I am a good employee, I swear. However, I did incidentally create a mini zombie apocalypse in my office last year.
The problem was the new cold and flu season. This year is my first year out of college. I am working at an accounting firm. When November rolled around, a memo was sent out to all the employees telling them to stay at home if they started having flu or cold symptoms. This went largely ignored. The number of snot-ridden hands touching doorknobs, sneezes blowing germs halfway across the office and hacking coughs skyrocketed to unbearable levels within a matter of days.
When, someone finally coughed right over my desk, I snapped. I couldn’t take it any longer. Either I would have to quit my job and become a veritable hermit, or I would have to take a stand. The next day I stepped into the office, prepared.
After about 15 minutes, I stepped into the break room which holds the refrigerator, microwave, coffee machine and the thermostat for the entire office. Once I was alone, I pulled out a bag which contained my instruments of war. First I pulled out a bag of ice, which I set down in the freezer and flannel bag of rice which I heated up. As it was heating, I dumped out all of the regular coffee, took out a bag of decaffeinated coffee from my bag and poured it into the machine. This would help to give the impression that the drowsiness caused by everyone’s colds was much more severe.
When the rice bag was done, I set it on top of the thermostat. Like most office thermostats, ours was both inconveniently placed and very slow to turn on the heater. Within five minutes, the thermostat was marking the current indoor temperature at being more than 100 degrees fahrenheit. I knew it would be at least an hour before any heat came out of the vents, and with a cold front sweeping in, the office would get very cold by then. When the heat did come on, I would be sure to put the ice bag on top of the thermostat so that it would come on with a vengeance. My hope was that my coworkers would notice that the actual thermostat settings wouldn’t have changed throughout the day, and mistake the drastic temperature changes for raging fevers.
Within a few hours of doing this, I found that I was quite successful. The number of groans had noticeably increased and jackets were coming on and off like nobody’s business.
The next day, the full effect of caffeine withdrawal showed it’s colors. My entire office turned into a mass of zombies--the slow walking, moaning kind seen in earlier films. I, of course, bought some coffee from Starbucks along with a sweater so I could concentrate on my work and avoiding the constant nastiness my sick co-workers were spreading around.
The next day, I came to work to discover that my little scheme had been fully successful. The office was as barren as a post-apocalyptic desert. After a brief cleansing of all surfaces with a clorox wipe, I was able to finally work in complete confidence of my safety.
Now, when I have told this story in person, listeners have often used it to highlight the idea that I may have a mental illness. However, evidence suggests otherwise. These actions, however clandestine, not only speeded the recovery of every sick person in the office, but also increased our profitability for the month because the company wasn’t paying for employees to catatonically lounge around the office getting increasingly ill throughout the month.
If this is madness, let me be mad.