Monday, September 26, 2011

Why Elevators Are Germ Boxes of Doom

I've always been a bit of a germophobe.

Some environments trigger this more than others. For instance, being in a doctor's office makes me acutely aware of just which diseases I have NOT contracted, and makes me wonder whether I will be exposed to H1N1 from the oozing child in the next chair... so I end up tucking my nose into my magazine and covertly sending telepathic messages to the little snot machine** to take their leaking orifices over to the lovely little play corner. Being on an airplane makes me think about what jungle viruses the other passengers might be radiating into our shared air... so I end up burrowing into my blanket and breathing through it for the duration of my flight. Being in a vehicle - especially one of which I am not in control - makes me wonder if the driver has the capacity to poison me with germs through the air ducts under the guise of "turning up the heat to reach you all the way back there."

But the worst has to be the elevator.

Doctors' offices have windows that can be left open. Airplanes have doors that can be left open. Vehicles have both. 

Elevators do not.

Doctors' offices, airplanes and vehicles can create a scenario of moving- with the appropriate allocation of open airway and stout breeze.

 Elevators can not.

Sure, the doors open. For exactly 14 seconds (at least on my Friendly Local Elevator). That is NOT enough time for an air-exchange. That's enough time to cool down the air right inside the doorway, and then trap you inside for a 45-second-long ride of germ-tastic doom.

Well, it should be easy enough, right? Just avoid elevators. 


I am one of only a handful of people who have a key to the Box Of Doom. Which means that, twice a day, I have to push the little button and wait for the disgustingly long descent, and then step inside to turn the key. Which, inevitably takes 18 seconds (two seconds longer than the breath I can hold when I totally forgot to take a deep, holdable breath before the elevator arrived and have to just gasp in what I can before the doors ding open). Most days I can step in, fumble for my keys, grab the right one and be en-route to the keyhole before I have to kick my foot in front of the door to keep it from closing me in (thereby at least feigning to my brain that there is breathable, un-germy air around should the need for it arise). I can then complete my task of turning on the elevator, escaping it and breathing deeply as I walk myself up the well ventilated stairs.

(Mind you, all of this is happening in a two-story building. The elevator is only for clients, of which we have very few right now because the company is in a "state of transition." So all of this work is pointless, and goes unrecognized until the one day I forget to turn on the elevator and someone has to walk up the stairs before a meeting ((heaven forbid)) and is forced to get some exercise, thereby totally winding them and ruining the meeting because they can't think for the breath they can't catch.)
Unfortunately, this was not the case today.

Today, I was just at the kicking-of-the-foot part when I heard a ding. And then a clanging bell. And then, all hell broke loose.

The ding was a call for the elevator. Easy enough. Once the key is engaged, it will rocket off on its upward trajectory, hurtling towards its destination at a staggering eight-inches-per-second-per-second rate of acceleration. (Yep. Tested and true. It really is faster to climb the stairs.) But it will not rocket upwards before the key turns and the connection is completed and I can escape unscathed. 

Most of the time.

Today, it was really on its game, and I got sucked into its trap.


Sunny: <pushes button>

Elevator: Oh hai! 
              <opens immediately>

Sunny: Meep! Not ready!
            <gasps quickly to avoid imminent germ-cloud>
            <steps into elevator, fumbles keys, accidentally drops them>
            <reaches to pick up keys while awkwardly kicking leg out to stall closing door>

Elevator: Oh! A game! I love games! I'll make loud crashy noise, too.
               <dings as if being called>

Fire Alarm: What fun! A game! I can make noise, too!
                  <clangs and joins in the fun>

Sunny: <startled> Oh!

Elevator: Have you disembarked, HumanFriend?
               <begins closing doors>

Sunny: No! NoNoNoNoNo!
            <frantic kicking of leg>

Elevator: HumanFriend! You're still here! But I'm about to move! I will save you!! You will be safe!!
              <closes doors more quickly>

Fire Alarm: I'll keep you company!

So... I was terrified. I was locked in a little box which appeared to be making decisions of its own volition. I was moving upwards on a trajectory I hadn't requested, towards the source of a noise which was startling the ever-loving earwax out of me**1, and I was fairly certain I was going to die.

