Ask not for whom the World's Smallest Violin wails; it wails for thee.

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?

Poor baby! How he suffered!

I’m always deeply touched by those bemoaning the high cost of Nannies, private schools, piano lessons/dance lessons/sports practices - especially when they’re whining to someone who’s struggling to put groceries on the table every week. Your poor children are driven to the stables in *last year’s *BMW?? Oh the horror!!!

Any possibility your co-worker is illiterate or nearly so? These sorts of “having to find a word or name in a list” complaints often come from people for whom reading is a significant chore or actually impossible. In which case I sympathize; it’s tough being an adult who can’t read in modern society, and it’s much more difficult to learn as an adult than as a child.

Love the title and the writing of your tale. Perhaps he just needed to add a star, or a crown, or something to mark “The Middle of the List”.

You realize, of course, that he has now given you permission to fuck with him massively. Start moving his name around, a different position every few hours. After a day or three of that, start swapping out his strip with a custom-made one with his name mis-spelled. Then glue his strip 5 spots from the bottom.

You’re clearly dealing with The King Of The World here. The fun really starts when you have two Kings in the same workplace.

Nope, dude is totally literate, with an advanced degree. We’re a consulting firm- the product we produce is written reports. He’s done hundreds.

The only other possibility is that the whining was a smokescreen, and that the real reason he wants to see his name on top is just that it would somehow gratify his ego. The problems with this idea are (a) he’s never been much of an egotist, but has certainly done his share of pathetic whining before, and (b) that explanation is even more pathetic. Somehow.

That was my thought, too. If he’d sketched a doodle of a chicken on his nametag or something, it’d be easy to find, and people would be laughing with, not at, him.

I’m a little ashamed of myself that I didn’t think of this. :frowning:

I thought nothing could be more amusing than the OP’s tale, and his writing style. Then this, you are so bad. Can you imagine? The guy would have a complete and total nervous breakdown, and would have to go out on disability.

Wow, I thought I was a whiner, this guy takes the cake.:slight_smile:

That guy should certainly change his name to Aaron Aaronofski.

Perhaps Cow-orker is fucking with you all?

Even worse is when lives are lost due to such a time crunch.

For instance, my medical cow-workers cannot possibly be expected to start a new pot of coffee in the lounge when the old one runs dry or has two teaspoonfuls left in the pot. It takes all of 20 seconds to dump the old grounds, put in a filter, open a new packet of brew, dump it in and hit the “on” switch.

During those 20 seconds, someone could be dying of anaphylactic shock, renal failure or M.I., and our heroic docs wouldn’t be available to save them because they’re getting a new pot of coffee started!

That could be a cause of death on my next autopsy report. “Doctor X felt he was obliged to start a new pot of coffee. If he’d been an inconsiderate jackass, this man would still be alive.” :frowning:

Note related to the OP tale: Magnets come in many colors – some in two or three colors – and can be decorated or marked with ink, tape, paint, nail polish, etcetera.

Cue the nano-symphony:
Coworker got into SCUBA and free diving two years ago. Eighteen months ago, when his grandfather died and left an inheritance to coworker’s father, coworker came up with the bright idea of buying a “family” boat.
Coworker’s dad agreed; father & son went shopping and agreed on a 40-foot boat that includes a full galley and downstairs refrigerator.
Coworker’s Dad likes to take the boat out 4 times a year, having fun churning up the ocean and sitting in the middle of nowhere with the whole family lounging in the sun while he cooks a fancy meal for lunch and plays 50’s music loud enough to be heard on land.
Coworker takes the boat out 4 times a week (or more) to go spear fishing and/or lobster diving. [He gave about 30 lobsters to the executives and bragged that he had another 30 in his garage freezer if they wanted more.]
Coworker has been loudly complaining to anyone who will listen (including calling up his diving buddies out-of-the-blue) saying the boat he’s using is too big, too tough to maneuver, takes too much gas, can’t be hauled by his small truck, and doesn’t have room for extra SCUBA tanks because the stupid stove, oven, beer tap, sink, and refrigerator take up valuable space. He’d rather have a 25- to 30-foot boat that would handle his diving needs much better.

I hear this guy whine to his buddies on the phone and just think, “You ungrateful leech! You don’t like what your father bought for himself with his inheritance? GO BUY YOUR OWN FUCKING BOAT!”

Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.

I almost wish we had something like this so I could fuck with it and a special snowflake on the roster would be a fabulous windfall. I’d start small, but eventually I think everyone’s names would be replaced with those of historical figures or sports celebrities. Probably a lot of possibilities with the column headers too.

Moving the name around has potential for amusement. But honestly, is way to obvious and predictable.

Hang a second board beside the first and move whiney-butts tag to it.

Be sure to draw a nice princess tiara and unicorns with rainbows on the second board as well.

Why doesn’t he just lobby to have the list re-drawn from Z to A instead?

Silly co-worker…

Haunted Pasta, I just want you to know that I’m holding my lighter up in siltent tribute! That was BEAUTIFUL! :smiley:

Now, now. You know how we feel about avatars around here.

Moving his tag around is so low. Just make a couple more of his tag, randomly placed on the board, would be much lower. Taking it off once in a while would be even lower.

Randomly mixing the entire board daily and letting Sweet-pea know (that others know it is not) that it’s in order of the boss’s good (or bad) list.