Wednesday, 24 September 2008

This Day In LWOT History

Sept. 24, 1980

The office of Lies With Occasional Truth is dubbed "The Sweat Lodge" by the magazine's then editorial team. 

In his position as managing editor for less than a year, Gradey Alexander was determined to improve productivity and leave his mark on the historic periodical. Alexander despised his predecessor Oswald McGinley and wanted to rid the office of any remnants of the jovial atmosphere established by McGinley.

To do so, Alexander established a new policy under which anyone caught turning the heat below 35 degrees celcius would be summarily fired. While the rest of the staff laboured in the intense heat, Alexander lounged in his office with the window open and worked in comfort. 

Staffers didn't take it seriously, at first, but after five weeks of sweaty work days under a mandatory shirt and tie dress code they began to question Alexander's sanity. Since the written policy had no mention of pants, the men soon started to take them off as soon as they reached their desks. They worked in their boxers through the winter and into the spring. It's believed Alexander never moved to enforce a fully panted rule because the women tended to wear short skirts and low cut blouses in an attempt to stave off heat stroke.  

The policy continued for almost a year until the extreme humidity made the wooden frames on the windows in Alexander's office swell and wedged them shut. After 10 minutes he emerged from his office, sweat dripping from his caterpillar-like mustache. He posted a handwritten note next to the thermostat with new orders to "keep the blasted heat off if you value your careers and your wives value your nether parts."

In one of Alexander's many financial blunders as head of the magazine, the drafty building's oil consumption almost doubled during the early Sweat Lodge era. 

Long after the policy ended, LWOT editors continue the tradition of working in a dress shirt, tie and boxers as a sort of unofficial uniform. Like the famed Marvel Bullpen, LWOT became known for its Sweat Lodge and included it in occasional issues with a segment called "Visions From the Sweat Lodge." 

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