Frog! vs Potted Plant …
When I first took a job with LMCO, it was up in DC, and what I remember the most is a distinct lack of stuff to do. While I was hired to write and maintain software, it was really a job in avoiding insanity by finding something – anything – to occupy your time that wouldn’t get you in trouble. Thus I found myself doing a lot of wandering and talking. When that got old, I taunted a beta fish that we had put in a giant plastic bear container that once housed a ridiculous number of animal crackers. But perhaps most exciting: I, along with my co-workers, became an uncanny slinger of rubber bands.
The rubber bands really were a true source of pride. I could hit someone two cubes away by aiming via the reflections off the sprinklers. When you have as much time to stare at them as we did, you can actually figure both the position and the identity of the source of the sprinklers’ reflections. In fact, though he could never prove it, I shot my manager over a cube wall after he came in to tell us to cut it out.
Probably the worst offense, though, was the shooting of the Potted Plant. The Potted Plant was brought in by an engineer who had long since left by the time I had arrived. We gave it water maybe once a month, and, by genetics that we are apt to feel impossible, it has survived to this very day. To top it off, the Potted Plant has survived many a marksman’s attempts at bringing it down.
So, when one day a particular engineer actually managed to take a leaf off the Potted Plant, I took umbrage. Or rather, the Potted Plant took umbrage. And after everyone had long gone home for the day, the Potted Plant exacted its revenge by stringing up the engineer’s favorite stuffed green Frog. He left a little note scribbled in dirt reading “Don’t Let This Happen to You”, signed with a wilted leaf tucked into a rip in the paper.
Unfortunately, I cannot provide a report on the engineer’s initial response when he found his dear Frog near death the next morning. However, I can report that by the time I arrived, the Frog had made his way to my coffee cup, whereupon he was sitting and reading what looked like a newspaper. As I arrived at my cube for the morning, the engineer reached across and gave a tug on a draw-string in the Frog, at which the Frog began to vibrate.
After a good 10 minutes of hearty laughter, I went and washed out my cup. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the Frog – but I wouldn’t put anything past an engineer. After that, we moved the Potted Plant and the Frog into opposite corners of the cube for fear of future engagements and/or retributions; however, I have heard that a Cold War replete with espionage and sabotage has continued between the factions of the Frog and Potted Plant ever since.