Come to work with the latest in armaments
Office spats -- like most celebrity divorces and every other session of the Taiwanese Legislature -- can get really out of control at any moment. Fast.
In modern society, between grinning and bearing it and biting our own lips, it's surprising more of our faces don't seize up like a spastic leg. It's hard to know where even your own breaking point is.
You could go five years without commenting on your cubicle mate's constant sneezing without covering up. But after five years and one day, you might have to be forcibly removed while medics try to extract an entire box of Kleenex out of his paranasal sinus cavities.
But even if the end result isn't dire enough to inspire CNN to orbit its cameras over your workplace in a rented helicopter, violent urges, left unvented, can do more damage to your gastrointestinal tract that a lifetime of cheeseburgers (not double cheeseburgers, though -- no need to exaggerate the point to absurdity).
Adding to the centrally cooled yet explosively hot powder keg of the typical office is its virtual menagerie of weaponry. So many sharp edges. Scissors. Staplers. Thumbtacks. Jane in Accounts Receivable's 3-inch fingernails (alluring, but deadly).
The problem is, in this locked-down, climate-controlled Digital Age, most practical jokes that would've relieved the situation 20 years ago are no longer practical. Traditional "safe" stress-relievers -- from "kick me" signs to fake vomit to coffee that smells a lot like bourbon -- are no longer tolerated. Or at best, passe.
Give a Digital Slob a glass of water filled with those fake ice cubes with bugs inside, and we'll just keep an eye out to make sure they don't melt too far down.
So, when the time comes to put all silly-yet-safe inter-office warfare options on the table, here are some of the latest faux final solutions:
Marshmallow Blaster (hammacher.com, $40): Imagine the movie "Aliens." Now imagine that instead of acid-blooded, multi-jawed monsters, the mining colony on the distant planet is infested with Muppets. In that scenario, this is the weapon Sigourney Weaver would strap on and load up in her climactic face-off with Miss Piggy. This pumped-up, pump-action assault weapon can hurl puffy, cylindrical, sticky-white goodness at hapless victims up to 50 feet away. Finally, hot chocolate can try picking on someone its own size.
Airzooka Air Gun (thinkgeek.com, $13): This cone-shaped, way-too-big-to-explain-away device flattens hairdos, extinguishes candles and splatters walls with pie meringues from up to 30 feet away. It's an eco-friendly, silent disturber of the peace that requires no electricity and has an unlimited, easy-to-access ammo cache (the troposphere), turning wind power into fire power. Also useful for helping great-grandma blow out her birthday candles from several rooms away.
» Next week: More office armaments.