I fear I may be cultivating a reputation at the office.
Ordinarily, I don’t put much stock in what other people think of me. For starters, I don’t really believe I’m worth thinking about: a writer and journalist in a mid-sized capital city of a semi-large province of a semi-important country on a semi-important planet in an area of the Milky Way Galaxy which, judging from the continued absence of aliens, is the proverbial Nebraska of the universe.
In all that vastness, why should I care about how people see me at work?
But I think it was a moment at a pizza party. The last slice, you see.
“Tim’ll finish it,” they said.
Just like that. Not a question. A statement of fact. Tim. Will. Finish. It.
And in that moment, I realized: I have become the office garburator.
It’s my own fault, and I make no excuses for that. I’ve always been the guy to go around post-meetings, post-birthdays, post-quarterly-mitzvahs, etc., scrounging up the leftover passed hors d’oeuvres like some kind of Office Krampus collecting tributes.
What can I say? Free food shouldn’t go to waste.
It’s a philosophy I had deeply drilled into me growing up. At Boy Scout camp, the mantra of “take all you want, BUT EAT ALL YOU TAKE” was hammered into us – in one case quite literally, with a wooden sign nailed atop the main lodge to hang over the dining table like the sword of damocles.
I also think my parents had an effect on that mentality, with both my father and mother coming from households used to WW2-style rationing. That, in turn, bled into coupon-scrounging and semi-hoarding that would make Storage Wars blush.
Then there’s the broader cultural upbringing. I still remember all those advertisements on public networks that shamed me from the ages of 6 to 14, informing me that there were starving orphans all over Africa, and any microscopic crumb I dared waste was a slap in the face to those hollow-eyed children.
You don’t see those ads much anymore, but in the back of my subconscious, I’ll always be thinking “Did we solve that problem? Why is nobody talking about starving orphans still? Did it go out of fashion because one of the celebs in the campaign made a holocaust joke on Twitter? Did STARVING AFRICA get hashtag-CANCELLED?
AAAAUGH maybe if I stuff my face with this month-old Halloween candy our accountant left out I’ll feel better.”
So yah, I’m definitely the guy that can be counted on to dispose of the leavings of the office. And like I said, under ordinary circumstances that reputation might not be an issue, but I’m worried now that it’s become widely understood that I will vacuum up the table scraps of the office, we’re reaching the point where it might become something else.
It could become a challenge.
Like, next thing I know my coworkers will quietly begin stocking up on things like Prairie Oysters or Escargot Balls or, god forbid, Boursin Cheese.* And they’ll troll me by leaving it out on little plates around the cubicles, and then lament, loudly, in my direction: “Oh dear! Isn’t SOMEONE going to finish this off?”
And like Pavlov’s dog, I will emerge, salivating, and scrounge up whatever concoctions they deem fit to test on my iron stomach.
But what can I say?
I gotta be me.
*you heard me.
Welcome to Ford on Fridays: a weekly column where Victoria Buzz staff writer Tim Ford offers his thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of the perfect joke.
This column is for comedic purposes only. Please feel free to send feedback, thoughts, and [constructive] criticisms to firstname.lastname@example.org.