The following is a story of an actual event that occurred in my office several years ago.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent however the facts are spot on.  Since this incident occurred there has been a constant dialogue as to where the wrong doing occurred.  I turn to you, the internet, to reach a final verdict. 

The Scene

It was a warm spring day in Chicagoland with the sun out and birds chirping.  My office was in the midst of an unrelated plumbing caper where the toilets were getting backed up at a fairly regular clip.  I swear, I had nothing to do with that, as months later it was discovered one of my co-workers who was born in a foreign land had taken to making a cushion of paper towels on the seat and “cleaned up” by flushing the entire contraption, thus clogging the system repeatedly. 

It was during one of these incidents that an email went out to the entire office saying that the bathrooms were closed indefinitely.  It went on to say that an agreement had been reached with our neighbors who so graciously would allow us to use their lavatories as necessary.  Getting to the neighboring office required stepping outside our building to get to their front door however.  Myself being a right-minded individual who possesses both dignity and class, would never lower myself to use a neighbors facilities in a time of need.  So I did what anyone else in a similar situation would do, I crossed the parking lot behind our building and found relief on the other side of the fence. 

On the other side of this eight foot solid wood divider there lies what I could only describe as a marsh complete with tall grasses, cattails, and standing water.  I found a nearby tree that was completely concealed from any prying eyes and went about my business.  On my way back towards the parking lot I happened upon something truly unique indeed.

It’s not every day that you come across an abandoned goose’s nest.  Sitting in a concave patch of grasses was the closest thing to a dinosaur egg I had ever seen.  There were no geese in sight so I reached down to touch it and found that the egg was cold.  This meant that it had been abandoned and had no chance of ever becoming a little gosling.  I did the only logical thing I could think of and picked up the egg to bring it back into my office.

The Hijinks

It’s not every day that one is bestowed a gift from the Prankster’s Bible with the magnitude of a goose egg.  It’s literally a shocking thing to see and it introduces an element that no work-going Samaritan could possibly anticipate while listening to drive time radio on the way into the office on a given morning.  My mind was flooded with options of what to do with my new found treasure.  I could put it in the refrigerator with a post-it note indicating it was a co-worker’s lunch along the line of “Property of Thomas.”  I could take it in a more nefarious direction and hide it in a ceiling tile and simply wait for the smell to wreak delicious havoc in our office community.  The world was my oyster. 

While I crossed the yellow parking stripes and swiped my key card to re-enter the building my head was swimming.  Once inside as I approached the first group of cubicles I couldn’t help but notice my friend and regular partner in crime Dale had left his desk vacant and was nowhere to be found.  He was definitely in the office today and in fact I knew he was in a meeting that was set to wrap up in the next fifteen minutes.  I figured that with this golden egg, two heads would be better than one to find its true purpose in life.  I decided to place the egg in his empty chair (turned out from his desk for the record, putting it in plain sight of anyone entering his cube) and waited for his return. 

Waiting probably isn’t the right term because I couldn’t very well just setup shop next to his empty desk with a goose egg filling his seat.  So I returned to my workspace around the corner (with no direct line of sight of Dale’s desk) and anxiously awaited him to come find me with his “discovery.” 

What came next was not exactly as I had planned.

A short while later a cry arose from Dale’s area.  I had mistakely assumed it to be one of joy in finding such a wonderful gift, when in reality was filled with shock and dismay.  I hurried over to start planning the fate of our golden goose only to find that fate had already broken for us. 

The Act In Question

The story as it has been relayed to me was that Dale came back from his meeting in mid conversations with some of the co-workers in his area, and paid no attention to anything that may be awaiting him in his seat.  In one motion he spun his chair and sat facing his desk.  As his butt met the hard shell beneath him, Dale actually caught himself and sprung to his feet as though he had sat upon a firecracker.  He turned to see what came between his khakis and their usual cushion and discovered a perfectly intact egg the size of a softball. 

Dale lifted the egg from its resting position and brought it up to eye level.  Having no reason to suspect that an actual goose egg would have mysteriously appeared on his chair during a meeting, he had his doubts about what exactly was in his hand.  Unfortunately for him, his first internal analysis to determine the exact nature of the object involved giving it a squeeze.  It was at this time that the egg exploded, as most eggs would when pressure is applied, and chaos ensued.  Yolk went off like a paint grenade getting on Dale’s clothes, chair, desk, and surrounding area.  Luckily for those of us involved (probably five people were aware of the acts that had transpired by this point) we were able to contain the news of the day fairly well for a relatively small office and get everything cleaned up without major incident.  The only things really damaged were some spots on his clothes as well as his pride.        

The Dilemma

In the Kangaroo Court that followed, a heated debate arose over where exactly the blame for the incident should lie.  There is one camp that would argue that the wrong doing in the entire situation can boil down to my bringing the egg into the office environment in the first place.  I have a name for the people who took this stance.  I call them “Wrong.”  Their logic boils down to the fact that nothing would have happened had I just used the neighboring office’s facilities, resulting in my never having brought a fragile bomb into our world that fateful afternoon. 

The other camp would point to the critical moment of the squeezing of the egg on Dale’s part as the moment the liability shifted from my shoulders to his. 

Had he sat on the egg unknowingly, and the bottom of his trousers bore the full brunt of the explosion, I fully would have taken full responsibility for the fallout.  His having sat on the object – but not having damaged it in the act - only to then pick it up for further examination, subsequently breaking it in full consciousness of what he was doing… well, I’m sorry but if that’s not his fault then what would be?

You Be The Judge

As noted above, this debate has raged on and off for several years now in my place of employment.  I’ve presented both arguments here (with as much bias as I could muster) and I now turn to you, the reader, to serve as the final judge and jury.  Please feel free to use the Comments section (remember you don’t have to use your full name or real email address if you don’t want to) or email me directly at ChicagoChiGuy@gmail.com and I will be happy to fill in any additional details to ensure that you have all the facts you need to make a fair and balanced assessment.  Otherwise I’ll wait for your commentary and a final decision will be made right here in this space.

If nothing else I encourage all of you to learn a lesson from this escapade and the next time you see a goose egg on the ground, pick it up and bring it to an inappropriate environment because nothing but years of conversation and finger pointing can ensue.