By the time I reached the first floor, I was in Catastrophic Meltdown. I had run out of air in my lungs, so I had pulled my sweater up over my face and was breathing in through that and out through my right sleeve. My belongings - such as they were - were scattered about the floor, having been dropped in the hubbub. I was curled into the far corner of the elevator with my back pressed to the wall and what I'm sure was a look of terror plastered firmly on my face.

Which must have been a fantastic spectacle for the Fire Alarm Guy that greeted me on the first floor.

"Oh!" he said nonchalantly as the doors opened and he peered inside. "I wouldn'ta used the emergency key if I knew you were about."

** I love children. I really, really do. It's the parents who do nothing to stem the flow of viscous fluids that bother me. Really, honey, is it that hard to help him blow his nose? No, don't drug him, just employ a tissue. 

**1 Loud noises in small spaces lead me down a short path to schizophrenia. I see angry faces in my head, my heart palpitates almost to the point of making me feel ill and my breath comes in these little raspy bursts that make me sound like a PugDog with chronic respiratory disease. So... fire alarm in elevator = Sunny the Wide Eyed Terror-Beast.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Yo Ho Ho...

Ahoy, me hearties!

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

In celebration, I thought about writing you a Pirate Song, but then wasn't certain how it would be received since I can't actually sing it for you. (Not for lack of technology... I mean I really can't sing.)

I thought about writing you a Pirate Story, but couldn't get past "Ahoy, me hearties!" and thus thought that the creative juices were opposed to that idea.

I thought about writing you a Pirate Play, but then had a little trouble getting out of the scene-setup and into the actual dialogue.

And so, I decided that a fun, unobtrusive List Of Excitement might be in order today.
For your reading pleasure, I present to you:


~When, in cases of disagreement, an accord cannot be reached: The Captain is always right.

~When, in cases of disagreement, an accord is reached which is converse to the Captain's wishes: The Captain is even more right.

~All snacks are to be evenly distributed amongst the EngineerHearties; HOWEVER, Captain Sunny must get her equal portion before all the EngineerHearties take all the best bits.

~ When any EngineerHearty is caught saying mean/derogatory/stoopid things, they will be keelhauled.

~When any EngineerHearty is caught taking the last doughnut without carte blanche from The Captain, they will be made to walk the plank.

~When any EngineerHearty is caught taking *half* of the last doughnut, they will be keelhauled and THEN made to walk the plank.

~When it is Sea-Shanty Sing-A-Long Time, all EngineerHearties *must* take part. This is not a request.

~All grievances may be settled by payment to Sunny in Gold Dubloons (preferably the kind with chocolate in the middle). Keelhauling, plank-walking and shark-feeding may still commence, at whim.


DrafterFriend: Is it really only ten o'clock in the morning? I feel like I've been here for hours...

SunnyYou have.

DrafterFriend: Right, I know, but like *lots* of hours. I wish there were a fast forward so the day could be over faster.


But then I would need a rewind too, you know, to go back...


And a pause button. Definitely a pause button.

Sunny: But if you hit pause, wouldn't you be stuck forever? If you stopped the world, and you're *in* the world, you would stop too...

Drafter Friend: Oh, right...

Sunny: <on a roll> Yeah, definitely. And then you'd be stuck there forever. But would you *know* that it's forever? Or would you just exist?

DrafterFriend: <startled> Umm, right... <backs away>

Sunny: <remains on tangent> You just wouldn't know. You'd be stuck there forever. An eternal loop of pause...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunny and the Copier Demon

Once upon a time, in an office far, far away...

-{Like really far, and away from all the things...}-

There was a beautiful, intelligent and extraordinarily modest Receptionist named Sunny.

Sunny was the best receptionist in all the land.

-{Except she would never say so. She was far too modest for that.}-

Sunny loved her job and the people who worked with her, for they were all very sweet and very kind and only said nice, intelligent things.

And sometimes they would all break into spontaneous song together.

-{Like a musical, but better because they would sing about real-life stuff, like how the coffee was cold and the fan in the men's room was broken.}-

And other days they would play dress-up, and Sunny would be their Queen.

