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When I was green in judgment, cold in blood

December 16th, 2012 · 85 comments

I’ve spent most of the day curled up reading John Irving’s latest, In One Person (“a compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity.”) And yet, since stumbling across this novella — from an office fridge in Maryland — I’ve had but one phrase echoing in my head: “We are not so unalike, [you and I]. I, too, have a deep love of salad.”

Dear Desperate for Salad: We are so unalike. I too have a deep love of salad. In fact, it is what I eat for lunch nearly every single day. I find few things more satisfying than a crisp green salad in the middle of the day. I'm sure you feel similarly.

related: “Someday when you’re wondering why you’re alone…”

FILED UNDER: Maryland · most popular notes of 2012 · office fridge · stealing · TL;DR

85 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Leanne

    Brilliant! I almost wish it kept going for another page or two.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm   rating: 93  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Wench

      That arugula rocket was f*****g delicious…..

      Sorry. SOMEONE had to say it.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #2   Me, Myself, and I

    you don’t win friends with salad…

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:18 pm   rating: 32  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   backs away

      Nope. Really not.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 5:34 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   redheadwglasses

      That episode was on just last nIght! WHEN PIGS FLY!

      Dec 18, 2012 at 9:36 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #3   Amy, UK

    That is a fantastic note! I love the rocket bit for us Brits!

    Hope whoever wrote it gets their rocket fix soon

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:21 pm   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Gwan

      Yes, I learnt what arugula is!

      Dec 17, 2012 at 6:00 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #4   DS

    Avocado on toast for breakfast sounds good. Think I will start doing that.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm   rating: 31  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   kathryn

      It is.

      Dec 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   chloe

      especially with vegemite!

      Dec 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   anoano

      this! I was so surprised when they went so well together

      Dec 17, 2012 at 5:46 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   Beatus Mongous

      I like toast with cottage cheese and avocado.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 12:50 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #5   jt

    How does someone who is so busy and focused on maximizing productivity have time to write a note like that?

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm   rating: 56  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   kathryn

      Ohhh how witty!

      They could have done it after work.

      Dec 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   OHSue

      I was also thinking that eating breakfast at home would also improve productivity.

      Although I don’t condone taking the greens, I just feel the urge to write “bite me” on the note.

      Dec 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   backs away

      I want to be employed somewhere where I can come in and THEN have time and leisure to start having breakfast… toasting toast, doing what ever needs to be done to make Avocado spread, cleaning and shredding salat…

      Dec 17, 2012 at 5:38 am   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   Gwan

      They can’t have come in half an hour early and done it on their own time?

      Dec 17, 2012 at 6:01 am   rating: 26  small thumbs up

    • #5.5   The Elf

      Highly motivated.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 8:19 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #5.6   Kimberly

      Almost our entire office eats breakfast at the office. We come in 10-15 minutes early, prep a light meal and handle our morning emails and/or return phone calls, etc. while we eat.

      It’s not ‘leisure’, it’s efficient. We’re not getting any work done by eating at home and some of us have easily a 60-90 minute travel time. It may be hard to understand if you don’t do it, but we actually get more work done and resolve the need to eat at 10am after eating at 6am this way.

      Great letter, I love salad too!

      Dec 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm   rating: 29  small thumbs up

    • #5.7   Seanette

      backs, I’ve been in the situation of having to arrive 20 minutes or more early due to transit schedules. I’m also someone who can’t cope with solid food too soon after getting up. Grabbing breakfast before starting work makes sense in that situation.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #5.8   The Elf

      We do too, Kimberly, and for the same reasons. I spend about the first hour of my day doing email/voicemail anyway, so I can easily do that between bites.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 6:38 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #5.9   redheadwglasses

      I get to work half an hour early and eat breakfast at my desk before virtually clocking in.

      I have a coworker who HATES that people eat breakfast at work. She was ranting one day about how we’re getting paid to eat breakfast. I told her “My boyfriend thinks it’s great that if he times things right, he’s getting paid to take a crap.” She didn’t talk to me the rest of hte day.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm   rating: 27  small thumbs up

    • #5.10   Beatus Mongous

      I was thinking the same thing: A lot of time was used in the making of this note.

