Silver Lining: Industrial Piranha: Brooke vs. the Binding Machine*

May 12, 2010

Industrial Piranha: Brooke vs. the Binding Machine*

Today I was helping out at the elementary school. Normal. I checked off some homework. Normal. I led some book group discussions with the fourth graders. Normal.

I had to bind some poetry books with the binding machine. Not normal.

If you’ve never had the misfortune of interacting with a binding machine, let me explain. It’s a innocent-looking metal contraption used to lure people into a false sense of security before literally devouring them.

I’m very afraid of it.

“Okay Brooke, you can do this.” I thought to myself, staring it down in the workroom. Apparently the thought wasn’t internal though, because the third grader getting construction paper from the cupboard next to me looked up weirdly. I ignored her.

So I carefully installed the plastic circular comb through the rows of sharp metal spears and pulled back the lever slowly. I didn't stop until the plastic comb was stretched so tightly, even the most Botox-injected celebrities would be jealous.

Next, I had to thread the paper through the booby-trapped contraption without touching anything, which is like wrenching open a piranha’s mouth and asking it nicely to hold still while you sprinkle fresh drops of blood on its tongue.

Thus you can imagine my horror when, right at the most crucial moment, Mr. Hayhurst stopped on his way to recess duty to throw me his copier machine keys.

I promptly dropped them, which I always seem to do at the most inconvenient times.

The keys landed on the corner of the binding machine. If there was ever a slow-motion “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” moment in my life, this would be it.

The hibernating piranha sprang to life with bloodthirsty reflexes, sending the plastic comb flying straight into my eye. With a great metal CLANK! the monster’s teeth snapped shut, taking the corner of the poetry packet and several of my fingers with it.

Don’t believe anything anyone says about a scream.

With the help of my remaining fingers and the cupboard-searching girl, I managed to reclaim my eye and even most of the paper. It’s embarrassing when a third grader has to help you disentangle your own left hand. {plus her hair was way prettier than mine will ever be. How is that fair???}

Me: 0. Industrial piranha: 1.

*credit for the title goes to Elder Jensen, who is linguistically insane.


  1. This totally made me laugh. I share your same feeling about the binding machine.

  2. Hahahaha. Oh Brooke, this is hilarious. I myself have had terrible times with those stupid machines. They might be the very handcraft of satan. :)

  3. AnonymousMay 13, 2010

    wow, intense, i'm sending over some iodine fore any deep cuts. Amanda

  4. ohhhh myyyy goshhhhh!!!! I so feel your pain on this one. Working in Office Depot I had this extremely stressful situation everyday, and I ruined many a books.


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