Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Paper/Finger Cutter

Posted on April 21, 2011

You’re the new temp, right? Welcome aboard. Let me give you a quick tour of the office.

Over here is the kitchen. Make sure to wash your dishes, or else Deborah the office manager will throw them away. Seriously. You’ll see what she’s like. The bathroom is down the hall to the right. If it’s ever out of supplies, there’s more of everything under the sink.

And, this here is the paper cutter. Have you ever used an industrial paper cutter before? No? Well, it’s pretty easy; you just line up one edge here and slide back the safety latch. Then, it’s zip zup, and there you go. It can cut up to fifty sheets of 90 pound cardstock at a time.

The only advice I can give you is to not think about cutting off your fingers. Whatever you do, don’t think about exactly that while using this machine.

Because, it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whoever worries about cutting off his or her fingers tends to do just that. I don’t know why.

I mean, I always give this same speech to every new temp. I say, “Whatever you do, do not picture yourself slicing off three and a half or four fingers on this would-be finger-slicing machine.” Yet, every time, they get a frightened, distracted look in their eyes. Then, they overcompensate or distrust their grip and adjust in the wrong direction, and then … hello, stumpy.

Gosh, you’d think they’d learn after hearing the many, many cautionary tales of fingers being severed. Sometimes, I’ll even stand behind them, whispering in their ear, “Hey, if you imagine bloody nubs where you knuckles are, that’s exactly what will happen. So try not to think about that.” And, you know what happens next---The Great Digit Drop, as I call it. Repeatedly.

I tried putting up a poster with photos of the last few office befingerings. (The insurance company makes us take Polaroids before any trips to the E.R.) And, underneath I wrote:


I guess folks ignored the poster, though, because there were more fingers chopped off than average that week.

The worst part is that it almost always seems to happen the first time anyone uses this machine. So, nobody gets to be very much practiced at it. Which is too bad, because I’m sure once you get over the thinking about it part, it’d be smooth as non-finger-mangling silk.

Anyway, why don’t you give it a try? If you want, I can blow this air horn to distract you from your thoughts.

On three. Ready? One… Steady… Two…