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Friday, February 24, 2012

Office Irritation - The Skinny

Every so often, a Milton gets to the end of his office-space rope and either quits his job (or is unceremoniously fired) and makes a surprise guest return visit with a semi-automatic rifle and shoots the place up, the entire episode ending in tragedy and multiple murder/suicide, or if Hollywood has any say about it, sets the place on fire, but not before pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unsigned travelers checks and making his way to a sunny beach, where he can think about putting poison in the guacamole. The end.

Before any of that happy nonsense takes place, however, there are dozens, if not hundreds of triggers that will drive the average office worker completely cubicle-insane and cause him to flip his wig and start shooting. I was skimming the news and came across an article listing the top things that annoy co-workers. It was a lame list, but worth repeating and more importantly, worth expounding upon.

#1: Hygiene - I get that, nobody wants to sit next to a Smelly Nelly. Once, when I worked at Handyman (a precursor to the modern-day Home Depot and Lowes), we had a manager who reeked so terribly of body odor that we bought a case of air-fresheners and left them on her desk. I say "we" because that is the polite thing to do. I am still waiting for my co-workers to pitch in their share of "our" investment.

#2: Other workers taking credit for ones ideas. I do not have this problem - my ideas are usually so outlandish that no one would ever take credit for them. I often balk myself. As a note, these ideas have gotten me nowhere, even when credit is shone my way as if via a Klieg lamp. When the piranha tanks in the cafe' catch on, I'll be waiting for the pat on the shoulder, thank you.

#3: Listening to co-workers engage in loud personal phone calls within hailing range. I agree. I do not wish to hear my co-workers battle with their demons over the phone with an uncaring spouse any more than I wish to listen to them prattle on about their latest unsuccessful attempt at a miracle diet, near-death cat-dilemma or menses crisis. I pass - and that's why all workers should be issued free headphones and the website link for the Adam Carolla podcast.

#4: Stolen food - is this seriously an issue? I would no sooner steal a co-worker's overcooked, under-spiced tupperware container of casserole (try putting some garlic salt in next time, honey) than I would ask to lick their popsickle. That is not some perverted code - I actually mean licking an actual popsickle in-progress. There is only 1-1,000,000,000,000th of society of whom's popsickle in-progress I would lick, and the owner of that popsickle had better have a name that begins with "Raquel Welch".

So, that was the list - underwhelming at best. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

#1: Crunchy/Smelly food - I do not want to hear you eat. It is my least favorite thing to listen to, aside from bad karaoke. If you don't chew with your mouth closed or insist on shoving chips into your pie-hole a half-inch at a time and crunch them to toothy death as you do so, I cannot be held responsible for repurcussive action, up to and including bloody murder. Nor do I want to necessarily smell what you eat. Chances are, your food will smell pleasant and that will make me hungry, which in itself is a royal disservice. However, if you spring from some odd, European lineage, chances are, you are going to eventually bring in some foul-smelling cabbage-based peasant treat that will set off not only the fire alarms, but also the strongest of gag-reflexes in the building. Stick with a sandwich or a microwavable treat, but leave your heritage at home.

#2: Talking to your computer - No one, especially me, wants to hear about the cute email you got showing a kitten in a box or a dog looking up innocently from a pile of garbage it has ravaged in its owner's absence. Nor do we wish to share in your glee that your retarded daughter made an "A" in ceramics class or that your clubfooted son will be used as a reserve punter for the B-squad on the freshman football team. Tally-ho - we have work to do and would prefer to do so without your insanely overcooked cackling at your internet tripe.

#3: Touching my stuff - I don't touch your stuff, so please don't come to my space and fiddle with crap on my desk. Chances are, my things have been strategically placed to provide maximum functionality on many different dimensional levels that you could never hope to understand. Also, don't invade my personal space - it is valuable and cannot possibly be recovered once it has been breached.

I hope this covers the basics - use common sense and good manners and chances are we can keep our little villages from going up in smoke. Or worse.

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