Citrus Nightmare

Everyone who’s ever worked in a laid-back office environment knows the fun to be had with emails. Y’know, someone sends an embarrassing and potentially libellous email to a friend, and accidentally cc-s the whole company. Realising their error, they immediately email everyone again with a ‘sorry – didn’t mean to send that to everyone’ email. Various wankers such as myself then compete for witty replies along the lines of ‘Don’t worry – it’s easily done’, sent, of course, to everyone.

TJ got sent the new Ministry of Sound CD and was not slow in inflicting it on the rest of us. She didn’t check the sound levels before hitting play, and the initial kick drum was louder and deeper than the sound of a whale thwacking into the earth from a half-mile drop. It was the audio equivalent of being punched in the gut by an automatic punching machine that has been developed by Lennox Lewis in collaboration with the cleverest experts in robotics the world has yet produced.

I was unfortunate enough to be ingesting a Clementine (what’s the difference between a Clementine, a Satsuma and a Mandarin anyway?) at the precise moment this short burst of hell shattered its way into every cell of my being. Did I choke on it? If citrus fruit has a preventative effect on cancer, I have protection from mutant esophageal cells for five lifetimes. I briefly panicked at yet more thoughts of dying before smoothly washing the offending clump of citrus fruit down the right way and continuing with the urgent business of remonstrating with the volume knob on the amplifier.

I then wondered – if you were choking in an office where everyone communicates via mass emails, would your chances of assistance be higher by

a) wildly gesticulating and thrashing around, turning blue and hoping someone recognises the cause of your spazzy behaviour


b) Quickly email with “Hi, I’m on the 3rd floor in the corner, choking. No joke, Heimlich please!”

I would have said the latter were it not for the fact that Heimlich is so hard to spell. You’d need to Google it first in order to avoid confusion, and this added time could mean the difference between life and death. And I’d hate for this to be the last thing I see…


Maybe a Facebook status update wouldn’t hurt. Richard is… choking to death. Help!


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