Let’s Finish the Month With . . .

Let’s Finish the Month With . . .

We started this month with an April Fool’s joke – lets finish it with a few more jokes.

Below are a group of jokes, mostly about management, the office, and working hours, etc., all related to lighthouse work in a way. A lot have been adapted from other jokes. Authors are mostly unknown, or they won’t come forward! Enjoy!

Tools of a Lighthouse Keeper

Q. What are a lightkeeper’s two best friends? A. Duct tape and WD-40.

If it moves and shouldn’t, use the duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use the WD-40.


New Rules for Government Employees

Dress Code

It is advised that you dress according to your salary.

If we see you leaving on holidays wearing fancy shoes and carrying an Eddie Bauer bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise. If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better, so that you may buy nicer clothes, and therefore you do not need a raise. If you dress just right, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Sick Days

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to go to work.

Personal Days

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday. In the case of lighthouse keepers, as you have no place to go, you might as well work them.

Bereavement Leave

This is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in writing to the office for a future date.

Toilet Use

Entirely too much time is being spent in the toilet. There is now a strict three-minute time limit. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper roll will retract, the door will open, and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board in the office under the “Chronic Offenders category”. Anyone caught smiling in the picture will be sanctioned under the company’s mental health policy.

Lunch Break

Skinny people can take 30 minutes for lunch, as they need to eat more, so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Chubby people get 5 minutes for lunch, because that’s all the time needed to drink a Slim-Fast.

Thank you for your loyalty to our department. We are here to provide a positive employment experience. Therefore, all questions, comments, concerns, complaints, frustrations, irritations, aggravations, insinuations, allegations, accusations, contemplations, consternation and input should be directed elsewhere.


The Lightkeeper’s Lament

Why am I s-o-o-o-o tired? For a couple years I’ve been blaming it on lack of sleep, not enough sunshine, too much pressure from my job, bad eyesight, poor blood or anything else I could think of but now I have found the real reason – I’m tired because I’m overworked!

I finally figured out why:

The population of this country is 34 million. 17.5 million are retired. That leaves 16.5 million to do the work.

There are 11.5 million in school, which leaves 5 million to do the work.

Of this there are 3.75 million employed by the federal government, leaving 1.25 million to do the work.

350,000 are in the armed forces which leaves 900,000 to do the work.

Take from the total the 850,000 people who work for provincial and city governments and that leaves 50,000 to do the work.

At any given time there are 23, 500 people in hospitals leaving 26, 500 to do the work.

Now there are 26, 498 people in prisons.

That leaves just two people to do the work.

You and me!

And there you are sitting on your butt at your computer reading the Internet!

Nice! Real nice!


Quotes & Buzz Words . . .


They treat us like mushrooms – they keep us in the dark and feed us bullshit.

If all else fails then read instructions.

We know that communication is a problem, but the management is not going to discuss it with the lightkeepers.

Quote from the Boss: “Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say.”

If you can stay calm, while all around you is chaos then you probably haven’t completely understood the seriousness of the situation.

Doing a job right the first time gets the job done. Doing the job wrong fourteen times gives you job security.

Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

If at first you don’t succeed, try management.

Teamwork means never having to take all the blame yourself.

Hang in there, retirement is only thirty years away!

Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.

Indecision is the key to flexibility.

Succeed in spite of management.

Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.

Some people climb the ladder of success. Some walk under it.

Buzz Words

Seagull Manager: A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, and then leaves.

Chainsaw Consultant: An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee headcount, leaving the top brass with clean hands.

Assmosis: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.


Want to Be a Lighthouse Keeper?

For those of you who always wondered what living on a lighthouse was like, here’s a way to simulate this while living at home:

1. Tell all your friends and family they cannot contact you. Your only means of communication should be with letters that your neighbours have held for at least three weeks, discarding two of five and including letters destined for addresses on the other side of town.

2. Select only one completely unknown person or family off the street to come and live with you as a neighbour. Make sure they have noisy kids or dogs.

