Congratulations on your exciting new job with the mayor of Toronto—and welcome to City Hall! Have you quit yet? No? Good, just checking.
As a new employee, you’re likely to have many questions about working in the office of Rob Ford—questions like, “Where is the washroom?” and, “How will I ever again look at myself in the mirror?” Relax. First-day jitters and grave doubts about the integrity of your moral compass are normal!
This orientation guide will bring you up to speed on everything you need to know about being a staffer for Mayor Rob Ford and pretending that’s OK.
The first rule: Verb tenses are very important in Rob Ford’s office. For instance, the mayor is on record as saying, “I do not use crack cocaine.” Note that he did not say, “I have never used crack cocaine.” With that in mind, we’d like to officially welcome you on board and say, “You are not regretting this decision for the rest of your career.”
Here’s some general information you may find handy:
- The mayor is not a fictional character. We want to be upfront about that. A lot of people seem surprised when they find out.
- Employees of the mayor are expected to be at work in time for the 9 a.m. meeting. Did you bring doughnuts? The new guy usually brings doughnuts to the 9 a.m. meeting. (The meeting is to eat the doughnuts.)
- New employees are obligated to watch a training video that provides insight into the effects of Mayor Ford’s leadership on the city of Toronto. The video is the 1998 blockbuster Deep Impact. The mayor is the comet.
- Shirtlessness in the mayor’s office is at all times frowned upon. (Exceptions: shirtless Fridays, summer weekdays, shirts vs. skins food fights, post-lunch mustard-stain issues, Fight Club, extreme itchiness, mild itchiness, “forgot shirt,” annual spring Pink Belly tournament, double dares.)
- According to protocol, Mayor Ford is to be referred to as “Your Worship” or “Sir.” The mayor prefers to address his employees by a nickname he himself assigns. That nickname is always “Peckerhead.”
- You have been supplied with a smartphone. The phone, camera and video-camera features have been disabled because none of your business why. It makes an elegant coaster.
As a new employee, you will be required to fill out the kind of standard paperwork you find in any workplace. Beneficiary form. Direct deposit information. Legally binding affidavit swearing you didn’t see anything that you will have seen.
Please also ensure you contact human resources to obtain a copy of the Office of the Mayor’s ethical guidelines. (Kidding.)
As a political operative, you may be called on to act in moments of crisis. Your response will be dictated by the precise nature of the emergency. Some examples:
Crisis: Mayor’s credibility irreparably damaged by revelations of crack use.
Action steps: Ignore it—it’ll blow over.
Crisis: May possibly be late getting to football practice.
Action steps: HOLY MOLY POLICE ESCORT PRONTO GO!! GO!! GO!!
Crisis: Stuck in a door again like Winnie-the-Pooh.
Action steps: Gerry in maintenance has the plunger.
In the event criminal charges are imminent, please consult the brochure “Relocation of Mayor’s Office to International Waters.”
A note about the press: Local reporters are despicable low-lifes who practise “gotcha” journalism by uncovering facts about the mayor and telling other people. However, the demands of interacting with the media and the public are eased somewhat by the fact that, as a spokesperson for the mayor, you can reuse the same few “talking points” in pretty much any situation. Please commit to memory the following:
- “The mayor has no comment at this time.”
- “The mayor apologizes for sweating on you.”
- “The mayor thinks your lady bum is shapely. That is why he’s currently touching it.”
On behalf of His Worship Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, we’d like to once again welcome you to City Hall and ask you to hold onto this mysterious package, which “doesn’t exist.” We’re excited and deeply shocked that you’ve agreed to work with us.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk