Every Emergency Contact Sheet Tells A Story

I’m currently temping at a production company in their Human Resources department. My job is to take the paperwork in their employees’ files and input it into their new database. Yes, Hollywood is indeed glamorous. Jealous much?

One of the things I have to input is the emergency contact sheet that the employees fill out. The first thing I noticed is people’s printing and handwriting are atrocious. One woman wrote in this sweeping, swooshy, angular style that was completely illegible. It looked like those pictures you used to stare at where you were supposed to see a sailboat or something in 3D but only ended up getting a headache.

As a matter of fact, most of the employees’ penmanship looks like a stroke victim’s manifesto. Especially their numbers. The fours look like nines, the nines look like fours. The ones and sevens are indistinguishable. I’ll be honest, after awhile I didn’t even bother trying to figure out what the numbers were and just had fun with it. Some people got those 555 phone numbers you see in the movies and on TV. Others, a local adult book store that I’ve never visited but heard that on Fridays if you buy one book you get another of equal or lesser value for free. And a few people got the number of a local pizza joint that I’m pretty sure is a front for the Armenian mafia.

You can learn a lot about a person from their emergency contact sheet. For instance, one man’s file had two emergency contact sheets. It had been over a year since he last worked there (the nature of working in production) so they had him fill out a new one. The old one listed a woman as his fiancée. The current one listed the same woman but this time as his girlfriend. What had changed in the relationship since he last worked here? Was it a generic case of commitment-phobia or something more complicated?

I also couldn’t help but wonder what the woman did to get demoted. More important, why would she stay with the dude after the engagement was called off and still be his girlfriend? Low self-esteem? Daddy issues? Then it occurred to me maybe the woman doesn’t even know she’s been demoted. Maybe she’s wandering around town clueless buying bridal magazines and gorging on free samples of wedding cake.

If that was the case, was it my civic duty to make her aware of the situation? “Hey (name withheld), did you know (name also withheld) didn’t put you down on his emergency contact sheet as his fiancée like he did last time but as his girlfriend? You better get your house in order, girl.”

Another woman listed a man as her “longtime boyfriend” which is denial for “He is never ever going to propose but I’m okay with it.” Do you know what another word is for “longtime boyfriend”? A husband. Ladies, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together. If there’s no ring on your finger and shackles around his ankles, he’s just a boyfriend. No adjective required or needed.

For some reason, whenever a man lists his wife as his first contact and his friend as his second, I can’t help but think the friend is fucking the guy’s wife. The poor schlub goes to work everyday trying to give his wife a good life and she’s giving it to his friend. And you know the friend is probably a lazy bastard who only wants the type of job that doesn’t involve working nine to five.

But then I think, what if it’s the opposite? What if the husband is a total jerk and his friend and wife have a love that’s pure and beautiful? So what if the guy can’t hold down a job? That’s why they make the government cheese.

And what about the wife? Doesn’t she deserve happiness? At least she bypassed the whole cliché of screwing the pool boy. It’s not her fault she has a husband who is an emotionally distant douche. I mean she gives and she gives and she…

You know, it just occurred to me that I might know the reason why I’m not getting as much work done everyday as I probably should be.


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10 thoughts on “Every Emergency Contact Sheet Tells A Story”

  1. Such a simple question who gets called in an emergency. Some people think it’s an honor to be included in the phone chain and others go out of their way to tell people, “Don’t have anyone call me! I don’t like you that much!”

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