Normally, I save stories of shenanigans for my other blog, Musings of Řehoř. Writing my last article, “Greasing The Skids of Communication” however, reminded me of a funny story. I hope you’ll indulge me while I share of a bunch of 20-something people with a lot of youthful exuberance.
There were sometimes disagreements between the shops at the place I wrote about in that article. They were mostly between the front shop (where I worked) and the back shop. Many times those disagreements stemmed from differing interpretations of guidance from the home office. At other times we might be in dispute over the exact wording of a Monty Python quote or rivalries between sports teams. No matter the reason, we occasionally found ourselves at odds with “those guys.”
One time, during a stretch of midnight shifts, we decided to declare war against the back office. It’s hard to remember what the disagreement was, but no doubt our honor was besmirched in some way or another. The fact that midnight shifts were sometimes boring and filled with idle time probably didn’t help matters much, either.
Don’t Try This At Home, Kids – We Were Trained Professionals
One of our team, Jerry if I remember correctly, devised a way to make a paper wad launcher. The office in which we worked was a computer room with an elevated floor. In a corner behind some spare equipment he found some brackets which were designed to hold the floor tiles together. He also rounded up some plastic “zip” wire ties, rubber bands, binder clips and butterfly-style paper clips.
The binder clip was attached to the bracket with a wire tie, and this served as the trigger and firing mechanism. He reshaped the butterfly paper clip into a piece resembling a sling shot which was attached to the front of the bracket. To that he attached the rubber band. Viola – he created a very serviceable paper wad launcher. We found some paper towel cores to use as a stock for the butt end to finish off the weapons.
Another of our group declared himself “commander” of our skirmishers. He gathered an army consisting of ten of members of our team. Plans were made to march to the other office in two ranks of five. We would stop in formation in front of our “enemy” and engage them Revolutionary War style. Upon the command to fire, the first rank would fire, then immediately kneel to reload. While the first rank members reloaded their paper wad shooters, the second rank would fire over their heads.
While we carefully crafted our weapons and paper ammunition under Jerry’s tutelage, our ersatz commander drafted a formal declaration of war against the back shop. It was quite flowery, written in what we thought was appropriate colonial style wording. It was dispatched by messenger to a no doubt quite befuddled group in that office.
Just after the time indicated in our declaration of war for the commencement of hostilities, we assembled in ranks and marched down the long hallway to the other shop. We must have been quite a site to the “noncombatants” going to a fro in and out of the other offices conducting their business.
The entrance to the back shop’s office was a double door, which was just wide enough for us to march through in our formation. When we got into position our “commander” shouted the order for the first rank to load and fire. The looks on the faces of the “enemy” soldiers was absolutely precious. They stood there with their eyes wide open and their mouths hanging open at the spectacle of us launching our volley of paper wads at them.
Each rank completed three volleys of fire before the “commander” shouted out the orders which guided us to march back to our office area. As we left, the workers of the back shop yelled various insults at us and threw paper wads in our direction. It didn’t matter, the field was ours and we carried the day.
We made incursions into their office at random times over the next few nights. It didn’t take long for them to start building paper wad launchers of their own, either. Eventually, though, someone a little more mature than us put a stop to our war, declaring a permanent cease fire. There was talk about it being fun until someone had an eye put out.
One of the highlights of this whole time was the mortar my friend Scott made with the cardboard tube left over from the paper roll for a plotter printer. He rigged it with a number of very large rubber bands which made it capable of launching a toilet plunger into the air towards an enemy formation some 20 feet away. It was quite ingenious.
I still laugh when I think about this event. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed the retelling.