Thursday, November 20, 2008


The items that one surrounds oneself with say a lot about a person. Especially the things in the place where one spends the majority of one's waking hours - the office. Personal effects are often a louder statement than any curriculum vitae.

Follows a list of "decorative items" in my cubicle.

Eight Israeli flags.
Three American flags.
One "destroy Hezbollah" sign.
Seven assorted other protest signs.
A dancing robotic Woman in Black.
Six month supply of pipe tobacco.
Dolls: daemon, joker, frog, evil mouse.
Plush: mostly rodents.
Plastic animals: rabbit, lizard, dinosaur.
Three realistic heads, one of which is a mutant alien baby.
A knit kippah (blues and greens).
Framed Smicha (Yeshiva Chipas Emess).
Three Chabad baseball caps.
Three paintings (one of which represents Nick Berg and three Islamic militants).
Over a dozen "test tube babies", one of which is large and adrift in yellow liquid.
Two dozen books, of which half a dozen are linguistic reference.
Eight umbrellas.
Nearly three hundred empty cigarillo tins (brand: Panter).
A stuffed armadillo (real, dead, rotund).

And a cheerful Totoro, who encourages me with his dazzling smile.

[He is sitting on the Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek, by Jan de Vries (fourth edition, published by Koninklijke Brill in Leiden in 1997).]

The children of coworkers avoid my area when they visit the company. It is very wise of them to do so, even though I no longer bite. My cubicle is a cacophony.


Spiros said...

What, no red stapler?

Suzycat said...

No salt, señor! I distinctly said 'NO SALT!"

I can take my traveller's cheques elsewhere, you know. I can burn your resort down.

Anonymous said...

Spiros, I think that the stuffed armadillo more than makes up for the lack of a red stapler. I will fondly imagine his boss "borrowing" it, and the fat phone-answer troll in the next cubicle wanting to wisper "good morning... please hold" fondly into its little smelly crepe-like ears.

---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

Eight umbrellas?

Be prepared, I guess ?

I seem to recall a rubber chicken that lays eggs as well.

Tzipporah said...

Oh dear Lord... the conversations about panties are one thing, but this description is perhaps just a bit TOO much information.

The back of the hill said...

Hi Tzipporah,

Too much information? Well, it elicited your comment, so from my point of view it was just the right amount of information.

And regarding that other matter, it is not I but Lev and Grant wot have the panty thing. Spiros, as is well known, is entranced by penguins and wombats. And all or several of us have weighed in on other fauna and their unmentionables.

The test-tube things are actually a product we made several years ago. You press buttons and it starts emoting. Then it responds to sounds, and emotes more. If you press the buttons of all of them, they will not collectively shut up till several hours later. The Parsee lady on the other side of the wall goes berserk when she hears them. It is very good indeed.

The flags, protest signs, and umbrellas are for counterdemos in the financial district. The umbrellas used to have "stop rockets from Gaza" painted on them. But eventually the script flaked in the steady rain.

The chicken is one of those squeezy things. Good for the hand.

The armadillo is essential to my job. He is the "bad cop" in the 'good cop-bad cop' equation. All bill-collectors need an armadillo. Savage Kitten for many years had an armadillo with a cowboy hat that one of the technogeeks had parked in her cubicle, until the phone company farmed out several departments to Texas and elsewhere and shut down that office. He reclaimed it on the day they all left. It was the one thing he took with him.

Armadillos are cool.

Spiros said...

I like beavers.

Spiros said...

Staplers don't have ears.

Anonymous said...

But they have a beak for eating honey, and flippers for swimming. They are dangerous. So if you see any staplers where people are swimming, you must yell "cuidado, los estapeleres!".

Cuidado, cuidado, cuidado, los estapeleres!

---Grant Piranha

Anonymous said...

Oh, and let us discuss panties. I nearly forgot about them. Do you have any panties in your cubicle? Silk? Cotton?

Are any of them chabad panties?

---Grant Llama

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