Originally posted on the Tembua website.
Our office is a serious workplace. Patents, discovery documents, contracts, pre-purchase financial instruments all require exact, precise translation and secure, confidential handling. Package inserts, instruction manuals, and help screens must be perfect. Translations are checked and double-checked. Deadlines are met. But every once in a while…
Heavy spring rains and hot, humid summer days produced a bumper crop of mosquitoes, the Minnesota state bird. My husband was given a little yellow badminton racket guaranteed to electrocute the bugs. It was a battery-operated contraption with death in its meshes. We had fun swinging away in the backyard after dark, watching the racket’s grid light up with a little “fzzt” every time a mosquito was fried in the stroke.
The racket came to work with me so I could demonstrate for everyone how high-tech our family has become. After the initial exhibition it lay forgotten on the filing cabinet for a few days. And then a horsefly — a very large, loud horsefly — managed to find its way into our office. The day was busy and at first we brushed the fly away absentmindedly, but before long its presence exceeded the nuisance threshold and we began swatting. In and out the doorways it went, pausing on this desk, that light, this shoulder, that keyboard until we declared war.
With the precision of the well-oiled team that we are, we trapped the fly in a single room. Weapons were seized and the attack was on, complete with war whoops. Smack! Swat! Swear! Swish! The flyswatter our office manager was using broke, and, seeing the fly finally land, she picked up the first thing handy. The little yellow racket gave its all. Flash! POP! ZZZT! The fly fried on the power strip on which it had landed, and the office went black.
Stunned silence gave way to hysterical laughter as we reset the circuit breakers, cleaned off the wall behind the power strip and put the racket away. The next caller may have wondered why the “Good morning. May I help you?” was a little breathless. After all, this is a serious workplace.