-{But like a nice one. Not the mean kind that orders beheadings and stuff.}-

But sometimes, when it got really boring, they just worked.

-{This was mostly when someone was watching.}-

And the EngineerFriends would engineer...

And the DrafterFriends would draft...

And Sunny would tootle about to make sure everything ran smoothly.

Sometimes she would do the filing.

-{When she did this, she would put away every piece of paper... sometimes even an important one with a phone number on it that she had written down quickly, but then forgotten what she wrote it on so when she needed to find it there was a little bit of a hassle because it could have been anywhere in the silly cabinets...}-

Sometimes she answered the phones.

-{And when she did this, she was very peppy and happy even when it wasn't a musical day because the clients were always considerate and friendly and fun to talk to.}-

And sometimes, if it was a very *very* good day, she would do invoicing.

-{Because invoicing was something that she really enjoyed, and she liked to celebrate it properly on only very *very* good days.}-

One day, Sunny was walking around her office singing softly to the plants (to achieve optimum lush- and green-i-ness, as was common with her superior gardening skills and powers of foliage), when she heard her phone ring.

"Sunny?" a voice called out. "Sunny, are you there?"

"I'm here!" Sunny bubbled to the speakerphone. "How can I help you?"

"Our copier downstairs has broken, and you're the only person in the whole world who knows how to fix it! Please, oh please, won't you come and help us?" pleaded the voice.

"Of course!" Sunny smiled wide (but they couldn't see that, because they were on the phone) and ended the call.

Down the stairs Sunny swooped, humming merrily as she descended flight after flight of stairs to go rescue the EngineerFriends from their plight.

-{As she swooped, she thought about getting a cape... But decided that would be far too ostentatious, and so she settled for swishing her hair mightily instead.}-

Sunny arrived in the copy room with a flourish. "Ta da!" she announced. "I'm here!"

And all the EngineerFriends applauded her grand entrance, for they were very afraid of the CopierDemon.

-{Sunny was a little afraid too, but she could be brave. Or at least braver than the Engineers.}-

Indeed, the copier tried to be very scary:

It flashed its red lights...

...It growled an angry growl...

...And every time Sunny touched it, it destroyed another piece of paper.

But she would not be dismayed!

She pushed the buttons!

She restocked paper drawers!

But still the CopierDemon would not submit.

It's flashy lights flashed brighter!

It's angry growl got angrier!

And now, it started destroying two pieces of paper every time Sunny touched it.

The crowd started getting more anxious. Sunny had never let them down before... But this battle was very intense!

Finally, Sunny decided that she had played the CopierDemon's silly games for long enough.

With a mighty pull of her strong (but not grotesquely muscled) arm, she opened the belly of the beast.

And then, with a smile to her audience, she plunged in her hand.

First to the wrist...

Then to the elbow...

Down, down, down into the deepest darkest corners she reached.

Finally, when there was no arm left to be plunged-in, Sunny felt something at her fingertips.

She stretched out her fingers as far as they would go, reaching in as far as she could.

And then suddenly, she screamed!

-{But not very loud, because this was an office first-and-foremost and Sunny was a respectful sort of person who thought about others and didn't want to disturb anyone who might be working, even though they should have been watching her amazing act of bravery.}-

"Oh no!" she cried.

"Oh no!" gasped the crowd.

-{Which was silly, because they couldn't possibly have known what they were gasping about.}-

The tension grew thicker and thicker as the crowd fell to silence.

Was Sunny okay?

With a worried grimace she bit her lip, and slowly began to pull her arm free of the beast.

First to her elbow...

Then to her wrist...

And then finally...

After many moments...

-{Many MANY moments...}-

Out came her hand!

-{And the thing she had grabbed, which was an errant piece of paper in case you were wondering. It was all crinkly and wrinkled and gross, but Sunny didn't mind because of her remarkable bravery and amazingness.}-

Sunny was okay!

The crowd broke into smiles and started to cheer.

Sunny had saved the day!

And the EngineerFriends rejoiced.

