“Funnies” from My Files

Cleaning out files and boxes often yields treasures.

I’ve been going through boxes and drawer full of old files lately in preparation for my move later this spring. What I’m finding is an amazing collection of paper that I thought worth saving — and a bunch of stuff I can only classify as junk.


Beekman CartoonWhat I want to share today is what I found in folder labeled “funnies.” They were mostly the kind of jokes that get distributed by email these days. But back in the 1980s, there wasn’t any email — at least not to speak of. Instead, we used copy machines to share the humor with other friends throughout the office. This cartoon is a good example. Someone — maybe even me — whited out the caption and typed in one more appropriate for the workplace. I was a Field Supervisor and I had several whiney people working for me. Beekman was the nearest hospital.

Work ArtOne of the guys I worked with was a bit of an artist and he would sketch out cartoon characters and scenes of coworkers and workplaces. I found a legal sized sheet of paper covered with his doodles. I recognize Larry, Jim, Seymour, and Frank (the big boss) on this sheet. Can’t remember the names of the others.

Also in that folder were a series of cartoons I created when I worked at ADP as an internal auditor in the late 1980s. I started creating these cartoons when we were out on an audit in Mt. Laurel, NJ. There were four of us assigned — twice the usual number. It was too far to drive every day, so we all stayed in the Mt. Laurel Hilton, which was a pit. Joe was our boss. Most of us had nicknames; mine was Spike, because of my hair. The office we were auditing was so screwed up that we couldn’t look at anything without finding problems. After a while, we were worn out and simply didn’t want to keep at it. These two cartoons illustrate the situation. They’re full of inside jokes I can barely remember.

Joe Sent Me

Fishing with Spike

The last cartoon of the series was done a while later, when members of the audit staff were getting jobs elsewhere faster than they could be replaced. It documents the first two to depart.

Joe Sent Me, 2

I wound up going to a different part of the company, where I worked as a financial analyst until I resigned to become a freelance writer. I found my resignation letter, too.


DiskettesA box in the garage was full of outdated computer media, including complete installation diskette sets for Microsoft Word 6 for Mac, Microsoft Office 4.2 for Mac, and Microsoft Office 95 for Windows. I also found (and discarded about 20 100MB ZIP disks, countless diskettes, and even a SCSI cable for an old PowerBook computer. I threw 95% of it away; I just saved a box of data diskettes on the off chance that I can find a device that can read them.

As George Carlin says, “Your house is a pile stuff with a cover on it.”

Throwing away junk is good. It means I’ll have less to unpack when I set up my new home. It also means it’ll be cheaper to move.

I just can’t believe how much stuff I saved — and forgot about — over the years.

4 thoughts on ““Funnies” from My Files

  1. Interesting to learn of your box of nostalgia. I have a similar box, but cannot bring myself to tackle it. I think I’ll throw it away.

    • That’s just ONE folder of nostalgia. I have boxes of this stuff. This one was nice because it was all work-related. I only had a “regular job” for 8 years before I went freelance; I actually miss working in a real workplace. Wish I could do it once a week.

      And you’re right: the best way to tackle it is to just throw it all away.

  2. This post (and George Carlin’s commentary) really resonates with me. The last few times I’ve moved, I put a moving truck and a dumpster side-by-side in the driveway and everything that came out of the house went into one or the other. Every time, the dumpster filled up faster than the moving truck which says something about my stuff and my attachment to it when it’s time to decide (and also my inability to estimate dumpster requirements).

    While I hate moving (mainly because it forces me to make such unpleasant choices), I wish you the best of luck with your move.

    • The last time I moved, I threw out a bunch of stuff, packed, paid movers to move the boxes, arrived, unpacked, and threw away a bunch of stuff. I’m hoping to skip the second throw-away session and pay the movers less.

What do you think?