This is a picture of my shoe.
Note the boring khaki cuffs and the unimaginative, overly-textured carpet. That’s because this photo was taken at work. I’m not supposed to wear sneakers to work, but I was born a rebel. (Also I occasionally have flare-ups of plantar fasciitis.)
This is a picture of a wheel.
Note the carpet, similar to the prior picture. That’s because it’s also at work. This wheel is one of five identical wheels in my ergonomic chair. (“Ergonomic” is a corporate buzzword, from “erg,” meaning “work,” and “onomic,” meaning “is really freaking uncomfortable in this chair.”)
Our company is really, really big into workplace safety. In fact, some of our annual employee evaluation is based on keeping a safe workspace. No boxes or files lying about on the floor, monitors at approved height to avoid eyestrain, and so on.
The gaps in the wheel are where the doohickey connects to the thingamajig. This allows the chair to roll in any direction. This also allows the wheel to snag onto a shoelace.
Go back and look at the shoe. I’ll wait.
Note that it has shoelaces.
Today, I pushed back from my desk, with my foot next to one of the wheels — not for any particular reason, but because it’s where it ended up. The wheel snagged a shoelace without my knowledge. I stood up and started to walk out of my cube.
Suddenly, my left foot wouldn’t move forward as it was supposed to.
I nearly fell forward. Had I done so, I probably would have hit my head on my co-worker’s file cabinet, pulled my chair down on myself, and spilled my hot coffee all over myself and at least one other person.
Something tells me that management would not have found this to be the safest use of their ergonomic chairs. And, based on prior events…
Today, I narrowly avoided being the person who caused upper management to institute a mandatory shoelace-tying seminar.