3. Unplug all radios and TVs to completely cut yourself off from the outside world. Have a neighbour bring you randomly a Time, Newsweek, or local newspaper from months ago to keep you abreast of current events.

4. Monitor all home appliances hourly, recording all vital information (ie: plugged in, lights come on when doors open, etc)

5. Do not flush the toilet for five days to allow you to get used to the smell caused by water conservation in the summer months.

6. Wear only rubber boots, jeans and coveralls. Wear hard hat and rubber gloves for all projects.

7. Let your hair grow until it is long and unruly. No barber or hairdresser for at least eleven months.

8. Work in 3-hour cycles, and at the end of each cycle turn on the radio and listen to the CNN radio weather forecast.

9. Listen to your favourite CD 6 times a day for two weeks, then play music that causes acute nausea until you are glad to get back to your favourite CD.

11. Make sure your house is situated so your neighbours can see everything you do when the drapes are opened. Close proximity and lack of privacy makes for good neighbours.

12. Have week old fruit and vegetables delivered to your garage and eat all in the first week. Wait three or more weeks for more to arrive.

13. Prepare all meals on a small gas, or oil camping stove, or electric hotplate.

14. Periodically shut off all power at the main circuit breaker and run around shouting “powers off” and then restore power.

15. At least once a month, force the toilet to overflow to simulate a septic tank backup.

16. Study the owner’s manual for all household appliances. Routinely take an appliance apart and put it back together.

17. Use fresh milk for only two days after each delivery. The rest is frozen.

18. Ensure that the water heater is connected to a pump that provides water at a flow rate that varies from a fast drip to a weak trickle, with the temperature alternating rapidly from -2C to 95C.

19. Repaint the interior of your home every year, whether it needs it or not.

20. Remind yourself every day: “it’s not just a job, it’s an adventure!”

21. Add salt and a handfull of dirt to your coffee pot to simulate the taste of fresh rainwater off a dirty roof. Watch how it turns your coffee pot grey.

22. Mix diesel with your water to simulate the delivery of fresh water from the ship in dry summer months.

23. Stand outside at at dawn in the pouring rain and wind and try to see and name the clouds above you.

24. Every three hours check the fluid level in your car’s radiator. Check the tire pressure and replace air lost from excessive pressure checks. Be sure to place red tag on ignition stating “DANGER: DO NOT OPERATE” while you perform these checks. Inform your neighbor as to the results of these checks. Have him tell you to repeat the checks because he did not see you perform them.

25. Paint your house exterior white, roof red, basement grey. Include windows, except for rooms you do not frequent. Paint your car white or red. Paint your driveway a shade of grey.

26. Sit down to dinner then get up and answer the phone. Run outside no matter what time or weather and look at those damned clouds again. Run back inside and tell the telephone. Sit down to a cold dinner.

27. Shut all blinds and doors at sunset as the lights will interfere with your neighbour viewing the damned clouds.

28. Clean your house ’till there’s absolutely not a speck of dust anywhere. Wait for a stranger to come to inspect your house. Ensure the stranger sees dust that has collected in the time it took for he/she to come. Stranger cannot leave until he/she finds an irrational fault with your house/belongings.

29. Once a month write out a list of groceries and supplies that you want.

30. When delivered, check all against a copy of the list. 50% arrival is a good. Wait one month for the rest to come.

31. Plan your escape date from the house. Make hotel reservations. Wait five days past this date for the transportation with your relief to arrive, meanwhile still checking those damned clouds and cursing a lot.


 The Rules


THE RULES are subject to change at any time without prior notification.

No ASSISTANT KEEPER can possibly know all THE RULES.

If the SENIOR KEEPER suspects the ASSISTANT KEEPER knows all THE RULES, he must immediately change some or all THE RULES.

The SENIOR KEEPER is never wrong.

If the SENIOR KEEPER is wrong, it is due to a misunderstanding which was a direct result of something the ASSISTANT KEEPER did or said wrong.

The ASSISTANT KEEPER must apologize immediately for causing such misunderstanding.

