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Dave Smallcalder continues his series on how to alleviate the ennui of life…


You’ve completed all your menial tasks or perhaps simply hit a brick wall.  The brain has gone numb, you’re running on basic motor skills, trying not to dribble onto the keyboard and it’s only 4:07pm, just under an hour to go until you can escape the confines of the office.  So what do you do?  You could surf the net for a bit but you’re almost certain the powers that be are be keeping tabs on your Internet usage.  So, there you are, your desktop, phone, notepad, someone else’s leftover coffee mug and time to kill.  Here is my idea to avoid the grinding process of ‘clock watching’.

Step 1:

You may find that your colleagues can be a touch too precious over their office supplies so with that in mind, acquire one of your colleagues most prized possessions such as their stapler. If they’re still in the office, this will require ninja stealth skills of the highest order.  You may wish to base your decision on the colleague who has on several occasions refused you usage of said office item.

Step 2:

Take a quick snapshot on your phone of the stapler then email it from your personal email to your work email. Now simply copy the image into word and get creative.

Potential title: ‘Held to Ransom’.

Basic content: ‘If you wish to see your beloved stapler again follow these simple instructions’. At this stage tailor it to suit your needs and/or surroundings. I tend to go with ‘Place a half a dozen eggs and three tomatoes at midnight behind the postbox at the south end of the bus station and take bus 13 to St John’s Church’. Reason for this is that these are typically the items I forget to purchase when doing my weekly shop, which puts a bit of a downer on cooking a full English Sunday morning. As for taking bus 13 to the church, there is no particular reason other than simply wanting to see how far one might go to retrieve a stapler.

End with: ‘No cops’ and/or ‘we are watching you’.

If you have somehow avoided the ‘phone with camera’ phenomenon, sketch the item instead on a piece A4. You could also use your lunchtime newspaper and cut out letters to formulate the content. This does add a slight touch of menace, I feel.

Step 3:

Carefully fold your printed or crafty ransom note and place into an envelope. Using your ninja skills, put the envelope exactly where you found the stapler once the chosen colleague has left for the day. And now it is home time! No need to thank me.

Step 4 (optional):

It’s then advised to be the first one into the office the next morning so you can return your colleagues possession and retrieve your ransom letter.  This is best practice for not ending up in a disciplinary meeting or potentially giving your colleague a heart attack. Obviously in retrieving the envelope and returning the stapler, you yourself may feel deflated and directionless. If this is the case, before returning the stapler, remove all the staples and hide them. That’ll show ‘em!

photo credit: via photopin cc

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