Fun At Work

Things I have seen or done for entertainment while on the job, in no particular order: (PG is me, SE is somebody else but I saw it)

PG > Tried to get my boss to step on a drop on the floor where I had spilled a drop of superglue. Being paranoid, he declined.

PG > Installed a christmas light blinker module in the power cord of my coworker’s electric eraser, back before they made them rechargeable. It would run for a few seconds, then cut off. It drove him nuts. For those who have never seen old style paper-based drafting, this is an electric eraser:


PG > Sprayed WD-40 on the boss’s doorknob.

SE > I was once sent to the store room to get some left-handed staples. I stayed gone two hours.

SE > Put duct tape, rolled in a loop sticky side out, on the earpiece of the engineering secretary’s phone – then called her. She thought something awful had got in her hair.

SE > There was an artificial tree in the office’s entry. One of the secretaries put an artificial bird on the artificial limb of the artificial tree. My coworker used whiteout to put some artificial bird poop under the artificial bird on the artificial limb of the artificial tree.

PG > It is possible to put a rubber band on an architect’s scale (three sided) in such a way that it will, over a period of half a minute or so, slide off of one end of the scale, thereby shooting the rubber band across the room. We used to set this up, pointed at someone across the room, then go get coffee.

SE > Killing flies with rubber bands from across the room.

PG > For a while, a co-worker had a radio on his desk. Due to the geometry of the room, I found that I could move my leg to a certain place and block his signal. He spent months trying to figure out why it came and went.

PG > Watched someone else poor themselves a cup of cold coffee left over from the day before, while I was making a fresh pot, and didn’t say a word.

SE > Glue the cap on a magic marker that was frequently borrowed off of his desk.

SE > Put out a bowl of super-nasty tasting jellybeans for the company moocher to graze on.

PG > We had, back in the dark ages, a punched paper tape system for delivering machine tool programs to the machines. The system produced a bucket of tiny black dots punched out of the paper tape. One morning, I went around and poured some into the back of each electric eraser, where the cooling fan was. The first time somebody used it, a little cloud of little black dots would fly up in the air all around them. As I recall, after retaliation, I was finding little black dots in my underwear where it ran down my back.

SE > Pretend to spill coffee on a drawing that had taken a week to produce. I was the victim, and I almost hurt myself trying to save my drawing.

PG > Reverse the X-Y coordinate system in a cad drawing somebody else was about to work on. The result? Move your mouse to the right, and it actually moved to the left. Easy to fix – if you knew how.

There are probably many more, but these are the ones I remember right off hand.


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4 Responses to Fun At Work

  1. J says:

    These are great. I remember you used to have an electric eraser at home. I enjoyed playing with it. The cat, not so much.

  2. Ali says:

    I’m not entirely certain I understand what an electric eraser is.

    Feel free to exhaust the list of obvious answers (I know they began presenting themselves immediately), but then I’d love to understand more. I’m not quite certain what it is you do. 🙂

    • Popgun says:

      Hi, Ali;
      This was back around 1985 or so. Back then, we made engineering drawings by actually drawing them by hand, on sheets of paper commonly 24″ x 36″. Often it took a week to produce one drawing. An electric eraser made editing both faster and more precise because you could control exactly what got erased more easily.

      Of course, nowdays, we do everything using CAD systems on the computer, and print drawings when we’re done; vastly faster and more efficient. Real draftsmen (or ladies) are a dying breed.


    • popgun says:

      Hi, Ali;

      I work in engineering, among several other disciplines; I used to be a draftsman, back when they had draftsman – drawings were made by hand. The most common drawing size was probably 22″ x 34″. It frequently took a week to produce one drawing, and the vellum originals were treated like gold. In those days, an electric eraser was extremely valuable as a drawing tool, partly because sometimes you had quite a bit to erase, but also because it gave you fine control over what gets erased. It is basically an electric motor with a chuck on it to hold a cylindrical eraser. Think of it as an electric drill with a round eraser in the chuck. The ones we used had a fan in the rear of the body to cool the little motor.

      These days almost all such work is done on a computer using a CADD system – computer assisted design & drafting. This is a real force multiplier for a draftsman; I can now produce a solid model of a part or assembly, and from it, create a ten-page set of drawings in an hour or so, compared to the old days.

      Have a nice day!


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