Friday, August 22, 2014

Sh*t My Co-worker Says

"I think my skin's melting off!"

Holy crap! you say. Where are you? What's going on? Industrial accident? Ebola outbreak? Zombie apocalypse?

Nope. Do not be alarmed. It's just Monday. And that's just Tim.

I sit right next to him at work, and we've been side-by-side for so long that I can usually tell what he's doing just by the noises he makes. I can hear everything: I can hear him breathe, I can hear his stomach growl, and I spend more time with him than I do my family, which is a sorry state of affairs indeed. You've heard the terms "work family" and "work spouse," but it isn't like that at all with us. Anyway, one spouse is quite enough, thanks. I don't need anyone else pestering me for dinner, or poking around at my swimsuit areas. Tim asks for nothing - except the occasional Tums or ibuprofen.

Although I can't see him because we're behind one-inch-thick cubicle walls, I know that he's over there squinting worriedly into a little mirror he keeps at his desk to assess his many imagined ailments and conditions.

"These lights make me look all spotty!"

I grab my pencil and tablet. For amusement, I like to keep a record of Tim's pseudo-symptoms. Here is the actual list from my desk, along with - for some reason - a doodle of a pine tree.

I know. I have the penmanship of a mentally challenged first-grader, don’t I? The only legible thing on that paper is the pine tree.

So allow me to transcribe for you. Below are some of Tim's Imaginary Zombie Ailments, along with handy-dandy Regular Person Translations:

IZA: "I think my brain stem just snapped!"
RPT: He has a crick in his neck.

IZA: "There's liquid lung juice dripping on my liver!"
RPT: He has gas.

IZA: "I feel like I have a nail in my hand!"
RPT: He's having a minor muscle spasm.

IZA: "Something is moving up through my neck!"
RPT: He has gas.

IZA: "I can hear this dripping in my head!"
RPT: His allergies are acting up.

IZA: "My eyes feel like they're going to shrivel up!"
RPT: He's tired.

IZA: "I think my esophagus just separated from my stomach!"
RPT: Still gas.

You might doubt the veracity of my claims. You might think I'm exaggerating about Tim, that no one could make up such whack-a-doo maladies. But I assure you: It's all true. The list doesn't lie.

I put down the tablet, rise from my chair and walk over to stand in his doorway, where I watch him frown into his Worry Mirror.

"Were you always like this?" I ask. "I mean, when you were a kid, did you sit in classrooms narrating your body's rapid and disturbing disintegration?"

"No, no," he says, shaking his head. "It's only since I've been here. This building is killing me." 

He looks up from his mirror, brows raised. 

"I'm gonna bring in my Radon detector!"

You know, he may have something there. I've always said that cubicles are just glorified coffins.

And really, Tim is a very smart, apparently sane person in other ways. Plus he's super nice - always saying good morning, giving me coupons for my brand of Greek yogurt . . . I once convinced him to put a bowl of water out for some stray cats that he'd told me about, a litter of kittens living under his porch.

So yeah. He's a really good guy.

I mean, as far as zombies go.


  1. Tim sounds like a hoot to work with!! We spend so much time with coworkers that they become a second family don't they? Helps when they're entertaining like Tim :)

  2. Gas moves UP through his neck? Wrong direction, Tim! Does he fart out his ears?

  3. Now, that's entertainment!

    BTW, does Tim watch The Walking Dead? It might help him keep his physical problems in perspective. ;)

  4. Zombie work hubby's are the WORST!

  5. Aren't people just a laugh riot? We are all so weird. Well, maybe not Tim-type weird, but you know...

  6. I cracked up at "poking around at my swimsuit areas." BAHAHAHA Tim sounds entertaining, if nothing else. Loved your list and the pine tree.

  7. Tim's hilarious! He should be a comedy writer.

    On another note, it's nice to know I'm not the only one with first-grade handwriting :)

  8. Love Tom... someone I can relate to! I feel his pain.

  9. Zombie co-workers have a lot of charm. And they never use the last of the milk and put the empty container back in the fridge either.

  10. I bet he is glad someone is listening!
    That's what work wives are for,😊

  11. He takes the monotony out of your day.

  12. Tim seems similar to Willy Dunne Wooters, who swears he has pneumonia if the temperature in the house drops below 72 during the winter. I used to work with a woman who gritted her teeth. It sounded like a creaky rocking chair. Over and over, the chair (teeth) creaked back and forth. I'm amazed we didn't kill her, each of us stabbing her once.


  13. He's very amusing too. I hope you have ready access to an oxygen tank, though. The man has a lot of gas attacks.

  14. Optimist - He is: a hoot and a half.
    Debra - I meant gas the other way, a burp. But who knows?
    Linda - Who says you can't have fun at work? IDK if he watches Dead, I will ask him!
    NML - He sure makes the hours pass, though, and keeps me busy making my list!
    Jayne - You're right, and we're all a little weird. I bet Tim has a list on me. I hope so!
    JoJo - Want me to draw you a pine tree? I have lots of practice!
    Carol - Want to trade lunches? Meet you at the hopscotch court!
    Barb - Oh, I know. Sometimes, he really speaks the truth. I sometimes feel a nail in my hand.
    Elephant - True. Plus, there's those yogurt coupons...
    Ray - No, he's not my work husband. He's my work zombie.
    Eva - Exactly!
    Janie - I lol'd at "each of us stabbing her once." Classic.
    Robyn - I know. Pray for me.

  15. Glorified coffins. That's probably the best description of the cube yet. Sadly accurate. And now I'm depressed.

  16. At least I have a door on my coffin. I always leave it open so I don't feel completely dead and people can check just in case.

  17. Vixen - Don't be sad. I mean, at least you have Toph! ;)
    Jono - Sounds like you have an office! Lucky dawg. But do you have a work zombie?

  18. Life would be dull if everyone else was as sane as us tho, right? ;)

  19. Reading his list made me laugh so hard that my daughter thought something was wrong with me. One of the funniest things I've ever read.
    Thank you for the great start to my day! :D

    1. Gale - Perhaps you had liquid lung juice dripping on your liver.

  20. He sounds like a riot! I had to work in a small office with a guy for 5 years or so until last fall. We had a cubicle wall separating us so I didn't have to see him, but I could hear him all day and it drove me crazy. "I need a word," he'd say. "," I'd say back. He never got it! He was a bit sexist and degrading to women, so it was tough to keep my mouth shut. I'm glad to work from home now!

    1. Stephanie - That's hilarious! I am kind of jealous of people who work from home. But if I did work at home, what would I do for entertainment? No Tim.

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  22. You should only be concerned if he says, "I froze my balls off!" followed by two thumps.