For my birthday last year, my friend Mandy gave me one of those little stress-relief balls. You know the ones I mean: essentially just a balloon filled with sand.
This one was dark blue and shaped like a little dude, complete with arms and legs, a nose, and ears and an insipid little smile.
My job isn't terribly stressful, but I find torturing this little dude to be quite relaxing.
Until, that is, one day several months ago. I was trying to print some things for an important meeting but I was having trouble with our large-format printer. I was becoming increasingly annoyed with the situation and while I waited for the paper to cycle through – again – I grabbed up the little balloon-dude and started pummeling him.
Just as I noticed the paper was coming out crooked – again – I gave balloon-dude's head a good twist and …. HE EXPLODED ALL OVER MY DESK.
I'm pretty sure I said something non-professional at that moment.
Sand gets EVERYWHERE. And the filling inside these little balloon-dudes is not so much sand as a really really fine silica. It got in my meeting notes, in my phone, and – best of all – in my keyboard.
I cleaned up the almighty mess as best I could, even borrowing the vacuum from the janitor. And most of it came up.
Except my keyboard. No amount of canned-air on the planet was going to get this ultra-fine mess out of my keyboard.
So I sucked up my pride and called IT for a new one. They still haven't stopped laughing at me.