Everything I ever needed to know I learned from a bag of cat food

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July 14, 2017 by Jenny

This morning I made a huge mistake by not going to work on time. Not because I’m a grown up and I’m generally supposed to go to work on time, but because I missed out on a “suspicious package” incident involving the bomb squad! (For those of you who just took a sharp breath and thought: I would not have placed an exclamation point at the end of that sentence; I assure you, there was never any real or perceived threat based upon the collective IQ of the people I work with.) I will start in the middle of this story and work my way out because I think we all could benefit greatly from the lessons learned as a result of today’s situation.

Allow me to begin: the package in question contained cat food. With a note on it that read: “Cat food.”

(No matter how much I drink, I cannot make things like this up. Which begs the question: am I not drinking enough??)

Let’s circle back to the beginning. At some point this morning, likely before I was even in any sort of a coherent state to make the decision to not be a grown up or go to work on time, someone at work foolishly, ignorantly placed a bag containing cat food in someone else’s cubicle. Allegedly under the desk in a seemingly dark and suspicious location. And again, allegedly with a note that read: “Cat food.”

But alas, I was not there because I was asleep, so for all I know this bag was sitting in the middle of the most high-traffic aisle in the office and was actually labeled: “Do not open this bag because you will die.”

Regardless, this action alone raises many questions. Let’s consider one at a time.

First. Why can’t my co-workers afford to buy their own cat food? We get paid well for reasons unknown to all of us. We can afford to feed our pets.

Which brings up the next question, is it possible said co-worker is a “Cat Lady” and can afford to feed the first 10 cats but perhaps not the second 10? (I put “Cat Lady” in quotes because I consider myself to be one, except I don’t want to be associated with the people mentioned in today’s post.)

And onto the next question: How much cat food was actually in the bag? What type of cat food was in the bag? Is it possible that cat food in large quantities retains the same properties as fertilizer? I would think this could be a possibility for freshly urinated-on cat litter, but cat food? (Now is a good time to confess I got a D in high school chemistry, so I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that question.)

Also, I keep coming back to why we are snooping around on the floor under other people’s desks in cubicles that are not ours?? Rule #1 of Kindergarten: Don’t do this.

Moving on to the next question: regardless of the type and quantity of cat food or fertilizer-like or not-like qualities, what part of the cat food warrants it to be of a “suspicious” nature? I have two cats myself (this is a true story, I am not trying to downplay my own Cat Lady status by subtracting 10 from the number I give to people). This makes me an Expert on all things related to cat food. I for one have never felt alarmed, frightened, or suspicious of any cans or packages in the cat food aisle at the grocery store.

However, with that said, I cannot say the same for any man who has tried to court me and come to my house and seen my 2 (+/- 10) cats and their associated food bowls always overflowing and always in multiple locations…

Wait, this is good!! I believe we have answered the Whodunit Question: clearly, the person who called in this “suspicious package” was a man!

Now that we have that part of the mystery solved, let’s move on to what happened next. Said man sees the scary cat food bag allegedly hiding under someone’s desk, freaks out, and calls it in. That section of the building is evacuated and the squad arrives with machine guns, apparently with orders to take out any cat or person lurking in a corner or abusing copy machine privileges.

By this point I have actually gotten out of bed and started to think about going into work. My phone starts blowing up from all of my friends involved in the excitement. I think how lucky I am to have avoided confrontation with the machine guns and starved cannibalistic cats, and basically saved my own life without even realizing it. WELL DONE, SELF! And who says being irresponsible doesn’t pay off?

I text my boss and ask if I really need to come in since they are all hiding under tables, anyway, which doesn’t really bode well for my own productivity level. She says no, I need to come in. I question her judgment.

I don’t feel that if my entire work team dies that I have to go down with them. There is no I-want-to-die in “team.”

But the boss lady informs me that our section of the building is not on lockdown.  I wonder: the people directly next door to us, separated only by a door that we always leave open, are on lockdown, the squad has made their presence intrusively known, and yet we are supposed to keep working?

(Again, I cannot even make these things up.)

This unfortunately brings up a whole new set of questions on why our lives don’t matter/isn’t our work just as important as theirs/is the agency TRYING to kill us all/how come they always get out of work and we don’t/to include why they get a Keurig in their break room and we don’t/and so on.

Though I don’t think I even have to discuss possible answers to those questions because the truth is quite clear. I am guessing they probably get bigger bonuses than us, too. (Suddenly I feel jealous. I’M the one who should be getting free cat food hidden under my desk from my co-workers.)

Well, I’m told the situation eventually worked itself out and I eventually arrive at the office in a ready-to-work state (mainly consisting of gossiping about this morning’s events, obtaining eyewitness accounts, and interviewing everyone not involved for their take on What Really Happened).

Later on in the afternoon, we receive an agency-wide email that instructs us, in the future, to please do the following:

  1. Let people know–wait for this–AHEAD OF TIME–if you are leaving something on their desks,
  2. Don’t hide things under people’s desks to avoid possibly traumatizing them,
  3. Don’t snoop around desks that are not yours to find and locate all non-suspicious packages (this is not a Pokemon game), and
  4. If you really MUST leave something on someone’s desk and simply cannot help yourself, to clearly label the bag with it contents, detailed description, date packaged, names of the sender and receiver, date received, description of how the bag was packaged, names of everyone who witnessed the bag being packaged, thoughts and feelings of all witnesses during the packaging event (whether related to the contents of the bag or not), and a detailed list of everything that is NOT in the bag.

Lastly, the email concludes with: “If you see something, say something.” Great advice. Personally, I see that I work with a lot of people who probably didn’t do well in Kindergarten.

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