The Topic At Hand: This Is A Test

On the afternoon of April 2, 2003 a mysterious document was found crumpled up in the trash bin in the large corner office on the east side of the unoccupied 18th floor of 1440 Broadway New York, NY. The office used to belong to Douglas Tanders, former Executive General Manager of ComaTech Industries, a now defunct infrastructure/data management firm. The document details an account of a secret infiltration of the ComaTech offices in which company issued beverages were tampered with and hidden cameras were installed to record the effects. It serves as one of the few pieces of evidence of an organization called the International Cursory Correlation Institute (ICCI).

From what detectives, scholars, and other interested parties have been able to piece together using this recovered case summary and a select few like it collected over the years, the ICCI was formed at some point prior to 1887 and either was or still is an expert, independent, privately funded non-profit organization that deploys undercover agents to unsuspecting companies, groups, or corporate entities who proceed to implement a trivial change to that entity’s environment, monitor and document subsequent behavior, and make haphazard conclusions regarding the perceived effect of the minor alteration in an effort to raise awareness of the inherent monotony and routine of corporate bureaucracy and ultimately put an end to it.

For those individuals deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the business world the ICCI has taken on the mystique of a secret society, not unlike that of the Cosa Nostra or Skull and Bones. For many years it’s remained a popular topic to discuss in hushed tones over pricy cigars and warmed snifters. CEOs wonder if their kingdom will ever be targeted. Chairmen speculate as to the ramifications of such a breach. Presidents schedule lame company picnics with the hope that it will be enough to keep the spies at bay.

Whether the paranoia is warranted is a matter of debate. At the time of this writing there’s been no tangible, let alone discernible, results from the ICCI, positive or otherwise. If nothing else, perhaps the very prospect of the organization’s presence is enough to harvest hope for workday fluctuation in the heart of the administrative assistant and fear of revolution in the bowels of the powers that be.

The document recovered on the afternoon of April 2nd, 2003 referenced above has been transcribed below. The original has since been lost.

SENSITIVE DOCUMENT!                                                             DO NOT COPY!!

From the desk of the International Cursory Correlation Institute

Infiltrate, Implement, Assume, Advise, Eradicate!!

Case #: A572D84

Target: ComaTech Industries 18th floor 1440 Broadway New York, NY

Background: A thorough review of the target’s history, advertising, and press releases, combined with numerous covert employee interviews led to a 4/10 score in the ICCI Habituality Scale (see below). As a result, the ICCI Assignments & Deployments Bureau deemed ComaTech Industries to be an adequate subject for a Frivolous Enabled Modification (FEM).


1/10: Hyper monotonous (ex. assistant to the assistant manager at an assembly line that creates parts for assembly lines)

2/10: Highly monotonous, brief periods of excitement (ex. VCR repairman)

3/10: More stable than erratic (ex. security guard at JC Penney)

**4/10: Slightly more lethargic than lively (ex. pastry chef at bakery that specialized in sexually suggestive cakes)**

5/10: Neither monotonous nor unique (ex. long-range sniper)

6/10: Neither unique nor monotonous (ex. preacher)

7/10: Slightly more lively than lethargic (ex. member of Bon Jovi)

8/10: More erratic than stable (ex. kindergarten teacher)

9/10: Highly volatile, brief periods of monotony (ex. racecar driver)

1o/10: Hyper volatile (ex. astronaut on solo secret weapons mission)

FEM: “Columbian Blend” flavored coffee replaced with “Robust Roast” in free coffee machine located in break room aka “kitchen area” aka “dinette” aka “by the vending machines”.

Talent: Caseworker Charles G***** (ID 6701), code name “Delta Turbo” assigned to case #A572D84. Delta Turbo will pose as an employee of Vendstar Vending Route (see contractual agreement with VVR) in the role of vending machine stocker. In this role Delta Turbo will switch the coffee flavors and plant hidden surveillance cameras (see contractual agreement with National Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States Government) in strategic locations throughout the 18th floor of ComaTech Industries.

Reported findings:

Employees who partook of the substituted coffee and displayed behavior consistent with work habitats scoring 6 or higher on the ICCI Habituality Scale include but were not limited to:

Bailey, Hank; who ate the leftover lasagna he’d been eyeing in the community fridge for the past 3 days even though it was clearly labeled “Darlene’s lunch”.

Crawford, Paul; who finally gathered the resolve to overlook the NSFW warning and viewed fake topless images of Natalie Portman on his work computer.

Darling, Matthew; who ceased distributing photographs of, making phone calls regarding, and constantly talking about, his cats.

