Houston, we have a problem.

Halloween came and went.  Remembrance Day passed.  Christmas and New Years followed cheer out the window.  And what seems like the eternal season that is Budgeting finally drew to a close, just a few short weeks ago.  (The irony of planning for a year that has already commenced is not lost on me.)  And so, after countless hours (wasted) doing other important and productive things (Pinterest),  I return.

Unfortunately, the tale I have to tell is not a happy one.  Nor a very sanitary one.  But I felt it was my civic duty to spread the word.  Alert the masses.  Go to DEFCON 2.

I’ve been lucky in the past.  For the most part, I had my own printer at work.  Sure, we have a monstrosity of a printer/photocopier/fax machine/espresso maker/Space Station that looks something like this, give or take a few attachments…

…but I wasn’t using it, unless I needed caffeine.  I was deliberately still connected to the old printer once used by Moses.  No fancy buttons, no stapling or hole-punching capabilities, but I was ok with that.  It was all mine!!  It would spit out a few system generated printouts, but other than that, I had free reign.  Muahaha!

Alas, as with all relationships, it died.  A slow and tragic end.  And I got screwed in the divorce –  I was now forced to connect to Mir.

I didn’t want to have to deal with all the other people who use it, which amounts to about 30.  They’re people, for crying out loud!  Why would I want to interact with them any more than necessary.  If you ask me, I was already at risk of being over my daily legal limit.

Plus I’d watched; I knew what to expect.  All huddled around the thing, waiting for their printouts.  Like that scene in Black Swan when they’re all crowded around the notice board to see which part they got.  “Ooo!  Ooo!  Is it me (mine)?  Is it me (mine)?”  Like sheep!!  Or swans…whatever!  My point is, I was now going to be wearing a matching tutu, and I don’t look good in tulle.

To the window...To the wall...

But it’s not just the crowding.  There are multiple issues I have with the whole scenario.  The case of the mysteriously disappearing  printouts, for example.  “Oh sorry, I picked these up from the printer by accident”.  Ya, four days ago asshat!

Then there’s printus disruptus.  If you pull out a stack of printouts and the they’re not yours, put them back the way you found them, in the same tray, under what has printed since you rifled through them.  If you don’t, all of your future printouts will accidentally-on-purpose find their way into the locked shredder box, never to be seen again.

And then, the clean and jerk, (a move mastered by few). There’s one in every office – that individual who interprets eye contact as permission to regale you with long-winded tales of soccer practices, dance recitals, and ingrown toenails. Getting caught at the printer with this person is enough to abandon the 2 pages you’re still waiting for. The clean and jerk, is your only chance. The procedure is simple. Break eye contact, and grab the closest document you can find, if you don’t already have one. (A blank piece of paper will suffice, although you run the risk of looking a little silly reading what could only be explained as invisible ink). Study the “document” intently, frown, blurt out an expletive like you’ve just discovered an error that could be a threat to national security, and leave the room. They may be left standing there talking to themselves, but you got away clean, from the…

But the worst experience came one day while waiting patiently for my print job, in tutu of course. Unfortunately, one of my coworkers had arrived before me and was occupying prime territory, right in front of the output tray. I knew that it was my print job she’d be rifling through, but I thought, “go ahead, knock yourself out”. Until she did the unthinkable. I was in shock watching. It didn’t even register until it was too late and I’d already accepted a stack of papers from her. She’d licked them! She’d licked them all!!

I understand that paper sticks together. I also understand that you can order supplies from Office Depot and they carry these little rubber things that you can put on the end of your finger, whose sole purpose is to assist in sorting. What I don’t get is why you’d think that everyone else wants your nasty licked fingers all over their papers.

The first stack I’d accepted while still in my state of shock was actually wet! And then it finally registered as she reached for a new bundle and raised her hand to her mouth again. She was about to become a repeat offender. Well, it’s not in my nature to stand idly by. This must be corrected, swiftly and loudly.

“Would you please STOP licking my papers?” I said. She fumbled some excuse about just going through them so I repeated my demand. A few others had gathered by this point, so I guess rather than argue the merits of fingers dripping with saliva, she found whatever she was waiting for and hurried back to her desk, or perhaps she just grabbed some blank pages. Either way, I hope the message got through. I haven’t seen her do it since, but for all I know, she lies in wait for anything with my name on it and licks every one of them.

Unfortunately, only yesterday, another co-worker was caught doing the same thing. Twice! Is there no decency in this world? A sign was erected asking people NOT to lick their fingers when sorting through printouts. Will this be a deterrent? Probably not. But, for those that have not witnessed the disgusting act in person, it may explain why their printouts are wet and crinkled at the corners.

Actual sign

Am I wrong? Am I overreacting? You know what, I don’t give a spit!! It’s disgusting.

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7 responses to “Houston, we have a problem.

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