Of Accidental Incidents and Incidental Accidents

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Boy, am I a klutz. A tripping, stumbling, bumbling, stammering stooge; an absent minded, spaced-out, daydreaming, sleepwalking reference point for manufacturers of ‘fool-proof’ gadgets worldwide; a meandering, careless fr… Hey, stop nodding your head. I was expecting something along the lines of “Come on, Hammy. You’re not THAT bad”, or something to that effect. Show a guy some support, will ya?


Ok, ok… So it’s not like anyone can dispute the innate clumsiness that I embody. I’ve been a klutz from my kiddy years when I used to bang my head on the bed’s head-post every time I tried to take a nap. No denying that, and I really shouldn’t be asking you to try.

I am taken back to medieval history; back when I was pretending to study for my engineering degree. My dad had decided to adopt the pleasant mirage of a studious and mature son, an optimistic vision he still sticks with on an intermittent basis. I was home for the holidays, with my nose sunk deep in a Perry Mason mystery. Yeah, those books really smell nice… I’m kidding. I was reading the book. It was the final courtroom scene. District Attorney Hamilton Burger was once again busy cooking up a web of circumstantial evidence against Perry’s demure, full-lipped, hapless client, Miss Ina Cent or something… and he was grilling a well-coached witness on the stand about something very cruicial…

“Get to the roof and shut off the plumbing”

“Objected to as incompetent, immaterial, and irrelevant!!”


“Oh. Sorry, dad. Was in the middle of a book here.”

“Hammy, put the book down… Make yourself useful for once. I’m trying to fix the tap here. I need you to go up there and when you hear me, turn off the valve. You’ll find the gate valve under the tank. Ok?”

“Oh, yeah. Sure.”

Now, it was the climax of the novel, and anyone who’s read a Perry Mason novel would know that you simply can’t put it down at that stage. Is his client guilty? Innocent? After twenty odd novels, I had begun to sense a pattern about that, but could I really be sure? Anyway, I had the solution. I carried my book with me to the rooftop. I looked around. Aha! The valve under question didn’t escape my scrutiny. I simply had to turn the knob. Yes. Now I just needed to wait, and that’s something I could do while reading the novel.

So I was back in the novel. And yes, just as I had suspected, Hamilton Burger was full of hot air. Perry Mason took all the evidence and shoved them down his throat. The crowd went wild. And Perry’s client was…

“NOW! Hammy! Turn it off NOW!”

Huh? Turn it off? I looked at the valve. I remembered finding the valve. I remembered looking at it. Did I turn it off at then? Or did I just sit by waiting for instructions? Was the valve on or off right then?? Maybe it was off and I shouldn’t touch it. But then what if it wasn’t off? Could it have been on? It looked like it was on. It looked like it was on?? Then turn it off, dammit. QUICK!! Done!

And where was I? Ah, yes. Perry’s client is… not guil.. Hey! NOT GUILTY! Ha! I knew it! Perry did it again. Hooyah. Eat grass, Hamilton Burger. You don’t stand a…


I looked up to see my smiling, loving, caring dad, except he wasn’t smiling, loving OR caring at the time. He looked like he had just crawled out of the ocean after a particularly stressful swimming session with sharks. He was dripping wet, and looked quite steamed up.

“Mr. Engineer. You turn a valve COUNTERCLOCKWISE to turn it off. You hear me?”

How about that? I never knew that. I mean, it made sense, it was just like a tap that way. But I didn’t have time to bask in my newfound knowledge. Dad was obviously struggling with his emotions. His look of anger turned into despair, then hopelessness, and finally settled on disappointment as he walked on.

Getting my dad soaking wet in his office clothes was but ONE example of my clumsiness. (I didn’t mention he was wearing his office clothes at the time? How clumsy of me.) I was a klutz alright.

But I hadn’t adopted my klutzhood into my work persona. I was, to a large extent, klutz-free as far as office work was concerned. Sure, I’ve spilt coffee on the hard disk, doodled accidentally on company documents, and crisscrossed a few wires here and there, but I’d never been klutzy about things that affected my work. Thanks to last week, I’ll never have to make that statement again.

I fumbled on basic documentation, with approximately forty to fifty errors per page. I marked clients on internal communication. I went back and forth on a metaphorical one way lane. I made the kind of mistakes that could have gotten a rookie in trouble. And I was supposed to be a veteran. With two and a half years of experience tucked under my ever-expanding belt, the nature of mistakes that were made were nothing short of embarrassing. Personally, I blame my sleepless nights, stress of workload, pressure on performance and work stagnation. I’m still working on an angle to blame the government for this mess. I’m not too worried about that, though. With the right effort, you can blame the government for ANYTHING.