The SENIOR KEEPER may change his mind at any time.

The ASSISTANT KEEPER must never change his mind without the express written consent of the SENIOR KEEPER.

The SENIOR KEEPER has every right to be angry or upset at any time.

The ASSISTANT KEEPER must remain calm at all times unless the SENIOR KEEPER wants him to be angry and/or upset.

The ASSISTANT KEEPER is expected to mind read at all times.

The SENIOR KEEPER is ready when he is ready.

The ASSISTANT KEEPER must be ready at all times.

Any attempt to document THE RULES could result in verbal abuse.

The ASSISTANT KEEPER who doesn’t abide by THE RULES is dismissed.



Employee Evaluation Reports

Over the years as principal keeper I had many wonderful assistant and relief keepers and still keep in touch with many of them since retirement. One of the hardest jobs was writing the Assesment Report. If the keeper was good and could be recommended it was a relatively easy job, but if there were problems, then writing the report became a challenge in creativity so that the truth got out but persons were not offended, . . .

But oh what a delight it would have been to use some of these comments:

“Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.”

“People would follow him anywhere, but only out of morbid curiosity.”

“I would not allow this employee to breed.”

“This assistant is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definitely won’t be.”

“Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.”

“When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change whichever foot was previously in there.”

“He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.”

“This young lady has delusions of adequacy.”

“He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”

“This employee should go far – and the sooner he starts, the better.”

“This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.”


A Day Off Work

As lighthouse keepers we were on call seven (7) days a week, twenty-four (24) days a year all year round (365 days) and look what happened when I wrote and asked for a day off work!

So you want a day off work? Let’s take a look at what you are asking for. There are 365 days per year available for work. There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have 2 days off per week because we are not available to supervise you, leaving 261 days available for work.

In an 8 hour work day you spend 16 hours each day away from work sleeping and eating, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available.

You spend 30 minutes each day on a coffee break which counts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available.

With a 1 hour lunch each day, you used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work.

You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave. This leaves you only 20 days per year available for work.

You are credited with 5 federal holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days.

We generously give 14 days vacation per year which leaves only 1 day available for work and I’ll be darned if you are going to take that day off!


Letter of Refused Refusal!

Years ago (1970s) we used to supply the office once a year with a list of lightstations we would like to be promoted to if they happened to come open. This promotion was based on merit and length of time as a lighthouse keeper.

Just recently (2005) the government started having written examinations to single out keepers for promotion. As a keeper could apply for only one station per exam, he would later receive a personal message saying that he had won or been rejected for the competition. In a year he could apply for more than one station so these rejection messages became quite common based on his abilities and length of service.

Finally the number of refusals became too much for one lighthouse keeper as can be seen by the following letter:

Canadian Coast Guard,
Victoria, BC
September 12, ____

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your message of September 9th. After careful consideration I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment at my requested lighthouse.

This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of lighthouses it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite the department’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet my needs at this time. Therefore I will initiate employment at the aforementioned lighthouse immediately on the first of next month. I look forward to working with you at that location. Please arrange transportation for myself and family.




How Many Lightkeepers Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?

Nobody knows. Lightkeepers don’t last as long as light bulbs.

None. They like to keep everybody in the dark.

None. Lightkeepers never change light bulbs, because someone might be on the ocean who wants to sit in the dark.

None. Lightkeepers don’t change bulbs; they just report the change to the office who will then send out a technician.

None. Lightkeepers never see the light anyway.

None, but a lightkeeper does watch two lamp techs while they screw in the light bulb. One assures the lightkeeper that everything possible is being done while the other lamp tech screws the bulb into a water faucet.

None, but the lightkeeper gets copies of all the minutes of all the meetings from the office, which last year passed a resolution to change the light bulb. The topic was resumed from last week’s discussion, but is incomplete pending resolution of some action items. It will be continued next week. Meanwhile . . .

None. According to the press coverage, there never WAS any light bulb.

One, but only if he can find “light bulbs” in the government supply catalogue.

Just one. She grabs the bulb and waits for the world to revolve around her.

