Dear Work Colleagues

Dear Work Colleagues,

I have conducted a survey of our place of employment using the awesome power of my eyes and arrived at the conclusion that many of you do not know how to treat the workplace correctly or you have deliberately set out on a path to annoy me. If the former should be the case then this open letter to you may help you to become a better work colleague through not being killed in a tonsilectomy/bludgeoning-style rampage. If, instead, the latter is true then hark these words: I have a broken spoon in my top desk drawer and I am this close to gouging somebody’s tonsils out and battering him or her about the head with them until death rescues that person from my furious onslaught.

The Kitchen
The kettle in the kitchen has been designed with a handy see-through section down one side adorned with numbers and letters. Far from being decorative as several of you clearly assume, these markings instead form a deceptively simple yet remarkably smart way of determining whether the kettle has enough water in it for 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 cups. The 10-cup indicator is actually the small word ‘MAX’ you see at the top of the kettle.

Work ColleagueHow to use the kettle: if you are making a cup of coffee then fill the kettle to just under the number 2. If you are making a cup of coffee each for you and another work colleague then fill it to the number 2. And so on up to 10. The number of people having coffee bears a direct correlation to the number on the side of the kettle to which it should be filled with water. It’s ingenious.

How not to use the kettle: I don’t care who it is but whoever it is that keeps filling the kettle beyond the ‘MAX’ level, making himself one cup of coffee, then refilling the kettle to beyond the ‘MAX’ level once more leaving me the choice of pouring out over 9 cups worth of water or wait twenty minutes for the damn thing to boil is on the fast track to meeting Mr Spoon. Stop it.

The kitchen floor shares many traits with floors the world over in that it is a solid mass designed to support other solid masses – objects and people – and stop said solid masses – objects and people – from falling through to the centre of the planet where all the dinosaurs are hiding. It is not – and I must stress this – a handy place to spill milk and leave it there. The kitchen has kitchen towels on the windowsill; please use them or I may have to make you lick up any spillage in future. And then spoon you. You know the sort of spooning I’m talking about. It’s not the post-coital kind in case you’re in any doubt.

The Toilet
This is targeted at the majority of my work colleagues who happen to fall into the "born with a penis" category.

The toilet floor – like the kitchen floor and floors the world over – is a solid mass designed to support other solid masses – objects and people – and stop said solid masses – objects and people – from falling through to the centre of the planet where all the elves are hanging out with the dinosaurs. It is not – and I must stress this in more stressful terms than I’ve previously stressed any floor-related advice – a sponge. That is to say that it does not absorb all the flying drops of water (and let’s pray that’s all it is) that accompanies someone’s flailing-the-arms-wildly method of hand drying. The towel in the toilet does have absoprtion powers though; it’s not in the toilet due to agoraphobia. Use it.

When you finish off a loo roll … go and get another loo roll to replace it. It hasn’t happened to me yet but one day I’m going to need the loo roll and it won’t be there and on that day there will be a spoon-related massacre.

I’m pleased to say that everyone flushes the loo after they’ve used the toilet. Congratulations all around, although more courtesy sprays of the room freshener wouldn’t go amiss. However, sometimes, dear friends, the toilet needs another flush for one reason or another. You won’t know this unless you check afterwards. Please check. I really, really don’t like finding the remains of your previous night’s dinner. I feel my spoon-reaching urge come upon me in those moments and there is a roaring in my ears and blood red veins of violence creep into the edge of my vision.

The Telephone
According to Wikipedia the telephone "is a telecommunications device which is used to transmit and receive sound (most commonly speech)." As a user of telephones over the years I can confirm that this is 100%, dead-on balls accurate. It does the job and it does it very well.

You. Do. Not. Need. To. Shout. Down. The. Telephone. In. Order. To. Have. The. Other. Person. Hear. You.

Yes, this is true even if they’re very far away. Please speak with a normal voice or risk never speaking again. My spoon insists on this.

Nose Whistle
I’m not going to name names but one of you has a nose whistle. All the time. Listen out for it the next time you’re not talking. Your nose whistle bothers me. Please purchase nose plugs or use rolled-up post-it notes or something, anything, please. I don’t want to be tipped over the edge by your nose whistle; that’s just plain embarrassing. Even the spoon in my desk drawer would be mortified to be involved in a glorious mauling caused by a nose whistle.

Thankyou very much for your attention in this matter and I hope we can learn from this and work together in a blood-dripping spoon-free environment.

Author: Mark

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  1. P.S. Somebody has thoughtfully placed a small dish next to the kettle in order that those of you who prefer their coffee spelt t-e-a may squeeze out their teabags and leave them. I understand that this saves a walk to the bin.

