Misplaced Mold Bowl

When lunch breaks are sandwiched in between work deadlines and demands, eating gets postponed and food often gets forgotten or misplaced.
It’s true.
I think that’s how a small blue bowl ended up on top of the file cabinet, near the back window.  Everyone saw the bowl up there, but nobody seemed to have the time or the inclination to do anything about it. As a result, it sat up there for quite some time, undisturbed. Maybe for a week or more, I’m not sure.
mold bowl
Finally, one afternoon, a young man decided it was time to straighten up our somewhat cluttered office space. Before he began dusting the top of the file cabinets, he picked up the little blue bowl and looked inside. His mouth dropped open. He gasped and then shouted, “Whose bowl is this? It’s filled with freaking mold! Gross! I can’t even tell what it used to be. WHO left this bowl up here?”

Under the circumstances, no one wanted to claim ownership of the poor misplaced bowl. However, curiosity did compel everyone to get up, walk over, and take a look. The spontaneous comments that the mold evoked were quite interesting:

 “Oh my God. I always thought this job was going to kill me. Now I know it.”

“Auugh! Just give that icky moldy bowl to me. I’ll take it to the sink in the kitchen and wash it out with hot water.”

“Oh no, don’t do that! Big mistake! Don’t even touch it. Mold spores will fly out all over the place. Who knows what kind of awful disease is lurking in there.  Office biohazard. Looks like a science project gone bad.”

“Yuck! What do you think was in this bowl before it was THIS? Looks like it might have been soup? Oh well, it doesn’t matter anymore. Let’s just throw the whole thing in the trash.”

“Wait! I have a camera! Don’t do anything until I take a picture. I think the mold is kind of beautiful…ummm…well…in its own way. Look at all the different colors.”     (And yes, I am the one who said this).

After a quick photo shoot, the bowl was carefully wrapped in a plastic bag and secured with a plethora of packing tape. The word “BIOHAZARD” was written on the front and back of the bag with a black marker, the bag was tossed in the trash, and everyone seemed to be satisfied. Crisis averted! We all returned to our desks to continue working, and life went back to boring normal until someone chuckled and said:

Hey…remember that guy who ate half a can of sardines, put the rest in his desk drawer, and then went on vacation for two weeks? It took several days of suffering before anyone found the source of that horrible smell. Looking back, that was pretty funny too.”

It’s been 9 years since then and everyone in that office has moved on to different jobs. Nothing stays the same. Life has changed, but the photo of the misplaced mold bowl lives on!

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in Creative Writing, Humor, photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Misplaced Mold Bowl

  1. Lynda says:

    Knowing that the contents had been cooked, and therefore were sterile to begin with, we can only conclude that what we see is evidence of what was growing in their mouth.

    It makes you wonder how we can survive with that soup of spores living there. Yet, our antibodies are working tirelessly in the background to keep us safe! 😉


    • I am not sure if the contents in this bowl was cooked. No one could tell what it used to be and no one was going to turn it over or poke at it to get a better look. If it was soup though, it probably had been cooked. Maybe. 😉


  2. nuvofelt says:

    Well worth the photo – whatever it was 😉


    • I agree. Life was dissolving right before my eyes, mutating.
      Well worth a photo or two.
      You know…..some food still looks really good even when it is bad.
      At least this food, whatever it was, got fuzzy and changed colors so hungry, foolish people wouldn’t eat it. I admire honesty, even when it is not appetizing.


  3. doompaul says:

    The person that was upset about Biohazards is probably the same person that tries to collect $2 from everyone in the office to buy cake for someone’s birthday and then comes in with free home-made brownies.


  4. nicolaforde says:

    Ha ha! This is great. Living with two guys means I often find moldy cups of coffee under the sofa and bowls of sour milk and mushy cereal on top of the microwave! It’s pretty gross, but we do all have a good laugh at it.


    • Oh…I have seen that too! Abandoned coffee mugs.
      One guy told me that he accidentally left a half-empty coffee cup on his kitchen counter at home. In the night, the milk and sugar in the coffee apparently attracted a few roaches, who fell down into his cup and drowned. When he found them floating there in the morning, he said he was totally impressed by how effective sweetened coffee is at catching roaches.
      “I think I’m going to do this every night, ” he said, “It’s safer and cheaper than bug spray.”
      EGADS. Hahahahahaha….


  5. John M says:

    The two worst desks/cubicles in any office are: 1) the one at the entrance, where you’re constantly interrupted by people coming in, and 2) the one by the refrigerator/microwave/coffee maker, where you’re treated to moldy bowls, unsavory odors, and continuous whining about people taking the last cup of coffee without making more.


    • I agree. You are absolutely right about all of that!
      People do congregate in the kitchen and complain about things that they could quietly correct.
      Have you seen the sign that some companies place over the kitchen sink?
      It says:
      “Your mother doesn’t work here. Wash your own dishes.”
      Sometimes even that doesn’t help. 😉


  6. Diane C says:

    I think the funniest thing about this situation is, when someone announces “Ewwwwwww. Gross!” everyone looks around affronted that someone would do this – including the culprit! The safest thing to do if you are the perpetrator is to be the one that yells out “Ewwwwwww. Gross!”


  7. Lol…icky but quite an interesting photograph. 🙂


    • Yes, I agree. It is icky!
      In fact, every time I look at it, I want to get some soap and wash my eyes.
      However, it is a perfect example of what happens when employees are expected to eat lunch while they continue to work.
      Now with lots of companies cutting back on their workforce (and expecting the few remaining people to do the work of many), I am sure that more mold bowls are quietly growing. 😦


  8. Lol…yes,..that’s a sobering thought. Love your line about washing your eyes! 🙂 Cracked me up!


  9. wodezitie says:

    Oh my god, this is hilarious.


  10. ajaytao2010 says:

    Funny its not worth giving so much importance


    • Importance is a relative thing.
      That misplaced mold bowl was of great importance among other things of lesser importance. It helped to bring a new spark of life (however moldy) into an otherwise routine work day. It caused people….who had buried their minds in paperwork…to actually stand up and communicate with others around them. It shocked us into awareness and brought us together for a brief moment in time (AND it gives me something to smile about even now). Long live the memory of the mold bowl!


  11. Kavita Joshi says:

    thanks for stopping by…nice pics here….


  12. Good story! Thanks for the recent likes of my “At Rest” and “Turbulent Ocean” posts, Mary; appreciate it enormously!


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