Saturday, November 11, 2006


Rubber stamping was the favourite part of Marlon's work. If something needed rubber stamping, Marlon was your man.

Although Marlon only owned two rubber stamps they were always inked up and ready for action. Because of the nature of Marlon's work for the Monopolies Commission his "ACCEPT" stamp didn't get
that much use whereas, at the other end of the stamping spectrum, barely a day went by without his "REJECT" stamp being hoisted down from its rack. That particular rubber stamp had to be replaced on a fairly regular basis such was the force with which he carried out his daily tasks. And when Marlon needed a new rubber stamp, he rang Phil Hart in office supplies.

Phil had big problems that morning, and he was annoyed. Not only had he just been in a car accident, but he also couldn't find a

Just after he had parked his car in his car parking space, his car had been hit by one of the office lorries. And when he got to his desk he decided that he would try to write down the sequence of events, as he had seen them, while they were still fresh in his memory. The only problem he was having was that he couldn't think of anything to write except that he had been hit by an oncoming stationery lorry.

And even removing the word oncoming didn't make it sound a lot better...

And he couldn't remember how to spell 'stationery' anyway...

And he didn't have a dictionary to hand.

But, for some unknown reason, he did have a thesaurus, so he checked it there...

But but even then, when he read it back to himself...

But but but
that was what had happened. Saying his car had been hit by a paper lorry sounded even worse.

This, then, was the moment that Phil tried to find a rubber, and couldn't find one.

The reason for this is because of what happens to rubbers.

When you use a pen, a biro, you write with it until you lose it, or it runs out of ink. Mainly when it runs out of ink, because a lost biro is never
really lost. Anyway, biro (I'm guessing biro are like sheep) are a different issue entirely. Basically they're cunts. A biro can run out at any moment. Whether they appear to have a whole barrel of ink, or there seems to be none at all, a biro can give up the ghost precisely when it wants to and exactly when you least want it to. A rubber, on the other hand, can only ever be lost. You can't use a rubber until it runs out. You can't use a rubber until there's no rubber left; until you've rubbed it into extinction.

What happens with rubbers is that you use them when they are new. Then, after a while, one day, when you're bored, you write your name on them, or your initials, but you do it backwards so that you can use the rubber as some sort of primitive printing device. Later still, when you're even more bored, you break the rubber in half, usually around the point where you had previously stuck a pencil, or a biro, or a pair of plotting compasses into it. At this stage you convince yourself that you now have two rubbers and, eventually, you break the two rubbers you now have in half again, and lose four rubbers, or you just lose the two rubbers that you thought you had.

Phil was annoyed because he hadn't even had the chance to write his name on it yet.

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