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Written by Michael Braun
Buying an Adult Magazine
Howie wants to buy an adult magazine in a convenience store as discreetly as possible, so he says the name of the magazine in a quiet voice. However, the cashier misunderstands his order and points at a candy bar instead. Howie now has to repeat the name of the magazine in a louder voice, which also embarrasses the cashier. This is an example of situational irony because Howie achieved the opposite of what he intended.
Going to the Men's Room
Howie's visit to the men's room is an example of situational irony because he intends to relieve himself but ends up leaving the restroom without having finished his business because he feels too pressured by the men standing next to his urinal.
Howie relentlessly points out the irony of installing air hand dryers in restrooms: While they are supposed to protect users from the hazards of disease which may be transmitted by towel litter, the button to switch it on has more germs on it than a sterile paper towel. Moreover, their drying process cannot be interrupted, which leads to a waste of electricity and therefore fossil fuel which has been used to generate the energy. Because the germs are not physically removed from the hands by rubbing them with a paper towel, the air dryers are, in fact, less thorough. Therefore, the intended outcomes are the exact opposite of the actual results.
According to Howie, a stack of a thousand business cards is handed to every new employee, but only a handful of them are actually used--and out of those, most are given to relatives. Therefore, he concludes that they are a way to make new employees feel valuable, which quickly turns ironic when the employees discover that they will not have any significant networking opportunities that might warrant such a large number of business cards. In fact, the only reason why workers are given a thousand cards is that it is cheaper for the company.
Howie describes at length the feeling of guilt because he has not yet formally introduced himself to a coworker called Bob, which he finds embarrassing given the long time they have known each other's names based on memos. When their paths are about to cross in the office lobby, Howie decides to escape the situation rather than going through a simple introduction process. Ironically, both meet shortly after in the copy room, where Howie finally has to talk to Bob.
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