Five Routine Minutes: The Martin Luther Technique

Last week, the microwave oven in my office died. It was replaced by a toaster. As you may recall, I found the toaster inadequate an appliance for heating up soup.

I returned to work on Sunday. I was certain that, days after the microwave went into the big sleep, a new machine would be in place. After all, I work for an agency with a huge budget. This kind of expenditure was nothing in the grand scheme of things. At lunch time I went into the break room. There was a microwave on the counter. The old one.

It didn’t light up. It didn’t make a sound. It didn’t make my soup hot. It didn’t make me happy.

Of course, the bastards were not working. It was, after all, Sunday.

On Monday, I went in to the office. The old microwave was still. Still on the counter, and still.

I went to my roll call meeting and joked about the former microwave. One of my people spoke up and said that he and one of his peers had taken the appliance apart at the direction of one of our administrative staff. They found, and replaced a blown fuse. “It works now”, he announced. I told him it did not work.

At lunch time, the toaster was the only living appliance on the counter. I found a drawing of a tombstone with “R.I.P.” on it. I altered it to say “R.I.P. Microwave” and taped it to the break room door.

Five minutes later, the administrator who directed the surgery on the old appliance came by my desk holding my tombstone picture. He held it up and said “this isn’t funny.”

I didn’t autograph the sign. There were no witnesses. He just came right to me. I’m being held responsible for things based on my previous deeds. Not all of them, just the deeds obvious enough for him to know about. (For instance, I know he went in search of who did this to our boss’ desk.)

Being told it wasn’t funny was offensive and harsh. No one ever said Martin Luther wasn’t funny, they just excommunicated him.

Later in the day, after I got back from lunch, there was an e-mail addressed to the office. It explained the surgical effort that was undertaken to revive the former lunch warming box thing. It blamed an unknown party who had dared to unplug, then plug back in the microwave for killing it a second time. The e-mail closed with a victorious proclamation that all was well again in the break room. The appliance was fixed. Hot lunch was back on the agenda.

Shortly thereafter, the administrator sent another e-mail. It said simply, “It broke again. I give up. I’ll buy a new one.”

I’m happy.


25 Comments on “Five Routine Minutes: The Martin Luther Technique”

  1. T says:

    Martin Luther was on to something with the nailing of theses to a door. I’m just saying.

  2. This is my favorite one yet. And if you had used a nail instead of tape, they’d have replaced the microwave sooner. Just sayin’.

  3. Not funny. It was very funny. Glad your crocked happy face is back in place.

  4. My boss(out of his own “pocket”) bought us two, yes two copiers when the old one died. Corporate has not figured out yet how to gets us toner so we are back to square one but on the up side the microwave does still work 🙂

  5. Laura says:

    That administrator needs to go. Can you take him out back and have him shot, or something? I don’t normally approve of that sort of thing, but this is an extreme case.

    Oh, and even I know that if the same fuse blows twice in rapid succession, the fuse is a symptom, not the cause, of the problem.

  6. lbwoodgate says:

    It takes a humble man to acknowledge that he stands on the shoulders of those who came before him to advance the virtues of truth and courage.

  7. Yeah, hot soup for you!
    Why would anyone want to try and repair a microwave unless that was actually one of the qualifications on his job description.
    I might have been tempted to nail the guy with no sense of humour to the door instead.

  8. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    You work with some idiots. They act like testosterone bloated fools who think their manhood depends on being able to fix a damn microwave. So, they allowed some nincompoop to waste work time repairing the thing, wasted time talking about it, wasted time criticizing and insulting you (it WAS FUNNY!) when they could have simply paid a few bucks for a new microwave. Next time, if there is a next time (thank God you’re retiring) sneak in and remove the door from the microwave and toss it. Yeah, try to microwave something without a door on it. Say “buh bye” to the manhood.

  9. OmawariMom says:

    Hey! There is no call for this language. You have always made your point very effectively without resorting to it. As your referee I’m calling a foul on you.

  10. Debbie says:

    Success….finally. They should have done that in the first place, of course. There’s just no understanding some people.

  11. benzeknees says:

    Good on you for standing up for your lunch warming device needs!

  12. Finally! Took him long enough!

  13. planetross says:

    Who tries to fix microwaves? … inconspicuous consumption people probably.

    I tried to fix a match once or twice … but I used other matches to do it.

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