Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


The officemate’s snoring wakes me up from my post-lunch nap. Then, it wakes him up, too.

“Do you want to get coffee?” he asks me. We both laugh and are out the door.

We order small coffees at Brewed. Today is not a day for decaf. We sit down and start talking. He updates me on his research, and I listen. Then we both take sips from our coffee. We forgot sugar.

I return with the sugar, and as I sit down, I happen to make eye contact with someone at a neighboring table. He looks directly at me, but I detect no expression behind that scruffy white beard and glass eye. I smile at him. The smile is not returned. As I sit down, he turns his chair towards us and starts talking.

“Do you know what happens after a mother cow gives birth?” he asks in a somber tone.

Does this have anything to do with the fact I brought refined sugar to the table? Perhaps it’s the milk in my coffee. We shake our heads.

“It becomes a de-calf. Get it? It’s de-calfed.” We laugh with him politely before returning to our conversation.

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