Breaking Bad

The IBM Punch Card Building - Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center

The IBM Punch Card Building – Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center

Yesterday, Anne was able to regale me with two stories of people behaving badly. Today, I was able to try to one up her with a story of one of my co-workers breaking bad. The company routinely provides coffee pots, refrigerators and microwaves so that employees can drink coffee, safely store perishable foods and then reheat them. Some employees riff on this motif and bring in personal tea kettles, juicers and even a gelato machine, I kid you not. These appliances are frowned on, they can become fire hazards. More frequently, their use can throw a circuit breaker, necessitating the call for an electrician to reset the breaker within the locked cabinet. The loss of power and subsequent delay can lead to loss productivity, but such difficulties are only an occasional impediment to normal cube farm life. The incident that occurred today at work goes way beyond the pale though.

According to news reports, it started with a fire alarm. The fire department was called. They discovered the problem, chemicals that were later identified as precursors to making meth. This incident occurred in an office environment, in the building across the street from mine. The police were called, an employee arrested and the chemicals disposed of. Nothing in the news reports indicate that any meth cooking occurred, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that was going on in a cubical near mine.

I’ve gotten Anne’s approval to relate one of the two stories that she told me yesterday. The other one is too tragic to tell, but sadly, it easily tops mine. This one involved an adult who photo-shopped a picture of a child, by putting dog poop over his head. The photo was captioned, S***-Head. This adult is gone. Anne said, “Just because you work with children is no excuse to act like one.”

Corrections and clarifications: I spoke with one of my co-workers who knew about the story that Anne told me. He vouched for the individual and said that nothing like that happened. It was a much more mundane personnel matter.

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