Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sort of fun day at work...

I am a typist, which means I sit in a cubicle typing lots of technical words and numbers that all sort of look the same after eight hours straight. (*side note: "cubicle" is a fancy word for "large box". They only call it a cubicle because it is not socially acceptable to keep people in boxes, but if you call it something different then it sounds more humane so there are fewer risks of getting sued for human rights violations.) 

Anyways, the other day there was not much typing work to do so I was asked to help out in other areas, doing monkey work. "Monkey work" is what I call the work that a toilet trained monkey could handle, but they assign it to me because the Michigan climate is not good for monkeys, and, more importantly, I probably cost less.

First, I was told to tear down a bunch of cardboard boxes. This was fun, in a vindictive sort of way. 

Next, I was asked to go back to my computer and type/cut out some labels to put onto the doors of the supply cupboards. I spent the next hour painstakingly determining an adequate font size, adjusting the outer dimensions, and cutting them out with the edges as straight and smooth as I possibly could. My efforts were partially due to a bit of perfectionism/OCD, but mostly, I just figured that the more time I spent on monkey work, the less time in the afternoon I would have left for my regular boring typing duties. Let's face it, cutting and measuring and pasting is way more fun than documenting.

Before I could put the labels onto the cupboard doors, however, I had to remove the old labels from the doors. The woman I was working for asked me if I was ok with working with chemicals, to better remove the adhesive.

Of course I am ok with chemicals. Chemicals are fun!! You can use chemicals to explode things!!! And chemicals are the chief source of super powers and mutation. The more you work with chemicals, the more likely it is that you will get to be a super hero!!

Instead of saying this, however, I calmly and professionally replied that I had no objection to using chemicals. Had I explained why, she probably would've sent me down to HR for counseling, and then I wouldn't get to play with chemicals at all, now would I? ….I mean, "work." Work with chemicals, yes.

So, armed with a bottle of paint thinner (to dissolve the adhesive), some paper towels (to apply the paint thinner) and a scraper (to scrape the gunky gunk off), I donned a pair of latex gloves and got to it.

Latex gloves are exciting to me. I always feel so sophisticated and doctor-ish when I wear them, and I couldn't help but pretend I was in one of those hospital tv shows like Grey's Anatomy.

So I scraped away at those labels as if a man's life (and major organs) were in my hands.

So finally I finished with surgery, and I wiped the sweat from my forehead and ripped those gloves off my hands the way that surgeons do, turning them inside out in one quick snap so all the blood and guts and paint thinner stays on the inside. 

Then it was time to apply my new labels where the old labels had been. I had spent over an hour on these things, using extensive trial and error and throwing away many before I got it just right. Then I laminated them, because everything looks better when it's behind shiny plastic, and trimmed the edges nicely. As I did this, I had been wondering if anyone would notice my work, if they would look critically and admiringly at those cabinet doors and talk amongst themselves about how much nicer they were than their predecessors. I imagined it something like this... 

Just when I had decided that most likely no one would even notice that the labels had been changed but she who had told me to do it in the first place, someone else happened to walk by, glance at the labels I had made, and say in all seriousness, "WOW, those are NICE!!!"

That's good enough for me.

Hey, it beats sitting in that darn box. There you go, monkeys. You could be filthy rich for your species and severely over worked, but because of me, you are still in the jungle munching on green bananas while I perform intense label surgery. You're welcome.

PS Hey, cubicle! Remember your cousins? That's right--you're next!!! 



  1. Did you just publicly admit your love for Grey's Anatomy?! I think you did.

  2. hahaha....ditto what she said....

    Haven't they heard of Goo Gone? It probably would have saved 90% of your efforts. And your bosses also didn't calculate all the money wasted on the label prototypes that got let's hope those monkeys don't dig them up as evidence.

  3. I can totally appreciate this post. i had the same kind of job. i got to black stuff out with permanent marker once. oh! and i got to remove staples from a stack of papers. pure bliss compared to that fricken computer.