dinsdag 18 januari 2011

Paper trail



BY BEN GREENMAN

- - - -
January 3
To all employees:
Please shred all documents.
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January 4
To all employees:
Yesterday's memorandum was incomplete. It should have read, "Please shred all documents, including this one."
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January 5
To all employees:
Yesterday's memorandum should also have been shredded. We apologize for the oversight.
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January 6
To all employees:
Once again, yesterday's memorandum was missing an important postscript. After the final sentence, it should have read: "P.S. Please shred this memo as well."

P.S. Please shred this memo as well.
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January 7
To all employees:
Do not shred this memorandum. Allow it to remain intact, and to serve as the exception that proves the rule. We cannot say any more than this, but this should be enough.
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January 10
To all employees:
Over the weekend, upper-level executives met and clarified the shredding policy. Here is the new policy: Please shred all documents up to and including this one. In other words, take the piece of paper in your hand, the one dated January 10, and shred it. Then look around your desk for any additional memoranda with January dates. January 3, January 4, January 5: doesn't matter. Even the January 7 memo that expressly states that it should remain intact; further legal review has determined that it was issued in error and should, in fact, be shredded. Collect all memoranda. Put them in a pile. And then shred them. But wait! Your job is not done. One very important step remains. When you are done shredding all other January memoranda, shred this one. A tiny diagram to assist you with shredding this document has been reproduced on the very top of this memorandum. You should be able to feed the bottom of the sheet of paper into the shredder while you hold the top, and then let go as the rest of the document is taken by the machine. When the document has disappeared entirely, then your job is done. To recap: Find memos, shred memos, shred this memo.
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January 11
To all employees:
While the employee who taped his or her copy of the January 10 memo to the wall next to the paper shredder may have thought that he or she was only being helpful, he or she was in fact not helping matters at all. That copy has been shredded.
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January 12
To all employees:
At 2 p.m. this afternoon a member of the company's technical training division will be on site to meet with all managers. The reason is simple: there seems to be some confusion between the paper shredder and the fax machines. The fax machines—which have not been used for years but remain plugged in for some reason—are on the shelf by the restrooms. They are black. The paper shredders are on the desks near the conference room. They are putty-colored. Apparently, this distinction is not clear to everyone: two employees were overhead in the men's restroom earlier this morning discussing the "cool black shredders." There is no proof, of course, that any employee has actually used a fax machine while operating under the misapprehension that it was a paper shredder, or vice-versa, but if this were to happen, it would be quite distressing, primarily because the two devices have almost diametrically opposed functions: the shredder shreds while the fax machine faxes, sending copies of documents electronically to remote locations, where they are not shredded and cannot in fact be shredded, as they are not any longer physically present. A copy of this memo has now been posted on the wall next to both the shredders and the fax machines, as well as distributed to every employee. Please retain it for your records. Do not shred it.
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Plaatje: Shredder van Jonathan_W

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