One of them even made a hat for Sunny out of the errant piece of paper, which she thought was very thoughtful but she didn't think she would wear because it was crinkly and wrinkly and gross... But she said thank you anyway, and told the EngineerFriend that she would keep it in a very special place because it was a very special hat.

And that was the tale of How Sunny Saved The Day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Your Password Will Expire...

Monday morning isn't exactly the pinnacle of greatness in my week.

In fact, it's about the opposite.

(Except that would make it the pit of despair, or something.. And that makes it sound super melodramatic. Melodrama is something we seek to avoid, and thus... I guess we'll just call it Monday morning.)

This morning wasn't all downhill. I did wake up on time. And looked at the clock, and said "Hmm... that should have gone off two minutes ago." Then I set the clock for eight minutes later (because even a sleep-deprived Sunny can be anal-retentive about her round numbers) and went back to sleep. And promptly snoozed for 56 minutes (that's 8 hits of the snooze button), at which point bed needed to be rocketed out of in order for the morning's schedule to commence accordingly. 

Which has pretty much set the standard for the rest of my morning.

Over the weekend, I partied too hard. I went to a restaurant that sets my tummy into fits of Rawr, so I've spent most of the weekend feeling (and looking) like a pregnant beluga. I watched a football game late into the evening, so I'm sporting some very healthy bags under my eyes. I haven't done laundry in the better part of a fortnight**, so I'm down to the bottom-of-the-barrel clothes-wise. I haven't gone grocery shopping in a week, either, so I'm scraping the bottom of the unhealthiest choices in my pantry for nutrition. And I've been napping like a crazy person, so I can't even argue that it's a busy schedule keeping me from living a healthy lifestyle.

Anyway, all of these choices have led me to feel less-than-stellar today. My shirt is too small and my jeans have a hole between the thighs. I'm not wearing makeup and I forgot my rings. My skin isn't fitting properly, and every time I move something smells funny in my cube, and even though I showered this morning, I suspect it might be me.

This is the type of morning totally befitting a Monday. And thus, when I got to the office this morning... I had to change my password.


The tiny little message is so unassuming:

Your password will expire in 0 days. Would you like to change it now?

OK | Cancel

It's a setup. You can't really cancel. You HAVE to change your password. If you hit cancel, you can go about your business for exactly 45 minutes, until you forget that you didn't change your password and you step away to go pee and accidentally lock yourself out of your computer and your password expires, so you have to go beg the IT guy to please let you in to your computer... All while he sighs and asks why you didn't just change it before.

"Well, ninny, why didn't you change it before now?" you must be asking, just like IT guy. "Don't they give you a warning?"

Well of course they do. They give me 14 days. Which isn't nearly long enough to be clever and witty in devising a new password.

Here's the basic scoop:
One must come up with a new password every 40 days. (I would say something witty about Organized Religion here, if I weren't worried about offending the masses. Or at least the masses who read this blog. Hi, masses! Look at me, trying not to offend you!)

That's just enough time to get settled in to a pattern where you remember your password without looking at the little sticky you hid underneath your frog-soap-dish-that-functions-as-a-business-card-holder to remind you of your last bout of password creativity. After all, the safety of your workstation and the company depends on the strength of your password! Without a strong password, any schmuck could wander into the company and start firing off messages about impending doom and free barbeques at lunchtime. I just can't have that responsibility hanging on my shoulders.

So, every 26 days (when the error message first pops up), I try to get clever. I think about what passwords I've used in the past, and how I can modify them ever so slightly so I don't go completely bonkers when I try to remember just what, exactly, I changed it to on day 41.

But it can't be as easy as a-b-c or 1-2-3. You must use at least one capital letter. You must use at least one lowercase letter. And you must use a number or a symbol.

Which means I usually end up with something terribly clever like aBc1@3 .

Yeah, good fun. Totally rememberable... Except unacceptable.

Corporate doesn't accept patterns, either.

So I try to go with the season. Snowflake... Pumpkin... Patriot... they've all been victims in the past.

Or I try to go with a current hobby. Knitting... Medieval... yup, they've worked it too.

But eventually, one runs out of creativity.