I have to work out this chink somehow. But how? I have a delicate balance to maintain. I don’t mind changing for the better, but I don’t want to change so much that I am not myself anymore. I don’t want to change my klutzhood outside of office. I just want to stop goofing up on work. How?

Maybe I can pay more attention to work? Ya, I guess I can do that. Maybe I can make notes on what I do? Hmm… not a bad idea. Maybe I can ask friends to recheck documents before I send them off to clients? I guess I could try that. Maybe I could…

Objection!! Counsel is leading his own witness.”


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11 Responses

  1. clueless says:

    clumsy huh?? join the club…

    “I don’t mind changing for the better, but I don’t want to change so much that I am not myself anymore”


  2. Binny V A says:

    > I’ve spilt coffee on the hard disk
    How did you manage that – considering the fact that hard disk is inside the cabinet?

  3. silverine says:

    Ahem…someone wise said…

    “Every man needs a wife because there are so many things that go wrong and for every damn thing you can’t blame the government.”

    p.s I have spilled Coke on my Motherboard! 😐

  4. hammy says:

    JOIN the club?? Clueless, meet the club president. I know. It must be an honour for you. 😉

    @binny v a:

    considering the fact that hard disk is inside the cabinet

    OBJECTION! Assuming facts not in evidence!
    I kinda tinker around with the comp quite frequently… So my office comp, like my home comp, and like all the other comps that have come and gone past me, frequently hangs around without the customary shelter of a cabinet.

    And even otherwise, if you think hiding inside a cabinet could make a hard disk safe from my coffee, you’ve got another thing coming.

    Ahem… I like you, Silvie, so I’m going to ignore that crack on every man needing a wifey thingy, obviously targeted at my current on-and-off predicament. You’re welcome. 😀

    You’ve spilled coke on your motherboard? Welcome abroad, fellow klutz. Welcome aboard. 😉

  5. silverine says:

    err it was a laptop motherboard…and so the Coke…well sorta traveled…you get the gist? 🙁

    “so I’m going to ignore that crack on every man needing a wifey thingy”

    Now that is a veiled threat X(

    • hammy says:

      The coke sorta traveled? Yeah. I know what you mean. Stupid coke. Always traveling.

      Now that is a veiled threat X(

      What?? Oh, Sorry, Silvie. Really. That was totally unintentional. I mean… There’s a veil there? I didn’t even realize.

  6. Bill Libbey says:

    Klutz or not, you’re a damned funny writer!

    “A tripping, stumbling, bumbling, stammering stooge; an absent minded, spaced-out, daydreaming, sleepwalking reference point for manufacturers of ‘fool-proof’ gadgets worldwide; a meandering, careless fr…”

    But you’re too hard on yourself. I’m sure you dont stammer! :>)

  7. Bee says:

    Ha! :o)

    I had a friend like that who got promoted faster than I did in a company and I couldn’t figure out why! I’m the opposite, I am too focused on helping that I neglect my other side (not sure what my other side is, since I neglect it).

  8. hammy says:

    @bill libbey:

    “But you’re too hard on yourself. I’m sure you dont stammer!”

    Bill!!! Thank you! That’s all I was asking for! That’s ALL! See? Was that difficult? I think not.

    Hey, you! Yeah, you… I’m talking to the rest of you… Yeah, all the non-Billy boys out there. You could learn a thing or two from him. Thanks again, Bill. I know I can count on you.

    Bee! You’re a sight for sore eyes… well, thoughts. And at the right moment too… Just when when I was about to decide whether I should drown my klutzhood in a bottle of vodka, you come in with a bacon of hope… Hmmm…. still, it’d be a shame to let all this vodka go to waste.

    I want to be like your friend. I want to get promoted faster than my betters so fast that they can’t figure why… And not because they’ve had too much vodka… speaking of which… Bee, do me a favor… For the next hour, let’s just pretend I haven’t read your comment. Just for a short while.

    I’d love to stay and chat, but I only have one hour to finish a bottle of vodka. See ya soon, everybody.

  9. Arun says:

    Hammy, you know what? The 8th Commandment prohibits me from saying something just to support you!!! 🙂

    Btw, Happy Onam!!!

  10. Aishwariya says:

    A natural (self-confessed) tendency to be klutzy, and you’re polishing off bottles of vodka? Somehow, that doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do…:P

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