Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Folder Torture

The part of my office in which I work is pretty quiet, and there aren’t many people in the immediate area, so any noise can be quickly traced to its source. Just keep that in mind as I tell this.

I was trying to fit some labels I had designed into the spines of three-ring binders, and having a hell of a time not bending or tearing the labels. Just before I got to the level of frustration that equals hostage-taking, I asked the folks in the copy center how they do it. They told me they use the thin metal rail from a hanging file folder to guide the label into the binder sleeve. With this information, I returned to my desk, got out a spare hanging file and some scissors, and proceeded to cut the rail free.


That was the alarming sound of the scissors against the folder. It was unbelievably loud, as if some giant, prehistoric bird of prey was roosting in my cubicle and crying out its defiance. Before heads starting popping up over cubicle walls to see this great avian, I started nonchalantly checking my email, as if I hadn’t heard anything amiss. When the coast was clear, I returned to my cutting, this time working slowing and gently.


The sound was more prolonged but no quieter. I made as if I was absorbed in my email again, and when things had settled down, I adopted another tactic. I snipped gently at the folder to start the cut, then tore away the rest of the paper with my hands.


I realized that, no matter what I did, that file folder was determined to raise its great voice, so I gave up on subtlety and had at it, quorking my way along until the job was done. The little metal rail was perfect for guiding the labels into the binder spines, by the way, so torturing this file folder was not without benefit.


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