And eventually, one runs out of days to push off their finding-of-creativity, and one must just make a decision and go with it.

So one looks around ones office, and comes up with something that their eyes will settle on every morning just to get them past the little blinking error message of doom...

So for the next 40 days, one ends up peeking under the frog-soap-dish-that-functions-as-a-business-card-holder to remind oneself to type in ScotchTape! every time a password is requested.

And then your pattern gets shaken up with a swirly-whirly swizzle stick of corporate doom, and you start all over again.

** Two weeks. You should read some Shakespeare.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Think, Therefore, It Is

I have a very active imagination. 

(In case there were any doubts... I can write cleverly on an almost-kind-of-schedule about my boring office life. Take that.)

I've *always* had a very active imagination.

As a child, I would have these weird, vivid dreams that were almost nightmares but they were super-realistic and involved things-that-actually-happened-in-my-life... Which was even more traumatic and terrifying because I would inevitably get myself into a situation that mimicked the almost-nightmare, and then end up in a blind panic that could only be soothed by bright lights and human companionship.

Like the night I dreamed that Mister Lucas (yes, the young man from Mensware in "Are You Being Served?") was chasing me up the hill from my grandmother's house, and the only way to escape his demonic bloodlust was to run fast, because we were linked by this inexplicable energy bond where the faster I moved, the less energy was available to him so he slowed down, and vice versa. But if he was moving fast, I could speed up and slow him down. Which was helpful, because dying a horrible, angry death at the tearing hands and pointy teeth of an angry red-eyed Englishman was a terrifying thought. So, of course, the next day I had to walk home from my Grandmother's house, and I took off from her driveway in a dead run to make it home before Mister Lucas even crested the hill. I finally made it home, completely exhausted and too wound up to eat dinner.

As an adult, I still have the weird, vivid dreams that are almost nightmares but are super-realistic and involve things-that-actually-happen-in-my-life. And it's still traumatic, because now my brain turns my friends into monsters (and the people I don't like into beasties beyond mention) and I wake up terrified but unable to seek solace because I've convinced myself that my boyfriend won't comfort me so much as chew my ears off in a fit of rage. I can even convince myself, on really bad nights, that my pillow and my Stuffed Monkey Friend are devising a plot to smother me in my sleep. But that's just the really bad nights. Sometimes I just flail about and drool.

As a child, I couldn't watch scary movies because I would convince myself that the scariness would come right out of the screen and get me. That glass-and-plastic box was never strong enough to contain the horrors that flashed across the screen. In fact, something that scary could only happen in real life, so it must be happening inside my television and is just waiting for the right moment when my parents are off fixing dinner or changing over the laundry to pop out and scar me for life.

Like in Matilda, which forever doomed me to nervous-hamster-dom whenever I was in a stairwell. Or in Scary Movie 4, when I was convinced that I had to wear the right undies every day in case some crazy horny ghost decided to ravage me in the night.

As an adult, I still can't watch scary movies but have more say over what comes onto my television screen and where I happen to be when something undesirable is on. And, on the off chance I DO watch something scary, I just live with the consequences for a little while and then come to terms with the fact that it was fictitious. Although, I still can't go into my basement in the nighttime or without bright lights (and usually a basement-buddy) because of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." And I have trouble standing in the bathroom alone looking into the mirror because of "The Long Kiss Goodnight." And that one time we were watching Eureka and the mummy snuck up and placed her hand on Fargo's shoulder just as Boyfriend of Amazingness went to comfort me from the scariness by placing *his* hand on *my* shoulder was kind of petrifying. But I digress.

As a child, I would invent these scary monsters that inhabited different parts of my home and school that would attack me if I turned my back for a moment. They were more than just generic creepers that would slink about in the shadows and jump out to frighten me. They were malicious bloodsuckers with a hunger for human flesh, that could only be quenched by partaking of my pathetic appendages.

Like the couch monster, who likes to grab people as they dangle their just-too-short-to-reach-the-floor feet off of the edge of the couch, and chew off their toes. Or the monster that lived in kitchen sinks and waited for you to be washing the dishes to reach up and grab your wrists and pull you into the soapy water head first so you drowned a miserable drowny death with little chunks of vegetables and pasta decorating all your facial orifices.

