Ever wonder what it was like to be on the team that made the first insulated tumbler?
‘Twas a cruel riddle, the task. Nary a one of us made it through those months without thought of leaving for good. Some of us wept violently at our desks; others spent hours staring out the window, awaiting the day-end’s bugle blow. Not that any of us left. How could we go home and face our families with such a burden hanging over us, like plants, the kinds in hanging basket? No, we all remained there long into the night.
The task was two words, sent via fax machine from the higher-ups: “Insulated Tumbler.”
Insulated Tumbler! What magic did they expect of us? Did they not understand that the insulation required to keep a beverage warm or cold would also dull noises produced within? And was a tumbler not defined by the clinking noise of ice against its walls? How ever could such a ghastly thing be possible?
The prototype didn’t take long. Honestly, we finished it the first day. It was the testing phase that stretched on for months. Or should we say, it was the waiting to begin testing that took so long. We were afeared, all of us, even Big Muscular Janice. What if we placed ice inside and it did not clink? It would be our end!
Then, someone remembered: Thomas! The secretary downstairs! Who, since visiting an ill-reputed ENT doctor, had developed a hyper-sensitivity to noise, capable of hearing miniscule sounds produced miles away! We approached him cautiously with the tumbler, filled with ice and lemonade.
“What’s this?” he said when we presented it to him.
“Just something nice!” we said. Once he’d taken it, we retreated to the hallway. None of us could handle it to be in that room, that potentially job-endingly silent room.
We waited. Each second pricked like the prickery part of a rose! Then the door slowly opened. Thomas came out into the hallway. “What’s going on? Is this a prank?” he wanted to know.
We looked at each other. Finally, Big Muscular Janice spoke. “Did you hear any clinking?” she asked.
Thomas did not understand. “Of course I did. There’s ice in it, isn’t there?”