Thursday, October 20, 2011

St. Rex, Patron of Signatories

[I was browsing through my old Facebook notes – the ancestors of this blog – when I came upon this story which had my late colleague Rowena Magsumbol, the Litel Gel, bent over in laughter. Once upon a time, my life revolved around signing checks and perusing documents as tall as me – each day ‘yun ha.

Whatever other people say about management styles, I will be blunt and brazen by saying that the way I did things was the right way. It was what I was hired to do and it was and always will be a desk job. Had I micromanaged or procrastinated that would have been tantamount to being something of a sclerosis to operations.

These days, I lazily look back at the life I had – if I can call it that – and just be thankful to the good Lord that I survived and that I eventually got away. It would eventually have killed me. To be fair, I worked with some of the most pleasant people in the world and no matter how hard the work was, there was always something to laugh about in each and every passing day. Such as this story…]

Cute! The Mancs won their 3rd Champions League title. Gregg, a member of the Chelski hordes, sent in a text message early in the morning about the result. Tsamba! he lamented.

Why he would seek sympathy from me, a life-long Liverpool fan, is something best answered by Gregg. “All I can say,” I replied, “is that the Mancs will have to win it two more times to equal the record of the Mighty Reds of Liverpool.”

A college teammate was text-ing half the night asking the time of the game, what channel, would it be live blah-blah-blah… Would I be watching? I would be sleeping soundly, I replied. Which sound-minded Liverpool fan would want to watch the Mancs against the Londoners?

I did not tell him, though, that I would probably find more interest in a line of clothes drying in the wind.

Strangely enough, for somebody who bid me goodnight so he could catch the match live, this college teammate of mine was, instead, text-ing me again mid-morning asking what the result was. He slept as soundly as I did. And woke up later.

I woke up at 5:30, early enough to catch the penalty shootout. I took the greatest satisfaction from seeing that master showoff Cristiano Ronaldo miss his kick. The satisfaction was short-lived after seeing John Terry’s and then Anelka’s misses. What old ladies, those two!


It was a looooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggg day!!!

The Litel Gel at FHPD sent me a truckload of checks to sign. One day I will be St. Rex, Patron of Check Signatories. They will carve a marble statue of me wearing blue jeans and a collared shirt, with a sign pen in my right hand and my left arm raised, an RCBC check between my fingers!

When I finally closed my office just after five, there was only one way to describe how I felt: dazed. I walked around Rob like a headless chicken, instinctively seeking out Pangga’s for a quick meal rather than queuing up at KFC to be kept waiting by one of the three diches on duty in the early evening.

Destined as I am to become the Patron of Check Signatories, I cannot blemish my record by killing a KFC counter crew member…


I never – as in never – signed a check without my knowing what I was signing. Technically, I was really supposed to simply affix my signature to each check because the process took several desks and each was supposed to have screened the attached documents. People are not fallible, of course; and because of the routine nature of administration, sometimes those in the requisitions processing business just routinely glance at papers.

That was why I would, as a matter of course, give each set of checks and attached documentation the once-over before signing. I derived almost perverse satisfaction from actually finding something amiss; although, in fairness, these were few. There were two incidents that can still bring smiles to my lips even these days whenever I recall these.

The first one was when I was new to executive management. There was a check addressed to Juliet Sumcad, one of the Religion teachers of the Integrated School. I examined the attached documents and noticed that the original requisition was a coaching payment for Juliet’s wife Rosel. Maybe Juliet thought Rosel had not been handing in the checks and asked somebody from finance to address it to her, who knows? I laughed at the thought and then called to have the check reprinted.

There was this other check – a significant amount – which was addressed to the Mary Mediatrix Hospital. I cannot explain it really; but there was something about erroneously prepared checks that always seemed to cry out for my attention. This check was one of those. As I perused the documentation, I was confused because the original requisition asked for a payment to Medix – rather than Mediatrix – Hospital. My former secretary Von and I still laugh about the incident because he was still calling the College of Nursing when I became impatient, bolted from off my chair and made the short trip to the next building to inquire.

[This story was first published on Facebook on 22 May 2008. The addendum I wrote just tonight to add a bit more flavour to the story.]

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