Flackey, Dean; who forgot to shave the right side of his face on the day of his review. His immediate superior, Clyde Cummings, suspecting the uneven facial hair to be a dig at his recent failed attempt to grow a beard, docked him several precious points in the ‘work attitude’ portion of the evaluation form which led to his termination the following day.

Gelman, Darlene; who, unable to locate her lunch in the community fridge, stole a portabella mushroom sandwich from a tray sitting outside conference room A that was meant for the participants of the annual budget meeting.

Herbert, Jonathan; who disappeared.

Mamford, Carla; who did not complain about the temperature in her cubicle for the first time in 36 days which prompted coworker Sheila Perkins to celebrate by getting drunk at lunch.

Mills, Michael; who started recycling all paper products despite numerous prior public announcements regarding his refusal to do so.

Rennenberg, Francene; who has a spontaneous orgasm while walking by the copying machine.

Siefert, Mitch and Stafford, Marie; who were both caught in the narrow hallway by conference room B trying to pass each other. They both said “excuse me” at the same time as Mitch went to the right and Marie to the left, nearly colliding with each other and smashing their Blackberries. Then Marie went left and Mitch went right. They both stood their doing their awkward little dance for a full 45 seconds before Marie finally decided to take a different route to the lunchroom.

Tanders, Douglas; who set a personal best time in minesweeper (difficulty setting medium).

Tramond, Philip; who, having received what he considered an overwhelming positive reaction to his new hotdog tie, vowed to impress his colleagues with a hilarious new tie every Thursday.


Caseworker Charles G***** (ID 6701), code name “Delta Turbo” submitted form 410 at the completion of the assignment to the ICCI Executive Board of Review. While the individual findings ranged from constructive (Ms. Rennenberg’s orgasm) to adverse (Mr. Herbert’s disappearance) it is of the opinion of the ICCI Executive Board of Review that the FEM implemented by Delta Turbo, while virtually undetectable by subjects exposed, had an overwhelming positive effect on the employees of ComaTech Industries and revealed a high potential for further strides in volatility advancement. Furthermore, it is of the opinion of this panel that if the following, more overt, recommendations are implemented, ComaTech stands to improve their ICCI Habituality Score by a full 3 points (from 4 (naughty pastry chef) to 7 (member of Bon Jovi)).

Recommendations include*:

  • Condoning of office supply theft
  • Installation of a fireman’s pole
  • Magic markers mounted to lavatory doors to promote scrawlings of fellow employees strengths and/or weaknesses
  • Use of actual fire in fire drills
  • Transformation of conference room A into a petting zoo
  • Implementation of ‘dress like Dave’ day
  • Front desk personnel and security replaced with magicians and daredevils, respectively
  • Banning of the word “reconvene”
  • Consolidation of all company passwords to a single value of “itcouldbeworse”
  • Free ironic t-shirts for all

*The aforementioned recommendations were sent to senior management at ComaTech Industries via certified mail.

Current Status:

Official response from ComaTech Industries still pending. Will wait 6 – 8 weeks for official company endorsed written response or official company public announcement of adopted recommendation(s). If such time passes without either of the aforementioned notifications, the ICCI Department of Audit & Inspection will deploy Senior Inspector William B*** (ID 8005), code name “Tiger Thermo” for follow-up assessment at which time form A60 will be completed to determine initial success rate of case #A572D84 and possible reassignment.


Preview image by Ian Sane.

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4 responses to “From The Desk Of The I.C.C.I.”

  1. A recent NYTimes article, “How Nonsense Sharpens The Intellect,” is in concurrence with the ICCI's report.

    • rzeroth says:

      Well I'll be. A practical application of Delta Turbo's hard work and of absurdity in general. I find a certain solace in reading that those trained in the ways of the scientific method can also regard nonsense with a straight face.
      Thanks for sharing.

  2. Toney Otey says:

    Helpful piece . I Appreciate the analysis . Does anyone know where my company can access a fillable a form example to fill in ?

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The Author

Rich Zeroth

Rich Zeroth pays his bills by day working at an online publishing company & pursues more creative endeavors on nights & weekends, e.g., stand-up comedy, blogging on the interwebs, and tweeting about owning a mismanaged zoo. His one-man show about faking sick 127 consecutive days of school in 5th grade, titled “Swollen Head”, won the 2005 ECNY (Emerging Comics of New York) Award for best one-person show, and is currently being adapted into a screenplay. He lives with his wife, daughter, and dog in Brooklyn, NY. A complete list of Rich's pieces on Revolving Floor can be found here.

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