11-13-2001 11:07 AM CST, Nashville, TN

John Doe, a local software engineer at qualicore, inc was arrested today for attempted assault and battery. Witnesses say he was working quietly and then suddenly went insane, throwing his chair across the room before grabbing a nearby stapler and attempting to staple the lips of his coworkers shut.

A confused coworker was quoted as saying "I dont understand it. I was standing over there talking to Sally about my new brownie recipe and how my daughter said the cutest thing, when suddenly an office chair flew by my head. It was really scary. I think I'm going to need a day off to calm my nerves."

Another coworker alleges that John could be heard "mumbling something about Eckseh Seltee". "I think it is some kind of cult" the coworker reports "He seemed quiet and stable, but you know how those crazy cult members are. They all seem so nice... until they snap."

After the arrival of metro police, John was detained and taken for questioning and psychiatric evaluation.

Dr. Craig Nussbaum was called upon to perform the evaluation. "I think its a simple matter of noise-triggered insanity. We have seen many cases where a patient, deprived of an environment conducive to concentration will eventually go over the edge as his mind completely gives up all hope of rational thought. Most of these cases occur in communal workplaces."

John made a short comment after his questioning. "Can I get a laptop to work on in my cell? It is so nice and quiet here in jail."

Don't let this happen in your workplace. If you work among cubicles, please, shut the hell up.

I wish I had a pen.

If I had a pen, I'm fairly certain the time would pass more quickly. I could doodle, take notes, perhaps even tap thoughtfully. If I had a pen.

I would have a pen if I had some paper clips. Don't ask me to explain why this is. Long story short, when I had paper clips, I had something with which to pass the time, so I didn't notice the absence of my pen. That's a lot like having a pen. Do you get my meaning? I had this great paperclip. It was textured, presumably the better to adhere to sheaves of paper with. I had bent it into a capital 'L' shape. It was eminently twirlable, and I didn't even need to put it down during brief flurries of typing or mouse usage. I wonder what ever happened to that paper clip. It's probably with the pen that I never had.

I have a highlighter. There are few things on earth for which I could conceive of fewer uses (in my present situation, that is) than a highlighter. It isn't even a pleasant color. It's sort of mauve. Not an annoying, 'I didn't pick this out, the secretary did,' pink, not an angry red, not even a pseudo-important purple, but mauve. Well, I say 'sorta mauve,' because it isn't really even mauve. It's just... well... sorta mauve.

There are napkins behind one of my monitors. Those are for in case I should inadvertently spill a liquid. So I could mob up said liquid, you see?

If I had a pen, I could dial the phone with it. Not that I can't dial the phone sans pen, but there are few things that look cooler than dialing a phone via pen. All the coolest employees are doing it. When dialing with a pen, you can dial thoughtfully, stab angrily, peck searchingly, probe absentmindedly. With fingers, well, you're just dialing a phone. I would be less uncool, if I had a pen.

Oh, wait, there's a pen.

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