As an adult, I have pretty much moved past the monster stage. I can sit on the couch by myself with my feet on the floor and be fairly brave. (Unless it's nighttime. All bets are off at night.) I can do dishes almost any time of day. But I still have one problem:

The Flush Man.

The Flush Man is a horrible angry beast that lives in the water trap of the toilet. It's usually calm and quiet. It sleeps peacefully all day, until one pivotal moment arrives:

The flushing of the toilet in an empty bathroom.

And not just any bathroom. The Flush Man rarely inhabits home toilets: It much prefers the comfort and companionship (and choice of digs) found in Corporate Toilet Rooms. I don't know if men's restrooms have them... But I can tell you for certain that every single female restroom I've encountered EVER has one.

Now, this is not for the choice of prey. In fact, I have never had an encounter with the Flush Man when I had a bathroom buddy. No, it much prefers the game of picking off individual victims without witnesses around. It plays a very clever game to entice its prey into its waiting jaws. Almost purely psychological, it goes like this:

At your second-to-most immobilized moment, just after you stood back up and have started to rearrange your clothing, it sends you a mental vibe.

"I'm awake... And I'm waiting for you."

This sets your hands to shaking, so you inevitably bind some piece of wardrobe into another piece of wardrobe, like catching the pretty pink bow on your undies in the zipper of your jeans or tying the edge of your shirt into the tie of your skirt. But you are too flustered and worried to think about this. You MUST exit the bathroom! Let your coworkers see your pretty pink bow. Let them think you got dressed in the back of a pickup. Your life is in *danger*!

You contemplate washing your hands before you flush, but that leaves the awkward scenario for someone to walk in upon where they take off on a rant about the uncleanliness of the restroom because it couldn't *possibly* be you because why would you not flush the toilet and walk out to wash your hands? and so you don't. You put your hand on the doorknob of the stall and you reach out to flush the toilet with the tip of your toes. And just as you make contact with the lever...


He screams inside your head, glaring his big ugly eyes inside your brain, and you whip the door open, sending it crashing into the stall wall next to you. You run to the sink, make a pitiful attempt at getting water out of the faucet and paper towel out of the automatic paper-towel-dispenser-that-can-sense-fear-and-will-not-respond-to-frantic-hand-wavings-no-matter-how-wet-your-hands-might-be, and finally give up and run out of the bathroom, turning off the light as you go. Because everyone knows that Flush Men can only be lured back to their water-trap domains by turning out the lights so they can't see anymore. (And then you wash your hands with hand sanitizer, but only after you've walked calmly back to your desk and shot a confused look at any coworkers who appear to be wondering in your direction about the hubbub from the potty room.)

Goodness only knows what fate may meet the unfortunate flusher who dawdles after flushing in a public restroom. Does the Flush Man come flying out of the bowl like Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter, swirling about and creating a doom-vortex around his victims? Does it swiftly and silently flow like water from a clogged drain, and dissolve his victims from the ankles up as they try to dry their hands from his accomplice, the paper-towel-dispenser-of-doom? Or perhaps his bloodlust runs like the werewolves - only at particular moments (like when the flush engages) and goes away once the tank is full, so if you survive those first few moments, you're okay.

I shudder to think.

But even more...

I shudder, because I have to pee.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Steak and Cheese, FTW

I'm not 100% certain which deity invented hiccups... But it was one with an irksome sense of humor.

I spent the brunt of yesterday hicc-ing around my office and causing general mayhem. This is unfortunate on a number of levels:

1) Hiccups aren't very lady like. And in an office, anything unladylike must be excused. Which means I have to say "Please excuse me" after every hiccup... Which is about every 18 seconds.

2) Hiccups hurt. I've always been an overachiever, so my hiccups are more like full-body heaves. My diaphram goes beyond the realm of the normal contraction: it attempts to implode my ribcage. So I end up making this weird "gasp" after every hiccup. Which is unsettling, both to me as my body collapses around itself, and to onlookers who think I've been taken with an apopleptic fit.

