Rescued an Old Friend This Week

For over 22 years, I have created a respectable collection of scientific instruments, cryogenic test probes, electromechanical test platforms, circuits, and other frankensteinesque apparatus at NIST in Boulder, Colorado. This post is dedicated to the one tool that that made it all possible, my workbench. I inherited it upon my arrival at NIST from an engineer that was soon on his way out and it moved with me through three different laboratories during my career. Now every first or second Friday in April, my group does a mandatory spring cleaning of our offices and labs. I think that making it mandatory is the only way you can get a scientist to clean up after themselves and believe me, they can amass a huge pile of crap in only one short year! During this year's cleanup, my beloved workbench was pegged as one of the items in the lab that had to go. We definitely needed the floor space so I reluctantly agreed. In 10 short minutes, the drawers were emptied the shelves were cleared off, and it was placed in the hallway to be carted off to an untimely demise. I know this because I was the property custodian for many years and things like old desks, benches, and other "government-gray metal" get pitched into the recycle bin. It sat in the hallway for a few days after and I submitted the paperwork for it to be taken away. It was almost like in The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, I could hear its heartbeat through my office door. Was I the only one who could hear it?

On about Wednesday, I decided that I couldn't stand for this and made some phone calls. "Is there any way that I can buy this and take it home?" To my surprise, a note (initialed by the boss) was added to the form that I submitted that read, "Workbench to be recycled by Ted Stauffer." Needless to say, I quickly jumped into action and loaded it into the truck and brought it to its new home in my garage. I now know that when I finally reach that golden age of retirement, I will always have my old friend with me to reminisce about my... excuse me, OUR days at NIST. THAT makes me happy!

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