NSFW

NSFW

You’re minding your own business during another mind-numbing day in the cubicle farm when another e-mail, in the endless stream of e-mails pops into your in-box. The little banner appears on your screen and before you can swat it away like another digital fly, you see it – NSFW.

image via jonathon lid beck from flickr creative commons

image via jonathon lid beck from flickr creative commons

Not Safe For Work…

The forbidden fruit. The Unholy Grail. Satanic Verses. Temptation wrapped in Internet trappings. “Open me,” it calls, a siren from the Matrix. “You know you wanna.”

The first reaction is to pop your head up over the cubicle walls and find out if any of your fellow worker meerkats are looking. You accidentally nudge your computer mouse and open your in-box. (Never mind that it took five clicks to close your spreadsheet, log in to your e-mail and open the in-box. It was an accident – go with me here.)

There it is at the top of the slush pile that is your e-mail inbox. The Temptress NSFW subject line stands out among all the overdue notices, pending assignments, meeting notices and missing TPS reports. The sender’s address isn’t familiar, but that isn’t unusual. What could it hurt? Your finger hovers over the delete key. (Note: Have you noticed that the delete key is less than one inch from the enter key? You just looked didn’t you?)

image by eric gregg via flickr creative commons

image by eric gregg via flickr creative commons

A sudden sneeze erupts from your diaphragm, no doubt caused by the same air that has been recirculating in the building since the dawn of man. That sneeze accompanied a involuntary muscle twitch in your right hand. The Enter key clicked louder than a gunshot you’ve heard in any Quentin Tarantino movie.

Time slows — you hear every curse word you know and some you just made up in the fly spill from your lips in the microsecond it takes for the forbidden e-mail to blossom to life on your screen. A second set of eyes burst from the back of your head because you know the boss took this opportunity to emerge from his corner cocoon office to bless the cubicle people with his presence.

 

You stab the delete key like Jack the Ripper. “No, no, no, no!” The NSFW e-mail disappears from the screen along with seventeen new assignments, five birthday announcements and an office-wide notice someone’s kid is selling diabetes inducing cookies. A moment of calm sweeps over your cell cubicle. It’s only a moment because you suddenly recall there is a backup of the e-mail on the server — and a digital record that YOU OPENED IT.

go11

Your phone rings. It has to be your boss. He’s gonna call you to his office and confront you with the evidence of your transgression. The walk from your cubicle will feel like the Green Mile. A thought creeps in… Living in a cabin like the Unabomber for the rest of your life wouldn’t be all that bad. While your brain makes a bug-out escape plan that would make a doomsday prepper jealous, the phone stops ringing.

refuge - no internet here image by alan strakey via flickr creative commons

refuge – no internet here
image by alan strakey via flickr creative commons

A team-mate pokes his head over the wall. He’s sweating, pale and looks join the verge of stroking out. You don’t have to ask — He opened the NSFW e-mail. A murmur erupts in the cubicle farm as others succumb to the NSFW temptation. Things seen that cannot be unseen. Everyone has seen “it.” Everyone, that is, but you.

They did not burst into flame. Hellfire did not rain down upon them in Judgement (even though you all signed the same work computer use agreements) Surely, this must be a test. You peek over the cubicle wall and displayed on the monitor is the NSFW e-mail. Yes, a list of things that are Not Suitable For Work. A dress code…

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Armageddon avoided, for now.

You know you wanna click on it…

 

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One comment

  1. What IS it? *looks around* Presses ‘enter’. *swears* Presses ‘delete’. (How many people did this? I wonder…)

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