February 27th, 2012

Rants from the Rat Race: Face, Meet the Filing Cabinet

I remember it was rainy. Not in a hearty, horror novel kind of way, but in that half-assed Houston drizzle style, useful only for frizzing hair, not setting mood. I shuffled my way to the filing cabinet in the corner, nudged a big wad of computer cables discarded on the floor and muttered for the thousandth time what a safety hazard they were. With my desired file in hand, I return to my desk only to be assaulted by the nagging sense that something was terribly wrong. Something was missing.

My pen.

My favorite blue gel, roller ball baby that I simply could not work without, was back on top of the filing cabinet. On my return trip, the snake pit of cables on the floor slithered too close to my general clumsiness, and the stubby heel of my shoe snagged and sent me soaring. In an instant of pure terror, my nose crumpled into the metal shell of the filing cabinet. Blood gushed. A secretary screamed. And I was eventually wheeled out of the building in a rolling chair, because they insisted I was in shock. They were wrong. My shade of shame just happened to bear a remote resemblance to shock.

This was over two years ago. And yes, there is still a slight scuff mark on the wall next to the cabinet and if you look really close, you can spot a bleached area on the carpet where maintenance had to scrub my O-positive up off the floor. But my nose has healed, by teeth are relatively unscathed, and stories of my brain injury were greatly exaggerated. The credits have rolled on this little horror story. Simply put, it’s time to let it go.

But some things seem impossible to live down in a small work environment. We function much like a family. And like all good kinfolk, we thrive on the opportunity to regale newcomers with tales of past humiliations. I’m guilty of it myself. I’ll tell and retell the epic of the guy who puked on the coffee pot – yes, on the coffee pot – to anyone who will listen, including the friendly UPS lady. But come on, that story is funny. The one about the HR woman hoarding all the take-out utensils in a shoebox under her desk? Hilarious. But this little ditty about my nose busting open on a file cabinet… The subsequent rush to the hospital and the resulting unprecedented six days off, taken as “mortification PTO”… I just don’t see the humor.

Call me stuffy, call me plain old bitchy. Just please, please stop calling me “Kerri, the girl who whacked her face into a filing cabinet.” I’ve learned my lesson. The puke and utensils stories shall be appropriated to the dustbin of my consciousness. I’ll never again mention the new girl who mistook the janitor for the VP, or the vendor who inexplicably talks with a fake German accent 40% of the time. For the love of karma, just let this story die, before the disgrace wells up inside me to the point that I become, “Kerri, the girl who whacked her face into a filing cabinet and vomited righteous indignation all over the boardroom table.”

And the real insult of it all is, I didn’t even score a company sponsored nose job out of all this.

— Kerri

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