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A story about a man and a whiteboard called ‘Kevin’

Strange but true, if you ever have trouble cleaning a white board, the best thing to use is smooth peanut butter. Rub it on, leave for a few minutes, then rub it off with a dry cloth (not toast). It works and makes the office smell nice too.

I can’t tell you how I found out, but I can tell you that’s the reason I have a jar on my desk and my fingers often smell of it. Honest.

Talking of whiteboards, here is a story for you…

Once upon a time…

…there was a man and the man had a job in a bank.

The man liked his job (mostly). He had his own desk, he had a computer and he had a phone with a futuristic headset that made him look a bit weird (but then he did have a small head to start with).

The man had to go into lots of boring meetings where people spoke a funny language called ‘mitigating corporate arse speak’.

Sometimes the meetings were so boring that the man had to pull the hairs on his legs out in order to keep himself awake.

In one meeting someone told a funny joke.

It was the one where the boss lady was worried because she hadn’t spent enough money. She’d asked for X and only spent Y – oh no! (and I’m talking about ten’s of thousands of pounds here)

The man laughed at the funny joke.

No-one else did.

Then the man felt embarrassed because it wasn’t actually a joke after all.

One day the man came to work and decided that despite having his own desk, a computer, a phone and that funny head set thing that didn’t quite fit his small head, that he also wanted a whiteboard.

A nice shiny whiteboard that he could draw pictures on and stick things on to share information with his colleagues.

He would call this whiteboard ‘Kevin’.

There were lots of whiteboards stuck on the walls in the meetings rooms around the office, but he wanted his own one. He even had a nice quiet corner of the office to put it in where it wouldn’t be in anyone’s way.

So he asked his boss lady.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise and exclaimed ‘WHY?’. This took the man by surprise, but after he explained the boss lady said she would have a think about it.

The man felt happy.

2 days later the man asked his boss lady about the whiteboard. She said that she had asked Mr Buildings-Person and that he was worried that it was a trip hazard.

The man laughed at her funny joke.

She didn’t. Oops. It had happened again. The man went a bit red.

‘OK’ he asked ‘how about just using the wall to draw stuff on and stick stuff to?’

‘No’ she said ‘I think that would be classed as a fire hazard’

The man nearly laughed, but managed to stop himself, just in case the boss lady was being serious.

She was. She didn’t laugh. Or smile. Or even blink. Come to think of it he’d never seen her blink. ‘Maybe she is a robot’ he thought.

The man went back to his desk and hoped that boss lady hadn’t realised that he had actual paper on his desk, was using a highly flammable notebook and that he hadn’t checked his clothes that morning to see if they were flame retardant.

A week later the man had to go to a different building for another boring meeting.

He came out of it yawning and with less leg hair than he started it with, but then saw something wonderful. Something beautiful. Something that showed that other men and women had managed to succeed where he had failed.

They had whiteboards.

Lovely magnetic whiteboards wrapped around the circular columns in the building.

With renewed confidence, the man went back to his boss lady and excitedly told her about what he had seen. She blinked. ‘Hmm – maybe not a robot after all’ he thought.

He told her that he only wanted what they had, nothing more, nothing less and asked if she could please ask Mr Buildings-Person about it again, because there was precedence in the company.

She did ask. And Mr Buildings-Person said ‘Yes – (but there is a cost associated with the sourcing, transition, purchasing and installation)’.

‘Hooray’ the man cried loud enough that some people actually stopped staring at their computers and looked up for a few seconds.

But the man wasn’t embarrassed this time. He was excited.

Then his boss lady said there was a problem. She said she wanted to play a game called ‘Guess how much it’s going to cost’.

This sounded like fun.

‘£200’ the man said and laughed at his own funny joke.

‘More’ said the boss lady with a straight face.

‘£500’ laughed the man.

‘More’ said the boss lady and raised an eyebrow. The corner of her mouth definitely went up a smidgen too. OK – definitely not a robot.

‘£800’ said a different man joining in.

‘More’ said the boss lady now encouraging others to play.

Now several people laughed even though they knew it was not a joke.

‘£1000’ a different lady suggested.

‘Yes’ said the boss lady ‘£1000’.

Everyone gasped in shock, and spent a few moments discussing this.  The words ‘poppycock’, ‘balderdash’, ‘trollocks’ and ‘what rot!’ were heard several times until everyone went back to staring at their computers and carried on like nothing had happened.

But not the man.

The man went up to his boss lady and said quietly ‘You know how you were worried about not spending enough money…’

And 3 days later the man was very happy.

For now he had his own shiny, magnetic white board (all £1000 of it).

No trip hazard. No fire hazard (just don’t mention the cards stuck on it).

And he used it every day and liked it very much.

And he did in fact give it the name ‘Kevin’.

And they all lived dysfunctionally ever after.

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