    The bin is no more than six feet away. My spoon gets mildly agitated when he thinks of the pointlessness of the teabag dish and consumed with rage when he sees a big pile of teabags teetering in the dish and dripping onto the worksurface. Just FYI.

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  2. Hmmn, ever wondered whether you’re drinking too much coffee Mark. All that caffeine might be making you a bit antsy?

    I think the nose whistle is a perfectly spoonable offence however, along with incessant rhythmic leg twitching (syncopated with squeaking chair), and unreasonably loud mouse clicking and/or scroll-wheel spinning.

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  3. The coffee at work has been dreadful recently and may require the threat of spooning in order to rectify. However, loud mouse-clicking, scroll wheel spinning, and keyboard clattering are my strengths; how else will people know I’m working and not initiating another ground assault on our – admittedly disappointingly reluctant to fight – enemies?

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  4. I think the important point to raise here is this – why do you have a broken spoon in your top desk drawer and how did it break? Thankyou.

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  5. I broke it as part of an ongoing war of practical jokes with a co-developer, the intention being to replace the spoon left in the coffee container with merely the handle. The ensuing search for the end of the spoon in the coffee will amuse me and help to pass the monotony of the amount of time spent waiting for data to transform.

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  6. Your spoon would be a busy little guy in my workplace. We have people who, after making tuna salad sandwiches for lunch, will pitch the smelly can in the trash *without rinsing it out*. The kitchen then smells like rotting fish for *hours*, which is a change from the usual afternoon kitchen smells of burning popcorn (from people who microwave microwaveable popcorn for too long or at too high a setting) or rancid garbage (from maintenance not emptying the trash).

    Here’s another chronic offense: a messed up copier, which someone has just *left* instead of trying to fix it or call the repairman. A paperless copier is a close second.

    The third and worst offense is a clogged and overflowing toilet. The toilet is usually clogged because somebody either stuffed paper towels down it, or she did a very large doody and didn’t flush multiple times while doodying.

    As far as how I’d like to avenge myself for these horrors, spooning is good, but forcing the culprit to work as a Metro station attendant every summer would be better. Metro stations in DC are un-air conditioned and thus blazing hot in the summer. They are also noisy, reek of stale BO, and have no bathrooms. Perfect!

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  7. Now at my work we have someone who also microwaves food but never wraps it in cellophane and it quite often explodes just a little bit. Of course nobody ever checks and cleans the inside of the microwave so the ceiling of it is covered in brown and red blobs and I would never dare put anything in it for fear of contamination.

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  8. Mark, are you not concerned your extra loud mouse clicking will so disturb someone they will come over to investigate what you are doing that has to be so damn noisy, thus rendering your attempt to look busy futile?

    Personally, I work quietly so no-one notices me, but in case they do I regularly pull "Blue Steel", or if I want to look really busy "Magnum" such that they don’t dare come over and break my concentration.

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  9. Penny: clogged and overflowing toilets? A quick "No Eating Curry" rule is in order I think. DC sounds lovely. Added to Avoid list.

    Lou: additional part of our practical joking – oh, we’re wheezes all right! – is to keep adjusting the power setting on the microwave and fridge and seeing if anyone notices. They do but only after the event. We’ll teach them to check. One day.

    Grazor: I like the classics, myself. ‘Le Tigre’ and ‘Ferrari’ are my mainstays.

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  10. Ok. So, I don’t have work colleagues at the moment, or even work, for that matter. But can this also be used to address certain bastards that empty ice cube trays and can’t be arsed to walk 6 ft to the sink and bloody well fill them?! It vexes me greatly.

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  11. Wherever there is injustice: you will find it!
    Wherever there is suffering: it will be there!
    Wherever liberty is threatened: you will find …

    … the spoon!

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  12. Umm your a whiner Mark, sorry ! i want to see your colleaugues whine about you !

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  13. Wait for this whine!

    "Your" means "belonging to you". So "your a whiner" means "my a whiner" to me or, to put it another way, "whaa? gah! blah! speak? huh? whaa?"

    Secondly, the word "colleagues" features a number of times on this page spelt correctly in every case bar one, that being your (meaning "belonging to you") attempt. Astounding work. Have you not heard of copying and pasting? Or eyes?

    But my whine is this: how – after all this – did you manage to pass the anti-moron question? Did you get help?

    Anyway, thanks for visiting. Don’t get many Portugese-based visitors.

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  14. For some reason, a lot of people (native English-speakers all) seem to confuse ‘your’ with ‘you’re’. Don’t even get me *started* on how many people confuse ‘their’ with ‘there’ or ‘they’re’!

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