A report on the dark side of office life
On any given day here at O, The Oprah Magazine, there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 69 very talented, extremely detail oriented, high-energy, hardworking women and men all doing their jobs and doing them well. I love a few of them, I like a lot of them, I despise one of them. She is the Magneto to my Wolverine, the Saruman to my Frodo, the Dr. Octopus to my Spiderman. I call her The Tinkler.

It's a typical Tuesday; the office is humming along. I'm answering e-mails, writing cover lines, scheduling a dental appointment here, partial highlights there, kicking myself for not getting sushi at lunch. The sun is shining, the color printer is working—my life is good. I mosey into the ladies' room, glance at the mirror, remind myself that fluorescent lights make everyone look as if they're in the final stages of tuberculosis, and head for a stall. And then I see it: The seat, even the floor, is covered in little yellow droplets. The Tinkler strikes again.

To date, I have been able to deduce only four things about her:
  1. She is female.
  2. She attacks between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
  3. She works alone.
  4. She was raised in a barn.
I've been her victim more times than I can count, and it has turned me from a happy-go-lucky columnist into a bitter, paranoid germaphobe. She has become the bane of my existence. We live in a world where our soldiers lack sufficient body armor, where Rupert Murdoch is blurring the line intended to keep the business and political interests of media owners from influencing the presentation of news, where the White House still refuses to respond to questions they promised to answer as soon as the Scooter Libby case was closed, where studies indicate that worrying you're going to get sick will actually get you sick—and yet I am devoting an entire column to The Tinkler.


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