3) Hiccups aren't exactly office-friendly. As noted previously, it's been quiet lately. There's no noise to drown out my intense "HIC-uh." "HIC-uh." So people around the office go "What's that?" and toddle out to see The Source Of The Incredible Noise. And believe you me, there's nothing so exciting on a dreary afternoon as settling in for a pleasant game of "Watch The Receptionist In Her Fit of Uncontrollable Gastric Joy."

4) Hiccuping into the phone makes me sound like a nincompoop.

There is a typical chain of events that occurs with the onset of hiccups. It typically goes like this:

<little hic> 
Me: Hmm... Maybe it was just a burp.
<slightly larger Hic>
Me: Nothing to fret about. It's coinci <HIC-uh.>
Me: Fuck.

From here, I sit quietly for a moment and think about the hiccups. Are they induced by anything in particular that I could change? Are they tasting like anything I ate that I could counteract with something different? Are they really going to make my ribcage implode?

Once I'm sick of that game, and have accepted the realization that I am indeed doomed to die a painful and tragic Hiccup Death if I don't do *something*, I begin my counterattack.

STEP ONE: Holding The Breath.

Any schoolchild who ever succumbs to hiccups can tell you: The first defense is the holding of the breath. Goodness knows why it works... Maybe it's the throwing-off of the normal equilibrium that pushes everything into appropriate action. Maybe it's just a time-killer until the everything settles in to normal again. Or maybe it's a Commie plot. In any case, it was my first attempt at a return to normalcy.

This must be carefully planned. One cannot go all willy-nilly with their breath holding: a certain sequence of events must be followed. A deep inhalation, a settling into the chair and a closing of the eyes to await the peaceful calm...

And the phone rings.

Not once. Not twice. Four different phone calls, interrupting four different breath-holdings. Four. 

Every time it happens I breathe out, answer the phone, realize I need to breathe in, and it sounds like this:

<pick up phone>
Me: Good afternoon, this is <HIC-uh>. Ugh. Excuse me. Hi. How can I help you?

Client: Hiccups? Have you tried holding your breath?

STEP TWO: Ingesting Something Crazy To Make Them Stop.

As a child, I was taught that there are a number of homeopathic cures for hiccups. I was given small shots of whiskey, teaspoons of sugar, tablespoons of honey, peanut butter sandwiches... You name it, I ingested it in the name of science and getting-me-to-stop-hicc-ing-around-the-house. Unfortunately, unprepared as I am at the office, my only solution was sugar. 

Which was still a remarkable endeavor.

First, I had to obtain sugar. Not entirely difficult in an office, but still. It required going into the kitchen and grabbing a great gaumy** handful of 1 oz. sugar packets and a paper cup, and then sneaking back to my desk and not looking entirely guilty of snitching them.

From there, each individual packet is opened and dumped into the cup. This leaves my trashcan full of sugar wrappers and me looking like an incompetent addict with white powder all over my desk.

Eventually, enough sugar will accumulate in the bottom of my cup that it is scoopable with a spoon.

From which point it goes like this:

<insert spoon into mouth, start swishing sugar about to try to regain proper control of tongue>
<splutter of sugar all over desk>


Okay, trying again

<insert spoon into mouth, start swishing sugar about to try to regain proper control of tongue>
<Phone ring>
<prematurely attempt to swallow sugar-spit, choke slightly, gasp>
Me: Good afternoon, this is <HIC-uh>. Sorry. Excuse me. <sigh> Hi, how can I help you?
Client: Hiccups? Have you tried eating something?

STEP THREE: Alcohol.

Thankfully, this step didn't need to be implemented until after quitting time. I went home, and unsuccessfully tried to drown my hiccups in rum. When that didn't work, I tried Klondike bars. And then finally, after wasting a solid portion of my evening trying to make them go away, they subsided because I stopped thinking about them and sat down to eat my dinner.

And thus... steak and cheese, For The Win.

** This word has a little red squiggle under it. I tried lots of different spellings but couldn't find anything to call it out as properly spelled. Finally, I googled and came up with this result:

"'Gaumy' is [a] great Maine word for something kind of messy or awkward."