22 Sep 2011


Anyone who has worked in a place with a large number of employees will be familiar with large cards being circulated for birthdays, leaving, condolences etc.

In a place where I used to work, there were 130 staff in the department.  Frequently, it was my job to help circulate the signing of best wishes between the buildings that housed the different sections.  What struck me was that, despite being in different buildings and seldom seeing other staff outside their own section, people still felt an obligation to sign whatever was put in front of them.

After a while, I started to sign not just my own name, but also the name of a mysterious staff member called 'Roger'.  Roger's handwriting was recognisable in that it was a dense scrawl, with letters small in size, indicating someone who is shy and unassuming.  The messages I wrote usually were steeped in either regret or sadness: if the card was for someone leaving the department, it would usually be something along the lines of "Sorry I didn't get to know you better. x Roger" and if it was a birthday "Have a great day with your friends. x Roger".

Years later and now I work in somewhere a bit smaller.  Thankfully, even though I have moved, Roger has moved with me.  Even in cards that are intended for me, I notice that Roger's signature is in there - I have created a monster.  A quiet, slightly depressed, unassuming monster.  I even overheard a colleague saying "So where does Roger work?" and a cabal of conspirators ad libbing something about him being on a temporary contract for a number of years, or saying that he's generally locked away doing data input.

3 Sep 2011

Nothing Really Lasts

The latest in my series of robot-related crockery.