      As far as breakfast is concerned, I, too, eat my breakfast at work. I ride a bike for transportation, and when I get to work, I change my clothes, and then prepare and eat my breakfast. However, I arrive usually 45 minutes early so I can do this before the work day starts. Other coworkers do this, too, and we have all found that it helps us to not think about lunch all morning long. Instead, we can think about more important things, like sex with each other.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm   rating: 19  small thumbs up

  • #6   SA's Spider

    I’ve worked a number of call centers, and they all had a “Everything in the fridge gets throw away at Zam on X night” purge. People would get all hurt and upset that a “perfectly good looking XYZ” would get tossed… and if it was between days they come in, it always seemed like someone stole or ate it. Management didn’t ever seem to tell anyone, either… I saw/met the poor slub that did the crazy fridge clean of a 500 person call center when I was doing overnights and it made sense… fridge would be full again 4 hours later.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   xshoefits

      Every call-center I’ve EVER worked in has been the same. It never too much bothered me as I usually didnt bring food in and if I did it was rare and certainly not left overnight.

      However, this new job I work at stocks one of the two kitchen refrigerator’s in all 3 break rooms so completely full of Yoplait/Greek yogurts, string cheese, sharp cheddar, and fat-free/2% milk for everyone to enjoy that it has slowed food theivery down to a screeching halt. They even provide a very neatly dispensed multitude of cereal/breakfast bars as well as oatmeal, coffee/espresso. They even treat us to Bagel Wednesdays and catered Fridays.

      I have yet to see an employee here that hates their job or is seemingly always sluggish. I can only imagine the drain this causes on ones finances but big buisness can almost always handle it. Treat your employees well, not only does it cut down on theivery but it increases morale and work productivity. Plus the other refrigerator in the kitchen rarely needs to be cleaned out and is always less packed that the other.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 6:50 am   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Miles

      xshoefits, that break room fridge is a lactose intolerant’s worst nightmare.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   Beatus Mongous

      Anyone in that office having trouble with weight loss?

      Dec 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   Lobster

      That sounds completely wonderful, though a lot of that wouldn’t benefit me. It’s still a great idea though, and if thefts are down, my gluten-free things would be far safer, meaning I could manage to eat just as well as anybody else. How nice.

      Not a fad diet. I actually have Celiac disease. People stealing my food are the biggest assholes ever. Period.

      Dec 28, 2012 at 3:00 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

  • #7   Smokey

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls….it tolls for salad.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 4:50 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

  • #8   shwo! bang

    It was a dark and stormy salad; the dressing fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of croutons which swept up the hallways (for it is in the office lunchroom that our scene lies), rocketing along the cubicles, and fiercely agitating the hungry members of the compliance group that struggled against the food thieves.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm   rating: 64  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   juju_skittles

      “Hold them out”, called the Captain, waving his tongs. “I’ll grab the plates; that should slow them down.” The food thieves advanced, stomachs growling, hungry to reclaim the fridge and the salad. They seemed to be spurred on by the thought of condiments, visions of blue cheese dressing with avocado and fresh greens too much for them to give in now!

      Dec 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm   rating: 37  small thumbs up

    • #8.2   redheadwglasses

      I love you both. I wish I could send you homemade cookies!

      Dec 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #9   Ely North

    Is a lousy salad-stealer REALLY going to take the time to read that entire note? Doubtful.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #10   Monica

    The author of this note sounds like a really fun person…not. A germaphobe, a neurotic salad eater, a person actually trying to maximize their productivity at work? Jesus christ, eat some fast food one day, it won’t kill you. Psycho. This is the type of person who’s punch should get spiked at the Christmas party so that the large two by four can become unlodged from their ass. I want to sneeze on her keyboard out of spite. Also, composing that lengthy letter was probably not the best way to maximize productivity.

    Dec 16, 2012 at 11:29 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Mercy

      I actually think the author really DOES sound like a fun person!! She’s witty and smart with a bit of sarcasm. Sounds like my kind of gal! Composing that lengthy letter?? Really? If you can’t compose that in 10 mintes then you should revisit your English composition books. It’s not a NY Times bestseller…..

      Dec 17, 2012 at 7:52 am   rating: 77  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Monica

      Thanks for the bitchy reply. I have a degree in English. HAVE A NICE DAY! :)

      Dec 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   Macca

      Who started it now with all the viritrol thrown at the original notewriter?

