Your glance anxiously at the clock. Your fingers fly across the keyboard. You gnaw away at the Dunkin’ Donuts cup that has been sitting at your desk for hours, saliva-encrusted shards of styrofoam littering your harried cubicle. Co-workers drop by every five minutes in an attempt to tear you away from your report, but their innocent pleasantries are met only by primordial grunts or the occasional “I have a deadline, CHERYL!”
Only fifteen minutes left. You save your work, take a deep breath, and hit ‘Print’. You hurry over to the beloved office Xerox WorkCentre, hopping up and down excitedly like a kid on Christmas morn, as if the two-ton behemoth were dispensing Skittles and jellybeans into the air instead of Staples brand copy paper.
There it is. Your pride and joy. Your baby. Those figures have never looked so powerful. The pie chart is breathtaking. Tears spring to your eyes as you delicately grace your fingers over a particularly magnificent bar graph. It’s times like these that make the 97 straight hours of work with no sleep, little food, and peeing in a bucket by your desk all worth it.
Only one thing left to do: fax it to the client. You bouncily punch the numbers into the keypad, quietly humming “Eye of the Tiger” and pausing every so often to punch a triumphant fist into the air. Nothing can topple this high. Nothing can fell you now.
Except an 8.5″ x 11″ leaf of pure evil.
You can almost feel it coming. You expertly place the sheet into the tray, but you’ve become little too careless now, a little too cocky. It slips, ever so slightly, from your fingers. You reach with your other hand to catch it, to rip it from its untimely plummet to the floor, but a week’s worth of sleep deprivation has decided to catch up with you at this exact moment and ruthlessly rob you of any remaining vestiges of coordination. You fumble, you choke, and then…
You’re never really considered the true meaning of the phrase “a fate worse than death”, but its message is driven home with such force at this moment it nearly knocks you out cold. Of course, that could be due more to the massive blood loss. You’re dizzy. You feel sick. You’re absolutely positive that a bazooka to the gut would be less painful than this. You stand there, helpless, staring at your gushing finger and yelling at it, as if this might force the blood to go back into your vessels where it belongs. Because it’s certainly not stopping on its own. You quickly glance at the remains of your afternoon cup of tea. Might a squeeze of lemon juice stanch the flow? Or at the very least ease the pain?
Negative on both accounts. Your animal-like howls of pain increase in both volume and frequency as you hurl the demonic citrus across the room and graspingly attempt to suck the pain away, in an oddly vampiric turn. You hopelessly glance at your report, which now resembles the only surviving piece of evidence from a killing spree of some sort. You damn your clients to hell, screaming in vain to the heavens such curses as “Who uses fax machines these days ANYWAY?” and “MODERNIZE, you ASSHATS!” You desperately look around the room for band-aids, gauze, or anything that could be used as a tourniquet. But there’s no use. You can’t think straight. You literally want to die. You fight the urge to burst into tears. You fail.
So if you want to suck, get a papercut. The sting may last for only a few hours, but the image, sensation, and incredibly detailed sound effects of a razor-sharp edge of paper slicing through your poor defenseless skin will stay with you long into the night, your wretched sobs and tortured screams drowned out only by the incessant thought that you will never again be able to face a copy machine without heavily gloved protection and a healthy supply of anti-nausea medication. Begin stockpiling now!