Everything I need to know about office survival I learned from my older brother

The coffee in my office tastes like acid. When I am forced to drink it I prefer to dilute it with milk, and lots of it. So, I take the time to walk over to Safeway, pick out a milk carton, wait in line, pay for it and walk back to my office when I know that there are a few days coming that I will need the caffeine.

I put my name on it in black Sharpie markers. I write “please don’t drink me, I make acid coffee drinkable for Kelsey” (seriously, I do) and I hide it in the back corner of the staff fridge right next to the rotting lemon and mystery meat Tupperware container, assuming, given the state of affairs back there, that nobody will look there.

But they do. They do and the dirty thieves steal my milk. Nothing is worse that opening up that crate and having one little droplet come out when I’m expecting a much needed downpour. I immediately suspect everybody, from the shy, nerdy tech guys to the VP who sits next to me (he’s a healthy guy, he’s GOTTA drink milk!) and seriously I can’t even focus in meetings because I’m trying to suss people out: is he avoiding eye contact, she’s got a pretty white coffee over there … it’s nuts. But then one day I took matters into my own hands.

Everybody was in the lunchroom and I had just gotten back from Safeway with a replacement milk. I walked in and didn’t say a word, making everybody naturally stop and look at me. I pulled my milk out of the bag, pointed at my name written on it, opened the flaps and commenced to drink, lick and slurp all up on that lid. I took my time, getting every corner, every inch of that lid. I closed it, pointed at my name again, and left the room. No lie, my milk has been untouched since.

How did I know it would work? Once again, growing up with an older brother who terrorized me taught me well. Next time anybody tries to steal my milk, give me a wedgie or chase me with water balloons they’d better watch out.


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