      I also would definitely enjoy time spent with the notewriter. But not with you, Monica. You definitely sound like the eponymous “bitch” here.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm   rating: 31  small thumbs up

    • #10.4   Monica

      WTF? Are YOU the note writer? Because I can’t think of any other reason you would care so much what I say about him/her. Last time I checked, we were free to snark on the notes posted on this site. For some reason that I cannot fathom, you took this personally and decided to make ME your target, which is pretty damn immature.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 12:13 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #10.5   The Elf

      Selling tickets to the Monica/Mercy/Macca catfight, or The Rumble In The Office Breakroom. All participants must be clad in bikinis before they wade into the arugula-and-ranch pit. $25/person.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 6:35 am   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #10.6   redheadwglasses

      The last time I saw a cat fight like this, it wason NCIS and all the guys in the room got out their phones to snap pics, rather than break it up.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #10.7   ruben

      You sound like a salad-stealer.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #11   Spag Hoops

    I think the note writer’s got a real sense of humour here, and I like all the references, but really … I see a lot of stuff on passive aggressive notes about people stealing other’s food and I think, isn’t this just a wake-up call to people to just take a proper break and go out for lunch? Live a little.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 1:05 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   kermit

      Not to be a party pooper, Spag, but most people’s wages don’t even match the inflation rate, let alone get raises. Going “out” for lunch is expensive unless you live close enough to go home for lunch.

      And even if that wasn’t the case, people shouldn’t have to let food thieves dictate their lunch habits. People should keep complaining and ostracising these people until it stops. As someone already said, if they’re douchey enough to steal lunch, it’s likely they’re stealing other stuff from work, too.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 5:51 am   rating: 38  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   Amy in Toronto

      If the salad loving note-writer shops for her produce at Whole Foods, as she explains in her note, then I’m guessing she’s earning a fairly healthy salary … not that that justifies or excuses thievery, particularly of arugula. It’s such a delightfully, mildly peppery salad green!

      Dec 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #11.3   Fob at BobJob

      Whole Foods AND Wegmans. This is obviously someone who can afford to buy some more arugula. He/she/it needs to shut up.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 9:13 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #12   kathlynn

    I’m required to stay in the building for what ever break I might get (don’t usually get one, in spite of the provincial laws requiring it). I do not always have the time nor energy to prepare food for that day, I can completely understand where the letter writer is coming for.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 6:11 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #13   VoiceMail

    They call rocket ‘arugula’ in the USA? How strange…

    Dec 17, 2012 at 7:48 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   The Elf

      And biscuits are cookies or crackers. Jumpers are sweaters. It goes on – with that in mind, arugula isn’t so odd. And “rocket”? That’s a space thing, not a vegetable thing! What is with you all?

      Truly, we’re two countries divided by a common language.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 8:23 am   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   kermit

      It makes sense for biscuits to be cookies or crackers because the same word is used in French and other languages. Southern biscuits are by any definition scones or something.

      And I’m sorry, but it makes just as little sense to call a sweater a jumper as it does to call a dress a jumper.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 9:25 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   North

      They call arugula “rocket” in the UK? How strange…

      Dec 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #13.4   rocketlady

      then it would blow your mind to know what we call eggplants and zucchinis

      Dec 19, 2012 at 3:54 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #13.5   Beatus Mongous

      ^ We call them sex toys here, too.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

  • #14   Shannon

    I live near the area this took place. There aren’t a lot of options for eating out

    Dec 17, 2012 at 7:50 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   The Elf

      It just says “an office fridge in Maryland”. That could mean a lot of different places, some of which would have a huge number of inexpensive options and others would have none at all. Did I miss a specific location?

      Dec 17, 2012 at 8:25 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   kermit

      Maybe Shannon is the submitter of the note. Or if an identical note showed up at her workplace, there’s a good chance it’s the same note.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 9:21 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #14.3   Poltergeist

      Or maybe she’s saying there aren’t a lot of options for eating out in Maryland in general. Or maybe there isn’t a lot of food in Maryland at all. Maybe the people of Maryland are starving and nobody knows about it because the media is too focused on the fiscal cliff! Our people are starving and we don’t even care! They might already be cannibalizing each other in Baltimore and we would never know! What is this world coming to?!…oops gotta go, my lunch is ready.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #14.4   kermit

      Poltergeist, people in Baltimore have been cannibalizing each other for years. “The Wire” already explained it to everybody.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #14.5   JoDa

      The note clearly said that she takes the light rail to Mount Washington to get to work, and went to the Whole Foods there on her way in. Should someone have provided such details to me, about an area that I am familiar with, I could probably provide a general description as “there aren’t a lot of lunch-style restaurants there.”

      Dec 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #14.6   The Elf

      Point. I had forgotten that little detail!

