Stapled: Rantings of a Mid-level Career Employee

IMG_2396
You had one job!

I called my stapler a “Jerk” yesterday, as I struggled to remove a rogue and bent staple from its tray. My co-workers looked on in utter shock as I began banging the top of it onto my desk and calling it colorful euphemisms.

It’s not something I’m proud of. The irony here is that “STAPLES” is written in big bold letters on the front of this entitled piece of office equipment. This so-called stapler has one job, and with every third attempt at doing said job, it acts like a petulant little stapler baby, refusing to puncture a six-page document.

Despite its unwillingness to staple paper, it jumps at the chance to staple my thumb whenever said digit wanders into its path.

It isn’t like I’m a demanding supervisor of this stapler. I take care of it. I make sure the staple cartridge is clean and dust free. Only the best zinc-plated staples are purchased for it. I encourage it when it performs admirably in the face of large, two-sided documents. And yet, for whatever reason, it acts entitled and demands a part time schedule on a full-time salary.

This undoubtedly speaks to a larger issue, psychologically speaking. For me, not the stapler. I’m quite sure the stapler is incapable of such thoughts, and if staplers were capable of such thoughts, this one would surely be too self-centered to realize that the issue lies within it. Some staplers, like some people, prefer blaming others for their problems.

No other office product brings out my ire quite like the stapler, though. Not the staple remover, which hasn’t had much of a job to do lately—for obvious reasons. Not the tape dispenser, which is basically obsolete but doesn’t seem to complain. Not even the pair of scissors that could cut a rug (not the dance, the actual rug) if I asked them to. (Scissors don’t dance.) No. My hatred for the stapler is unlike anything humanity has witnessed.

Before you ask . . . Yes, I have considered purchasing a replacement stapler and sending this one off to some stapler prison in Siberia, where it belongs. Let it be Vladimir’s problem. I even tried to replace it once, but the conversation with my administrative person didn’t go well.

“I need a replacement stapler because the one I currently have is a self-centered putz, and I frankly can’t stand to look at it anymore,” I said.

“Uh, you sound really upset with your stapler,” she responded, her puzzlement clear even over the phone line.

Fearing that I had overplayed my hand, I retreated to a more diplomatic tone. “Oh no,” I said, with a genuine honesty in my voice. “I just think the relationship between stapler and staplee has run its course.”

“I don’t think staplee is a word,” she responded.

“Forget it,” I said, before hanging up.

We appear to be stuck together, this stapler and I, until I retire, which is still several decades away. While I have come to admit this, I have decided to do what any American would do in my position: I will shame it into embarrassment.

That’s right. Each time I need to staple a document, I now borrow my co-worker’s stapler and use it right in front of my peevish, no-good stapler. I openly congratulate the borrowed stapler and encourage it as it performs the work.

Whether this will have any impact on my stapler remains to be seen. The device has a knack for remaining indifferent in the face of intense criticism and even physical violence. However, my action makes me feel better. And, really, that’s all that matters.

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