The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

March 8, 2007


I've wiped out and almost gotten myself killed racing a pallet truck around in an ice cream plant I used to work in.
I've cut my hands many times cutting the fins off of northern pike, pickerel and other fish at a packing plant I worked at in northern Manitoba.

I've been hit from behind when I was a truck-driver and stepped on rusty nails while hauling stuff around. I just about puked cleaning up the washrooms when I worked as a janitor.

And I almost blew myself up filling up machines with gas at an equipment rental place where I had a job.

Now, as a journalist, the biggest workplace dangers are breaking a nail on my keyboard, losing my vision staring at a computer screen or developing sciatica due to poor sitting posture.

But I've noticed in the last couple of months that I'm terror-ridden in the office by something that almost certainly could never hurt me, really, because I've never touched it in the 10 years I've been there.

It's this. It's a paper-cutter. The old kind. Guillotine style.
Chop Chop.

The thing is old. It's green. And it's been sitting on the printer station table where we all print up copies of stuff we need for as long as I can remember.

Never bothered me before. Just another object.

Now, I can't get it out of my mind. It's not that I have dreams about it...I have waking images, when I'm in the office, of my fingers getting cut off by it.

It's gross. I can't explain it. It's almost a phobia.

What phobias do you have with whatever objects you work with?

What unrealistic fears do you have about the pencil sharpener, water cooler, dying plant in the corner or what have you?

Or how dangerous is your job, anyway? As dangerous as mine?


  1. We have that exact same green Guillotine style paper cutter in my office. I've used it several times and luckily still have most of my appendages.

    And not to be picky but you've forgotten one of the biggest dangers in a workplace such as yours and mine...the dreaded papercut or worse yet, the exceedingly painful cardboard cut. Just the thought of it makes me shiver.

  2. I'm scared of the cutter -- the one where you slide the blade up. Sometimes when I use it, I think of the blade snapping off and hitting me on the face. talk about phobia.

  3. Everyone and everything may be harbouring a disease. It's best when I stay at home to work.

    And I'm known for my obsessive pencil sharpening so I fear not the pencil sharpener.

    I'd hate to think you could break a nail! I hope you have a manicure kit in your drawer for such emergencies.

  4. My stomach flips every time I have to use the guillotine. I'm paranoid around it.

    After working with Microsoft a couple of years back, I developed a fear of the water cooler ... they had a running commentary in the 'softie newsletter' about all the germs jumping from tap to cup to hand and back again ... and then I followed a woman who went straight from the bathroom (without washing her hands) straight to the water cooler tap ... uck.

    I'll get over it one day, LOL.

  5. They have one of those Guillotine paper cutter things at my kids' school, where I work once a week. I'm not afraid of it, but there is this one teacher who, when he uses it, he drops the handle/blade thingie HARD and LOUD! That's frightening!

    And while it's not an item I encounter often, I am VERY afraid of those electric nail guns that construction workers use. For me, those are worse than a regular gun. I think it goes back to an old episode of Rescue 911 where a guy shot himself with one of those things. The reinactment just made me cringe!

  6. Laurie:

    Maybe these cutters are a CIA plot, a threatening diversionary device (TDD).

    Maybe the microchips they embed in our brains at birth are somehow attuned to these TDDs to make us believe in our subconsciousness that these paper cutters actually represent the government, to keep us in a state of constant fear?

    Paper cuts are for wussies...


    Ewww, doesn't sound very nice...


    Maybe YOU'RE the most dangerous hazard to others at your work. And I do have a manicure kit.


    Water cooler bacteria! If people who stand around them and talk all day only knew...but at least they only kill or maim slowly and invisibly...

    Ms. Val:

    Yeah, that sound...LOP!

    Never used one of those nail gun thingies, although I did once put a running drill bit into my leg.


    But c'mon...don't you have any tales about deadly Cuisinarts or gigantic butcher knives or Terrible Toasters?

  7. Is that how the edotiors get copy in on time...
    hold the writer's hand (or other organ for the Sports Department) across the Guillotine and yell

    Now run down and get me a coffee you slimey little maggot!

  8. I have to deal with lots of icky, germ-ridden stuff at the homes I visit when I see clients. The worst phobia I'm developing is driving on the freeway and my fear of other drivers knocking me off the road. I had an episode over a week ago now, and it's getting worse. I jump when a car is too close, and I dread driving a client anywhere. I had to pick up a client from work, take her to the bank, then home, and I was a nervous wreck. I had to take the rest of the day off because I couldn't drive back to the office.

    I'm not sure what will fix this besides just doing more driving and getting my nerve back.

  9. Oh...we used to have one of those paper cutter things at school and I HATED it and was absolutely terrified oh it. Hazards around here? Tripping over a miniature poodle who has a habit of walking right under my legs when I'm walking down steps carrying a basket of washing -he nearly got me again yesterday. IT'S DELIBERATE , I TELL YOU!!!

  10. You callin' me a wussie??

  11. My dad had a green paper cutter just like that--old school--at his doctor's office! I hated using that thing, if seeing patients come in with oozing boles wasn't enough!

    I have an extreme fear of wire clothes hangers. I always think they will poke me in the eye...ala Final Destination style.

  12. Homo Egotistical:

    Yes, that's exactly how it works, and why I fear it so much. Oooh, it gives me shudders.

    As far as other organs go, though, I'm pretty sure there'd be something in the Employment Standards Act that would prevent editors from being able to do that.


    Hmmm, sounds a lot more hazardous than a simple guillotine.

    Isn't it kinda weird how it appears the only way to survive driving on the freeways is to be as aggressive and fast as everyone else?

    Good luck with it, girl.


    Sounds like Frenchie the dog is just seeking your attention. It's all about his size...




    Buy plastic!!

  13. Steer clear of that paper cutter not becos it looks scary but becos you seem accident prone!

  14. Anonymous12:23 a.m.

    weird comments and topic!


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