I have come to bear witness to my coworker’s tale of woe. As you read, you will no doubt hear the sad strains of the World’s Smallest Violin playing mournfully in the background. Perhaps, when you have finished, you, too, would like to share tales of those in your life who the World’s Smallest Violin should serenade. I only ask that we omit those in the SDMB community, though we may feel some are deserving of such an honor, as I would not like to see our stories be overtaken by arguments.
A few weeks ago, it was decided that our office should have a sign-in/sign-out board, on the wall next to the receptionist’s desk. This was a reasonable idea. The (correct) thinking was that it would enable the receptionist to correctly route calls for persons who were out to lunch or otherwise not in the office to their voice mails, instead of having calls go unanswered, followed by unsuccessful paging, etc. It would also cut down on anyone having to fruitlessly wander the halls looking for someone they needed, when the needed person was not, in fact, even here to be found. It seemed like such a sensible idea, but [forboding music] no one foresaw the horror that would be unleashed.
And so, a small magnetic white board was put into service. Each person’s first name was posted on a magnetic strip, and each person had a small magnet to be left in either the “In” or the “Out” column, as appropriate, as they came and went. The final column left room for persons who were out to note by dry-erase marker where they were and/or when they might be expected back.
But alas, the names were arranged in alphabetical order, starting at the top of the column! And there were nearly 20 of them! My poor coworker’s name was somewhere in the middle, which meant that every time he signed in or out, he would have to- tell me that this doesn’t make you shudder with fear- find his name in the middle of the list! Think of the inhuman effort and emotional toll this would take! The fractions of seconds, gone from his life forever! How, I ask you, could one bear such a burden? He complained over his grievous plight, decrying this heinous instance of man’s inhumanity to man, yet his anguished cries fell on deaf ears.
Days went by. People went to lunch, to dentist appointments, to off-site meetings with clients. Magnets moved between the “In” and “Out” columns. Each day, my coworker’s magnet would be in one or the other, but always on a particular row in the middle of the board, a chilling reminder of the torture his eyeballs had endured as they were forced to scan past names not his own. Impossibly, however, the situation was even worse than it appears, for some in the office ghoulishly recalled his lamentations with whispered mockery.
Now, many would doubtless have been broken by their attempts to endure such hardship, but this man is made of raw courage. After suffering the torment of repeatedly having to find his name in the middle of an alphabetized list of 19 for nearly a week, my dauntless coworker threw off the shackles of slavery and injustice and, seizing the initiative, moved the magnetic strip bearing his name to the top of the list. No longer does he cast his eyes downward to the latter half of the alphabet to find his name when moving his magnet to “Out” at lunchtime. No longer must he endure the agonizing tenths of seconds it took to locate his row on the board amidst the other unfortunates like Margo and Nancy and Stephen. His name today is displayed proudly out of order at the top of the list, locatable in an instant, an inspiring testimony to the indomitable human spirit and its ability to triumph over unimaginable adversity.
It is a formidable challenge, but are any readers able to present a story even more deserving of accompaniment by the World’s Smallest Violin?