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I share the guest office at clic with another contractor (technically from a competing company but we work well together).  He’s the one whom I refer to as Duck.  Because we’re both here on a semi-regular basis, the office administrator for this area created nametags for us to pin onto the cubicle walls (I hid mine).  Duck’s nametag is prominently shown and that means sometimes it gets jostled around a little.

This last time it got jostled, the cardstock with his name slipped out of the holder and fell between the cubicle wall and drawers.  Duck was very sad.  He wanted to fish it out but he was late for a meeting.  He asked me if I would be able to retrieve it for him since I wasn’t going to this particular meeting.  Well, sure…why not?  It’s not like I can do a whole lot when I’m compiling and downloading code anyway.

So here I am, squatting by the wall and trying to peer into the crack between the wall and the drawers.  It’s difficult though because there isn’t very much space, it’s dark, and the nametag is white text on black, so it blends into the surrounding darkness.  I think I see a sliver of it though, so I try to reach in with my hand to see if I can coax it out.  My hand is obviously too big.

I look at the wall and drawers to see if I can move one or the other.  Unfortunately, the cube wall is mounted to the floor and rides right against the actual wall of the office.  The drawers are latched into the back of the cube wall.  I can’t move the drawers unless I’m willing to unlatch the desk on top of the drawers and then the drawers themselves.  Ok, so that’s not going to work either.

I continue looking around and I see a ruler in an adjoining station.  I think that maybe the ruler will extend my reach enough to get to the nametag.  It does.  But unfortunately, it’s also a ruler and there isn’t much space to maneuver.  All I manage to do is push the nametag a bit farther under the cube wall.  This is a problem since there’s no room between the cube wall and actual wall.  If I push it all the way under the cube wall, there won’t be any way for me to get the nametag without dismantling stuff.  Also, I now can no longer see the white text and it’s just dark everywhere.  It’s hard to see black against dark.

So again, I’m looking around the guest office and I see a fork (Duck stole one from the cafeteria downstairs and just keeps using the same one over and over without washing it, as far as I can tell) and some tape.  I reason that the tines of the fork might help me get some leverage on the nametag so I proceed to start taping the fork to the end of the ruler.

Well, this is obviously the time for people to come into the office and see me doing some admittedly weird stuff.

Pengy, Marlin (a new player has joined the game!), and Polly (a new player has joined the game!) decide to stop by the office right as I start taping the fork to the end of the ruler.  Pengy is on the phone so he can’t immediately demand to know what I’m doing.  Marlin is standing behind him, but since he’s a nice guy, he doesn’t immediately demand to know what I’m doing because Pengy is on the phone.  Polly was just out in the hallway somewhere.  He got distracted by something.

Here I am, squatting and leaning against the wall, taping a fork to a ruler.  You know, totally normal stuff.  Marlin doesn’t think so and keeps mouthing “what are you doing???” behind Pengy’s shoulder.  Pengy, who is a fellow THEM employee, is a bit more used to my antics, and is just standing there watching me with a bemused look on his face while trying to wrap up his phone conversation.

I finish taping the fork to the ruler and start trying to fish out the nametag again.  Pengy is still watching me with a bemused look on his face.  Marlin is watching me and you can just see him get more and more confused.  It was pretty hard not to start laughing at the expression on his face.

As it is, I’m unable to fish out the nametag and I’m regrouping to see what else I can do.  I just don’t have enough leverage to pull the nametag toward me.  Pengy, who has finished his phone call, asks me what I’m doing.  Marlin declares that I’m fishing.  You could almost see the lightbulb go off over his head.  He declares that I’m fishing with such confidence and satisfaction that he figured out why I was taping a fork to a ruler.

Pengy suggests that I try moving things around and when he realizes that isn’t possible, at least not without a lot of effort, he asks me why I don’t just let Duck fish his own nametag out.  Marlin tries to explain to Polly that I’m fishing for a nametag.  Pengy, Marlin, and Polly all stand there for another moment watching me before they leave to their next meeting.  I’m sure they were all wondering what is wrong with me.

After they leave, I look at my forkruler and decide that I would have a better chance at grabbing the nametag if I also tape the tines of the fork with the sticky side out.

It turns out, the space between the drawers and cube wall is pretty gross.  I had to replace the tape twice.  But I did manage to stick the nametag enough to drag it out and then I popped it back into the holder and Duck is happy once again.

I didn’t wash the fork after I was done with it.





  1. You should just walk around the office fishing for things.

    • Well, I dropped a pen between a cube wall and the desk the other day. I guess I could try fishing for that. Except that I dismantled my forkruler.

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