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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Office Desk, v2.0

My desk at work is okay, I suppose. It’s standard issue for our workplace — a gray metal frame with some sort of drab polyethylo-mumbo-something coating that’s stain-resistant and soft on the elbows, but probably causes ear rash in lab mice or something. So it’s fine.

But it could be better. Oh, so much better. And I’ve been thinking of how. So if any of my various bosses happen to be looking in, here are ten ‘upgrades’ I’d like to requisition for my office apparatus, if you please:

An air horn

Lots of people come over to my cubicle. Many of them talk. And most of the ones who talk seem to want me to do something, or fix something, or go tell somebody else something about some thing I don’t know anything about. The soft, soothing ‘*BUHRRRRRRUUUUUUUUHHHHHH!!!!*‘ of an air horn at the push of a button would be so much better. Like white noise.

“Some factory makes thirty million Chia pets a year, and we can’t find one manufacturer to put a holoscreen on my desk?”

Really, really bright white noise. Like blast furnace flame white. That’s the best kind.

A retractable pillow

In between the parade of talky wanty people, it’s nice and quiet in my cube. But the current desk is still too hard and uncomfy to sleep on. Also, sometimes my ears itch after trying to take a nap there. Some sort of fluffy, goose-down object or other would come in awfully handy. Maybe it could double as a keyboard tray when I’m not drooling on it or lying on it dreaming of giant marshmallows.

Come to think of it, a naptime privacy screen wouldn’t hurt, either. Nor would a nice blankie. Or some Graham cracker cookies.

One of those magnetic clacking ball desk art things

I’m not sure why, exactly. Those things have just always fascinated me. They look like they’re fun to play with, and I’m sure that sort of thing never gets old. Ever.

And if it does, then I could use it to crack walnuts. That’s what you call a ‘multitasker’, boys and girls.

A water jacket-cooled cup holder

Look, a long day at the office requires a few supplies. Energy bars, to keep you going. Stacks of papers, to make you look busy. Sharpened pencils, to threaten people approaching your cubicle until somebody ponies up a damned air horn. And caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

I like mine in liquid form, and happen to prefer Pepsi over coffee. But some days, while I’m stacking up piles of paper and jabbing menacingly at people trying to ask me questions from just out of arm’s reach, my poor cola gets warm. Much better that my ‘wakey juice’ should stay a nice constant seven degrees Centigrade while I’m busy fending off the threat of actual work. How I’ve worked under the current conditions for so long is a minor miracle, frankly.

An inflatable auto-Charlie

Oh, you saw Airplane. You know what I’m talking about. And don’t forget the captain’s hat.

Racing stripes

If I have to have the same desk as everyone else, the least they could do is personalize it a bit for me. I’m partial to shooting flame decals, but any sort of design that says, ‘This mother is fast‘ will work for me.

Of course, in the spirit of truth in advertising, they should probably also fit it with wheels, and some way to steer the thing around. That way, I can take the air horn to staff meetings, too. Sheer bliss.

A big red button that says “Don’t Panic” in friendly letters

That’s right, just like on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Only when you push this button, a noose should drop down out of the ceiling. Just for effect.

A holo display

Speaking of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, it’s the 21st century already, people. If I’m sitting at work in this day and age without some sort of fancy three-dimensional projectioning communicator gizmo at my fingertips, then we’ve simply failed as a society to realize the promise of every geek-snorting science fiction writer of the last seventy years. And as a geek-snorting science fiction reader, this offends me greatly.

Didn’t Isaac Asimov or Poul Anderson or somebody work out the basic design of these gadgets decades ago? Seriously. Some factory makes thirty million Chia pets a year, and we can’t find one manufacturer to put a holoscreen on my desk? Gene Roddenberry must be orbiting in his grave by now.

A fog machine

Probably the most useful item on the list. Not only could I make emergency escapes under cover of dry ice smoke, but when I actually am working, I can turn it on low and feel like I’m programming from the Scottish moors.

Or from the floor of American Bandstand, depending on my mood. Some days you feel like ‘Hamlet’; sometimes it’s the ‘Hustle’, instead.

A secret weapon

When the stabby pencil motions and air horn blasts aren’t enough to deter people from invading my personal office space, I need something a bit more persuasive. All the James Bond villains used to keep guns and crossbows and loaded man-eating sharks under their desks, with a finger always on the trigger. I want one of those models for my own work area. Maybe armed with a taser. Or a hamster ball launcher. Or really angry bees.

See, now that’s the sort of desk I should be sporting in today’s modern office cubicle. Somebody call Facilities, and let’s make this happen, people!

Permalink  |  6 Comments

6 Responses to “The Office Desk, v2.0”

  1. Robin says:

    Yea one of those little buttons underneath your desk would be great! The stuff you could do with it… oh great joy.

    Awsome post, make me chuckle :).

  2. #Debi says:

    Airplane and Hitchhiker’s Guide both referenced in one post. It’s a good day…

    Seriously, though, you don’t have an air horn?! What kind of Mickey Mouse operation do you work for, anyway?

  3. Charlie says:

    Robin: I’d just have to be careful not to confuse the air horn button with the evil scientist weapon button.

    Or… would I?

    Debi: So… Debi. You like space gladiator movies?

    Have you ever seen a grown Vogon naked?

    Kerry: You know, when you make up as many nonsensical words as I do, you tend to ignore the spell checker after a while.

    Thanks for finding the typo; fixed, and fixed.

  4. #Debi says:

    “Have you ever seen a grown Vogon naked?”

    Not naked, no, but I might possibly have an extra body part or two…I’m thinking of running for office…

  5. Charlie says:

    Debi: I hear a head and an arm can give you a leg up in the hearts of the voters.

    If you have the spleen for that sort of thing.

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