A senior civil servant who spent his entire working life playing Solitaire on his office computer has spoken of his anguish at having to relinquish his record-breaking title after being forced to do some work.
Following ex-trade minister Lord Digby Jones’ claims that many civil servants deserved the sack and that the job could be done with half as many, Martin Dennison, 42, has had to give up his record-breaking endeavour to concentrate on his role as Director for Corporate HR and HR Strategy.
Dennison has held the record for playing the bundled-in Windows version of Patience during working hours ever since the previous holder, a BT call-centre advisor, was sacked for misuse of company property in 1997.
“I was still a junior administrative assistant when I first started playing the game.” Said Dennison, “I’d just joined the civil service and was told to sit there and look busy. With nothing better to do, I had a look to see what games had been installed on the computer and the rest is history.”
Through a process of natural wastage, Dennison rose up the ranks to his current position, spending every minute on the game, where the player reorders a deck of cards by suit and rank through a series of moves, transferring cards from one place to another under certain limitations.
“But now Lord Digby Jones has come along and spoiled everything.” Complained Dennison, “Supposed ‘timewasters’ such as myself have to do something actually work related now. I’ve tried to appeal, and even got the Guinness Book of Records to have a chat with him, but to no avail.”
With Dennison gone the crown now passes to Lee Kang-Hwang, a 23 year-old South Korean software designer who has been chasing the record ever since bunking off college when he was 18. “I’m thrilled.” Said Lee, “Beating Dennison’s record has given me satisfaction and focus in my working life.” He continued, staring unblinkingly at his screen. “It was either that, write for a satirical comedy website or go on a gun-toting killing spree. Only history will decide whether I’ve made the right choice.”
(Written 16 Jan 2009)