Only one. Lightkeepers don’t like to share the spotlight.

One, after reflecting in the twilight for several weeks on the merit of the previous bulb.

Two – one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

Three – one to find a bulb specialist, one to find a bulb installation specialist, and one to write the story about it.


Company Policy

We always wondered what made the office tick. Now we know that they did not know either!

Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result — all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.

Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that’s the way it’s always been done around here.

And that, my friends, is how company policy begins. . .


Exceptional Lightkeeper

There was a lightkeeper who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving the Coast Guard loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired.

Several years later the Coast Guard contacted him regarding a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar automated lighthouses. They had tried everything and everyone else to get the problem fixed, but to no avail. In desperation, they called on the retired lightkeeper who had solved so many of their problems in the past.

The lightkeeper reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge problem. At the end of the day, he marked a small “x” in chalk on a particular component of the machinery and proudly stated, “This is where your problem is”.

The part was replaced and the lighthouse worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the lightkeeper for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges. The lightkeeper responded briefly: One chalk mark $1.00. Knowing where to put it $49,999.00. It was paid in full and the lightkeeper retired again in peace.


All Is Lost In . . .

A priest, a lawyer and an lightkeeper are about to be guillotined. The priest puts his head on the block, they pull the rope and nothing happens. He declares that he’s been saved by divine intervention, so he’s let go.

The lawyer is put on the block, and again the rope doesn’t release the blade. He claims he can’t be executed twice for the same crime and he is set free too.

They grab the lightkeeper and shove his head into the guillotine. He waits and waits and then they release him. Sorry! We can do nothing! All the paperwork is lost in the office, along with your pay cheque, last years requisitions, station records . . .


Lightkeeper Beliefs

Lightkeepers believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Coast Guard engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.


Good Deal

The principal lightkeeper was standing at the water’s edge one day when his assistant returned from picking up the mail. He had left on a passing fishboat and was now returning in a brand new shiny aluminum boat.

“Where did you get such a boat?” , asked the principal.

The assistant replied “Well, we arrived at the wharf in town when a beautiful woman came by and pulled into the dock in this boat. She pulled up beside us and threw me a line, took off all her clothes and said “‘Take what you want.”

The principal nodded approvingly “Good choice! The clothes probably wouldn’t have fit.”


Job Interview

A business man was interviewing applicants for the position of divisional manager. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable person for the job. He asked each applicant the question, “What is two and two?”

The first interviewee was a journalist. His answer was “Twenty-two.”

The second applicant was an engineer. He pulled out a slide rule and showed the answer to be between 3.999 and 4.001.

The next person was a lawyer. He stated that in the case of Jenkins v Commr of Stamp Duties, two and two was proven to be four.

The last applicant was a lighthouse keeper. The business man asked him, “How much is two and two?” The lighthouse keeper got up from his chair, went over to the door and closed it then came back and sat down. He leaned across the desk and said in a low voice…. “How much do you want it to be?” He got the job


A Couple of Groaners for the Kids

Q. What do you call a lighthouse with the lights turned off?

A. A dark house.

Q. At night a man turns out the light and goes to bed. The next day he loses
his job. Why did he lose his job?

A. He was a lighthouse keeper and he turned out the light the night before!

– Authors unknown, thank heavens!



˙ǝsnoɥʇɥbıן ɐ uı pǝʌıן ǝsnןɔǝɹ ǝɥʇ


Weather reports were a very important part of our job. A lot of time was spent on keeping instruments working because of high winds in winter storms.One of these instruments was the Anemometer (wind speed and direction instrument). This report just came in:

At the height of the south-east gale, Coast Guard Radio called a lighthouse keeper and asked him for the wind speed. He replied he was sorry but he didn’t have an anemometer in working order. Well please estimate the wind speed for me the radio operator replied. The lightkeeper said that he would try, but if it was any help the wind had just blown his pickup off the cliff.



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Retired (2001) British Columbia lighthouse keeper after 32 years on the lights.

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