I must go through at least ten trees worth of paper a day at my office.
Okay, so probably not that many trees. Still, quite a few. We're a paperless office, so we go through about three cases a week. That's cases, not reams. But that is not the drift here, the drift is that I have a Shred Box.
See, HIPPA (the large aquatic mammal) says that we have to be careful to protect any and all patient information. That means that any document that has a patient's name on it has to be shredded. If it lists their social security number, for instance, it also has to be shredded. For that matter, any personal information at all on a document has to be shredded. For my own convenience, my rule is that if it is anything but a blank piece of paper it has to be shredded. Needless to say, I have to empty The Shred Box (actually the bottom half of a case of paper...a penny saved is a penny earned!) every six hours or so.
So the thing I'm getting at is this--the things I FIND in my Shred Box. Oh my heavens, the things I find. This morning it was twisted up paperclips, crickets, and a little spider, and I know for a fact I didn't put them there. Paperclips get thrown at Vulgar Wizard, spiders go in a matchbox, and crickets go in the big lateral file in the Medical Records Room, under "B" for "bug" or "I" for "insect." Or "A," if it's a rare "albino."
It's one thing to go digging through a box of loose sheets of paper, finding the occasional loose paperclip or torn up folder or pair of discarded panties. It's another thing entirely to pull out a handful of sheets only to reveal a shiny little black critter, flashing his antennae in the suddenly bright world. So of course, me being me I had to sort of scoot him out of the box and onto the carpet, where he could go and find his playmates. Another handful of paper, another cricket. This went on four times, until I reached the bottom of the box, revealing a plain-but-pretty and very confused little tan grass spider, who I can only assume was searching desperately for some grass to be in, rather than lurking in the bottom of a prey-free Shred Box.
I could just hear the nature show host behind me: "Here ze Zhred Box is full of ze life. Watch as ze tiny Pervuvian Highleg Black leaps OUT of ze harm's way usink only hiss powerful hind legss. Zee as ze hapless Businessss Offiz Zpecialissst cannot capture ze tiny creeture in hiz clumzy hands."