Me Was Tarzan.

004There was a post-it note on the vending machine in the break room.

“Please stock some brownies. Thank you!”

The idea of passing along messages to the guy who stocked the vending machine had never occurred to me. I had once spent a frustrating half hour on the phone trying to get a 75 cent refund just because I’m one of those people who will get into a small thing and not know when to let go, although I never did get my 75 cents back, but that’s another story.

I went back to my office and grabbed a post-it note and added a message of my own.

“NO! TARZAN NO NEED BROWNIES!”

The next day I noticed the original note-writer had added something new.

“Don’t eat the brownies then Tarzan.”

Did I mention I’m one of those people who’ll get into a small thing and not know when to let go?

“Tarzan have poor impulse control. Too many brownies make vine break.”

At this point a third voice entered the conversation.

“Jane agrees. Tarzan doesn’t need the love handles.”

And apparently this discussion had gotten some attention because, based on the handwriting, a couple of other people got involved as well.

“Cheetah suggest counseling for Tarzan. Worked for elephant.”

“Elephant fall off wagon. Crash heard throughout jungle.”

In the midst of this there was a test of the building fire alarm which meant that everyone who worked there gathered in the parking garage next door. And as we all stood around in our little groups I looked around. This was an office building. People from at least half a dozen companies, and at least three more departments within the place I worked for, were there. Which of you is Jane? I wondered. Cheetah? Elephant? Are you here? They were complete strangers but I still considered them friends. They were kindred spirits. They’d enabled my foolishness.

I added a final note.

“Tarzan thank Cheetah. Will look into therapy. Perhaps have deeper unresolved issues.”

That was the final note because a short time later a co-worker asked me, “Are you Tarzan?”

“Yes,” I said, a little sheepishly. A large part of the fun was the anonymity. I was glad I didn’t recognize the others because it would have spoiled the illusion.

“Well I’d stay out of the break room. The delivery guy is pissed.”

And from down the hall I could hear boxes being slammed around. Later when he’d left all our notes were gone. I guess he had deeper unresolved issues.

And there were no brownies.

22 Comments

  1. Chuck Baudelaire

    How on earth did she know you were Tarzan? And why would a few goofy Post-Its enrage the vending machine guy? These are mysteries for another day, although now I may not sleep tonight.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I have a certain reputation around the office–when someone finds a rubber cockroach in their paperclip jar the first thing they yell is my name–but it was a lucky guess on her part. The vending machine guy wasn’t known for his friendliness and didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor either. And maybe he was angry that he didn’t have any brownies since they’d be a big seller.

      Reply
  2. Library Heather

    Sounds like the delivery guy had absolutely no sense of humor. If I’d been the delivery person, the message exchange would have made my day.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mine too! If nothing else I’d appreciate that people were taking an active interest in what was in the vending machine. And I’d be tempted to leave a note or two of my own.

      Reply
  3. Ray V.

    Issues. We all have our issues.
    Everybody is the same, but different.
    It’s good therapy to play with post-it notes.
    Have a great day and go find a brownie.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The best part of therapy with post-it notes is it contains zero calories. I’d like to find a brownie but I’m putting too much weight on the vines as it is.

      Reply
  4. Emily

    Oh, this was just the best start to my day.Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      And your comment has made my day. Thank you.

      Reply
  5. kdcol

    The delivery guy sounds like a wet blanket to me. What, was it too inconvenient to pull off a couple post-its? I’d laugh like hell if I was him. Hell, I laughed like hell just reading about it. Funny, Tarzan! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’m not sure why he even felt he needed to pull off the post-it notes. They weren’t in his way so he could have just left them there.
      Maybe he had problems dealing with people. That would explain why he was working as a vending machine delivery guy.

      Reply
  6. Margot

    That’s a great anonymous dialog you had going there. The delivery man must have been having a really bad day if he didn’t find it funny.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It really was a wonderful conversation and it actually improved my attitude about work knowing that I was sharing the building with kindred spirits. That was many years ago but now I’m thinking I should try and see if anything’s changed. My handwriting is distinctive but maybe I can coax a coworker into leaving a request for brownies…and Tarzan shall return.

      Reply
  7. Sandra

    Absolutely love this. I love how creative and witty you all were.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I loved it that I worked with other creative people. It made me feel like I belonged. Or that our talents were being wasted on dull routine office jobs.

      Reply
  8. Gina W.

    I would have joined in the post-it note conversation. I think it’s hilarious. Maybe the vending guy was pissed because he has no say in the ordering process– he just fills up the machine. Years ago we had an employee who wanted some really specific type of soda, like Diet Big Red. The vending company told us that they only stocked the items that sold the most but they honored the request. At the end of the month, I think there had only been like four cans of Diet Big Red sold, so it was pulled from the machine.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I didn’t realize Big Red came in a diet variety. That reminds me of Red Kreme Soda, so sweet it made your spit hurt. Yeah, I know there are limits on what they can stock and I feel bad if the vending guy couldn’t get brownies. Still it’s not like we were asking for something ridiculous like bacon soda.
      Bacon Soda

      Reply
  9. Jay

    That guy definitely didn’t have a sense of humour. I’m not sure how to take offense from any of that, but I suppose some people will manage. Still, it’s sad. It could have been a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary, monotonous day, but some people complain about the sun too.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The funny thing is every other person I’ve met who stocks vending machines has seemed nice, always smiling and happy to see people. Admittedly it’s a very small sample–I can count the number of people I’ve met who stock vending machines on one hand and have fingers left over.
      And I just remembered Joe Wenderoth, a writer and poet who worked stocking vending machines until he published and got successful enough that he now teaches creative writing.
      One of his first books was Letters To Wendy’s, a collection of notes he wrote on Wendy’s comment cards, like this one:
      “Today I bought a small Frosty. This may not seem significant, but the fact is: I’m lactose intolerant. Purchasing a small Frosty, then, is no different than hiring someone to beat me. No different in essence. The only difference, which may or may not be essential, is that, during my torture, I am gazing upon your beautiful employees.”

      Reply
  10. Jay

    p.s. I have that soda in my fridge

    Reply
  11. Ann Koplow

    You Tarzan. Me glad.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Me laughing at that comment.

      Reply
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