BRIEFLY, just briefly, we went back to the golden days last week.
Back to the times when men ruled the workplace. When women were here to smile, serve morning tea and answer the phone. Back to when Australia was a great place. Memories... sweet memories.
The moons must have been aligned, for Editor Bell was booked into the Betty Ford Cli...on leave again while the manager of this establishment, Jo, um, well we can't recall her surname but she lives out Harrington way. We think. Anyway, she also skipped away on holidays.
So by process of elimination, this left this correspondent in charge of the whole show. The most powerful person in the building no less. A man in complete control and that hasn't been the case here for more than two decades.
It has been said that absolute power corrupts absolutely, however, this certainly didn't apply to this correspondent. True, we did consider ourself to be something of a benevolent dictator but we certainly didn't go on a power trip.
We did demand the front office staff address us as sir or Mr McDonald but we think that's reasonable. We told the advertising representatives they would have to grovel, scrape and beg but that's pretty much the way they behave all the time, so there again no great change.
Naturally we were firm but fair with our colleagues in the editorial section.
"No,'' we snapped at the cadet journalist.
"I don't care if your child's sick, your cat's got croup and your dog's got gout. Under NO circumstances will you be leaving five minutes early. This is not a charitable institution, it's a place of work.''
The cadet journalist sobbed and said she fully understood the situation. Then left five minutes early anyway. We've made sure her pay's been docked.
Of course we also had to adjust our lunch break to suit our lofty new position. It's all about networking, you must understand so we had intended to dine at some of the finest eateries in the Manning and Great Lakes region. We were also looking at some ritzy places up Port Macquarie.
We made several calls to high flying business types the movers and shakers of the town to book in a long lunch of two. Strangely all seemed to be busy all of a sudden, for none were available.
"When do you go back to your usual job?'' asked one.
"Next week,'' we replied.
"What a shame, I'm free then. Oh well, next time.''
So our long lunch consisted of an egg sandwich and a can of Fanta. Still, we took our time finishing them.
Of course, there was the burden of responsibility. We had to sign off on wages and turn the air conditioning off before we left the building. We had to deal with members of the public, which we did by locking the door to the editor's office and hiding under the desk.
But all things come to an end and our brief time on top came to a close at 4pm last Friday. We had to forfeit the company car so we made sure it was pretty well drained of petrol before Editor Bell picked it up.
We know our colleagues were saddened when our tenure was over.
"Thank god,'' one said as we departed.
Even we didn't expect to be called God. Still, it goes with the territory we suppose.