "I work like a dog, everyone in my family helps out, and the place is closed only three days a year. And you want to know how I made $80,000?"

    "It's not your income that bothers us," the agent said. "It's these deductions. You listed six trips to Bermuda for you and your wife."

    "Oh, that," the owner said, smiling. "I forgot to tell you - we also deliver."

  • dad daughterI had always talked about my job a lot at home, and my young daughter had always expressed great interest. So I thought it would be a treat for her to spend the day with me at the office. Since I wanted it to be a surprise, I didn't tell her where we were going, just that it would be fun.

    Although usually a bit shy, she seemed excited to meet each colleague I introduced. On the way home, however, she seemed somewhat down.

    "Didn't you have a nice time?" I asked.

    "Well, it was okay," she responded, "but I thought it would be more like a circus."

    Confused, I asked, "Whatever do you mean?"

    She said, "Well, you said you work with a bunch of clowns, and I never got to see them!"

  • smoking2A man sees another leaning against the wall of a large building. The second man is puffing away, one cigarette after another.

    The nonsmoker says, "Sir, I couldn't help noticing how you chain-smoke. How many packs do you smoke a day?"

    "Four."

    "How long have you been smoking?"

  • office womanWhen I take a long time, I am slow.
    When my boss takes a long time, he is thorough.

    When I don't do it, I am lazy.
    When my boss doesn't do it, he's too busy.

    When I do it without being told, I'm trying to be smart.
    When my boss does the same, that is initiative.

  • coffee cupTwo lawyers walk into a restaurant. They put their briefcases on the floor and order two coffees. They get their coffee and pull out lunches from their briefcases.

    "Sorry," the waitress says, "You can`t eat your own food here."

    The lawyers look at one another, shrug their shoulders and swap sandwiches.

  • floorOur bathroom is in the back of the house and it's difficult to hear if someone is on the property to conduct inspections, maintenance or even to visit.

    One morning while getting ready for work, and thinking I was the only one at home, I kept hearing something crawl around under my bathroom floor. Thinking that somehow the neighbor's cat had gotten under the house, I began stomping the floor hard and shouting at the top of my lungs, "Get out of there!" and "Stop that!"

    Finally, the moving stopped so I finished getting ready and left for work.

  • phone handheldOne of my duties as church secretary is to answer the phone and refer calls. The telephone rang one day with an urgent caller on the other end. He needed to talk to the senior pastor.

    I quietly opened his office door to find him praying. I returned to the phone and politely told the caller,

    "I'm sorry. He's in conference long distance."

  • balloons2The staff at a business office was hosting a farewell luncheon for a retiring colleague. As the group prepared to go to the restaurant, they found that they couldn't fit the giant balloon they had purchased for the retiring 'guest of honor' into the car. Undaunted, they simply held the balloon out the window as they drove.

    The office workers were not prepared for the glares they received from passers-by, however.

    As the long line of traffic in front of their vehicle began to turn, they saw that their car was right behind a long funeral procession.

    There was nothing they could do but hold on to the balloon with its large farewell message: "GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN."

  • bankA RETIRED Navy admiral, my father began a second career working in a bank. One morning, while he prepared his desk for the day, he was approached by a young officer from the nearby Naval base.

    "Sorry, but this department isn't open yet," Dad said.

    "But it's nine o'clock!" protested the officer.

    My father didn't look at his watch. Instead, he surveyed his customer's uniform.

    "Ensign," he snapped, "I'll decide when it's nine o'clock!"

  • post it notesOne of our co-workers went missing for a few hours, and we tore up the place looking for him. The boss finally found him fast asleep. Rather than wake him, he quietly placed a note on the man's chest...

    "As long as you're asleep," it read, "you have a job. But as soon as you wake up, you're fired!"

  • barracksRod and one of his fellow soldiers were assigned to wax the floors of their barracks. They'd heard that if they got the wax really hot, it would just glide across the floor, cutting their labor time in half. Unfortunately, as they were heating the can of wax with a cigarette lighter, it caught on fire, setting off alarms and attracting firetrucks, ambulances and the police.

    Rod had to report to his sergeant's office immediately. Assuming he was in big trouble, he took a deep breath as he faced his superior. But before Rod could say a word, the sergeant simply muttered,

    "Been there, done that.

    You're free to go."

  • roadOnce a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to have a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway the best.

  • stormThunderstorms had rolled through the region, knocking out power temporarily to some of the stores of this supermarket chain. So when a help desk technician got an emergency page from one store, he figured he knew how to handle it.

    Turns out it was not that easy. "When I called the store, a somewhat dippy cashier answered the phone," he says. "The cash registers were all off-line, and when I gave her what I thought were simple instructions to restart the registers, she was having trouble understanding."

  • shovel2The boss ordered one of his men to dig a hole eight feet deep. After the job was completed the boss returned and explained an error had been made and the hole wouldn't be needed.

    "Fill 'er up," he ordered.

    The worker did as he'd been told. But he ran into a problem. He couldn't get all the dirt packed back into the hole without leaving a mound on top. He went to the office and explained his problem.

    The boss snorted, "Honestly! The kind of help you get these days! There's obviously only one thing to do. You'll have to dig that hole deeper!"