My Father’s Son

I don’t like change. I am not opposed to it so much as I live in fear of it upsetting the natural balance of my life where everything is working and nothing is broken so I’m allowed to take naps. This is the same for work as for home, only I have to nap on my feet.

At work on Friday I had the opportunity to go to my happy place while standing at the photocopier flipping pages and pressing the green button. I had a pile two inches thick with a couple of bound financials and some letters and statements. It was a mind-numbingly tedious job so I drifted off and thought pleasantly of food.

“Use the book binder,” a colleague of mine suggested over my shoulder, reefing me back to the present.

“I’m fine,” I said. I’d noticed the binder maker which had appeared beside the photocopier a few weeks ago. Noticed it and rejected it. It looked like the sort of thing which could ruin a day and deprive me of my pasta-dreams.

But my colleague was insistent.

“It’ll be quicker. You really should use it,” she said.

I was insistent back.

“No. I’m good. I like doing it this way.”

She rolled her eyes at my stubbornness and then held her hand out. “Give it here.” She wanted me to relinquish the book I was photocopying so she could unbind it for me.

I reiterated my case.

“No.” It probably sounds like I’m being rude. I wasn’t. I was just in a hurry to return to my thought kitchen.

“Look,” she said, “it’s so much quicker.” And with that she picked up the second bound book from a pile beside me. “I’ll show you.”

Then she proceeded to thread the the bound book onto the spikes of the book binder and open up the rings, allowing the pages of the book to be removed so they could be fed easily through the machine. While she worked I continued to turn each page on the financials I was working on, lowering it to the glass top and pressing the button.

In hardly any time at all my colleague spun to face me, the loose papers in her hand and a smug look on her face.

“See?” she said. “Now they’re much easier to put through the machine.”

I glanced at the sheets she was holding without reaching for them.

“Actually I’ve already copied those ones,” I told her, and went back to flipping over the pages one at a time.

There was a pause.

“You shit,” she said.

“Don’t worry,” one of the other girls called over to her. “Karma will get him.”

“I think it already has,” said my colleague as she struggled to thread the loose sheets back onto the spikes.

“Have you met my ex wife?” I asked her.

“No,” she said. “I’ve met your children.”


It turns out remaking the book takes a lot more time than pulling it apart. By the time she’d threaded all the pages back onto the spikes and remade the book I’d finished copying everything I needed and gone for a coffee, any hint of change to my pleasantly boring routine deftly avoided for another day.


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