      Dec 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #14.7   Andy

      But there is a Wegmans close, and they have any and everything one could possibly need.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #14.8   Emily

      Wegman’s is at a different stop on the light rail, probably on her way home…since we’re debating it.
      I live in this neighborhood, too. :)

      Dec 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #14.9   Fob at BobJob

      The Wegmans he/she/it is referring to is the Hunt Valley Wegmans. Mount Washington is just a few stops south. I bet he/she/it comes up from somewhere in the city center to work in Hunt Valley.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 9:22 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #15   Dane Zeller

    I’m sorry I can’t join you to share your salad. I can see I would not be able to talk during my meeting with you, and your salad wasn’t good enough for which to fake a friendship. You might try this, though: I really prefer an oil and vinegar dressing. Could you handle that?

    A possible friend.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 9:23 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #16   Erin

    I kind of hate this person and feel like he’d be a huge bore at a party if you met him. The kind of person that’s rude to the underpaid clerk at Whole Foods but thinks he’s a good person because the eggs he’s buying are free range.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 9:27 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   nikki

      You hate this person because they are calling out someone who stole their salad?

      Dec 17, 2012 at 11:22 am   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #16.2   Erin

      No, I hate this person because of the manner in which they called someone out for stealing their salad. Read the second sentence.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 4:01 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #16.3   Kyle

      Acknowledging that other people like salad? That boring douche!

      Dec 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #16.4   nikki

      “The kind of person that’s rude to the underpaid clerk at Whole Foods but thinks he’s a good person because the eggs he’s buying are free range.”

      Sorry man, either my reading comprehension sucks or you gave no real reasons other than your own wild imagination that this person sucks.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #17   LeJupp

    Passive aggression is best served polished!

    Dec 17, 2012 at 10:13 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #18   T-rex

    Op, your hunger for a rocket, can be solved with men.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 10:35 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #19   T-rex

    Op, your hunger for a rocket can be solved with a man.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 10:36 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #20   Frank Booth

    Proverbial – I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   Amy in Toronto

      True. Looks like note-writer was looking for “veritable”.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #21   megara

    Maybe someone threw out the salad because a huge box of a week’s worth of greens was taking up more than one person’s fair share of space in the fridge.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

  • #22   Kacky

    If you want private food, keep a cooler under your desk. ESPECIALLY if you are “a germophobe”. The whole damn office is not responsible for managing your ocd.

    Dec 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #22.1   nurgleth

      Irony, people.
      I can’t believe how many take that line seriously. Do you believe a real germaphobe would leave their salad in an office fridge? Not wanting someone to return the salad after they’ve probably eaten it is not exactly germaphobic.

      Dec 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #22.2   Macca

      Yes, I believe it’s called hyperbole. Exaggeration, even. It’d be the equivalent of someone saying “Ew, I don’t touch the bathroom doorknob. I’m such a germophobe”

      No, it’s just common sense, but words are used “wrongly” like this all the time.

      Dec 18, 2012 at 12:02 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #23   meri

    seriously, you people read the whole report?

    Sorry, arugula and toast lover, TL; DR

    Dec 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #24   Kittymama

    The only time I’d consider taking someone’s food from the fridge is by accident — if I really thought it was mine. To remedy your own shortsightedness by wrecking someone else’s plan for their work day? And it’s hard to change plans in the middle of a work day. I’ve been reading PAN for years and I can no longer keep silent about what sh*tty behavior this is. Not that any of you in the commenting community have ever stolen food. And I realize some workplaces are simply jam-packed with shady characters. Okay, you can dogpile on me now if you wish. Happy holidays.

    Dec 18, 2012 at 1:12 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #25   sarah

    this person is a slightly more eloquent, american version of me, and i love this note! i too love rocket and am just about to put away some toast and avocado [half, because let's not get too carried away, it isn't christmas yet!] for breakfast. i also pride myself on being fluent in american food vocabulary! cilantro was the newest one i learnt, and i think i like it.

    Dec 19, 2012 at 4:15 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #25.1   Beatus Mongous

      Cilantro is delicious, but it’s a Spanish word.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #25.2   sarah

      most food words that are different in british/american seem to be because we take the frenchy version [though to be honest, i think we were just having fun with 'rocket'] and america the spanish or italian. still, i find it interesting.

      Dec 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #25.3   Beatus Mongous

      Yeah, but my point was that we still call it “coriander” in much of the U.S. In the Southwest part, we use the name “cilantro” due to the heavy Mexican influence.

      Dec 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #25.4   Vega

      I live in the Northwest and I’ve always heard it called “cilantro” (if we’re talking about the leaves), it was the same when I lived in the Midwest for a time. I’ve only actually heard it called “coriander” when referring to the fruit/seeds.

      Dec 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #25.5   redheadwglasses

      Vega is correct. the leaves are “cilantro” and the seeds are “coriander.”

      Dec 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up


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