Here we are, folks. The final two reasons why I'll never forget my stint at the Report.
2. The Anti-Virus Campaign
My first computer at the Report had a green cursor and no images--that's how out-of-date things were with the magazine's limited budget. Eventually I was given a real computer.
Since I was often on the crime beat, covering unspeakable atrocities (such as the Rebecca Bluff case), I had to do some less-than-pleasant research. One day, I (tech savvy person that I was) discovered that my computer was no longer working. Rapidly turning it off and on--on-off-on-off-on-off--didn't solve the issue.
Tony, the computer tech guy, was appalled that I hadn't updated my anti-virus software. I had viruses coming out of my yin-yang. I thought that he would have taken care of things such as that--I was a writer with the tender heart of a poet, not the sort to attract vicious and brutal computer viruses. I took my computer's illness as a personal affront.
Alas! My computer fell ill a second time, since I did not actually know how to update the protection that Tony had installed on my computer. (I had merely nodded my head and said, "Uh huh.") This time, I accused my computer of having loose morals.
It was then that I took decisive action. Kevin Steel had purchased a nativity set for the Christmas cover photo, and the pieces of this set were just sitting around. Why not ask a higher power to care for my computer--and all the computers around the office? And so I took a sheep, a donkey, etc., and placed one gently, reverently, on the top of every computer.
It was an unfortunate coincidence that another news agency came in (armed to the hilt with video cameras) shortly thereafter to do a piece on the Report. Everyone was a little ill at ease because the Report did not always garner positive attention. (I have no idea why. We were nice folks. Albertans.)
It was unlucky, too, that a puzzled reporter with the other news agency said to Kevin Steel, "What's with the nativity pieces on the computers?"
"It's our anti-virus software," Kevin said, quite seriously, before moving on.
The strange thing is that I never again had a virus on that computer. Tony could have learned a thing or two.
1. What Happens at the Water Cooler . . .
Ah, the water cooler. The place where thirsty reporters converge to share a drink and a tidbit of news or gossip.
I never really understood how water coolers worked. I assumed that the water that dribbled into the drip tray went somewhere. Did it go back to join the ocean from whence it came? Did the liquid leak into Narnia, or Atlantis? I did not know.
What I did know was that it was a long walk from my desk to the restroom. And I had little patience for disposing any leftovers (rinds and leftover liquids and such) in the restroom garbage. So I simply walked the few steps to the water cooler and dropped the liquids and any other remains that would fit into the drip tray. It was an easy and efficient method.
One day Dave Stevens said, "Hey, have you guys noticed a smell lately?" I had not.
Then David said, "Seriously, I think the smell is coming from around here." He circled around the vicinity of the water cooler, sniffing the air with great concentration. Kevin Steel joined him, equally bewildered.
"That's strange," they said.
It was then that I understood the truth about water coolers. And about myself. This was a profound moment of clarity--a moment I will never forget.
I snorted, and tried to choke down the laughter. I failed miserably. Kevin Steel raised an eyebrow.
I then confessed. Kevin Steel removed the drip tray to discover the moldy horrors within. No Narnia! No Atlantis! It was truly a moment I'd never forget, and the muscles of my stomach still recall the workout I got trying to contain my mirth.
Thank you, dear Report, for these memories.