“I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.” ~ Emo Philips

Crazy penguin lady

Funny how defending penguins at work (see Adoption, The continued adventures of the penguin, and Update on the penguin) has led people to think that I have this thing for penguins. “No,” I try to correct their misconceptions, “I only became interested in them (gentoo penguins in particular) when the penguin at work was being mistreated.”

My coworkers don’t seem to remember this point. To be fair, maybe I am not helping my cause.

I now tend to see penguins everywhere. I pass a store window and notice the stuffed penguins (and look particularly at the color of their feet). I see the Chrome Momentum plug-in‘s daily photo on a coworker’s computer and comment…because it is a photo of a penguin. I stumble across an article about a job at the Penguin Post Office in Antarctica and think, “How cool a job would that be! Working at a post office surrounded by gentoo penguins. I would so be outside playing with the penguins.” And I share this knowledge of the job opening with my coworkers.

But it’s not just me touched by this penguin fascination. I have been given notepads with penguins on them. Candy with penguins on the wrapper. Chocolate in the shape of penguins.

Multiple people at work have excitedly spurted, “Hey, have you seen that penguin cam at that one zoo?” Yeah, the Edinburgh zoo. I occasionally visit it to see what the penguins are up to in Scotland. Some days they are nowhere to be found, other days floating on their bellies in the water, and still other times zipping through the water. I swear I’ve seen an albino penguin there…or as albino as penguins can get.

Coworkers even thought about naming our team Team Penguin. (No, I did not suggest it.) Thankfully that suggestion did not stick. A couple of months after the team naming, I moved to a different team. The penguins (the original one and the small one gifted to me by the intern) accompanied me on my move.

A few weeks ago, a coworker tried to convince me that the original penguin wanted to spend time on his desk. “No, he doesn’t.” “Yes, he does.” “No, he would be sad split up from myself and the other penguin.” End of story. The penguin had entered Penguin Protective Services many months earlier and then was adopted by me. He was quite happy on my desk and would not be spending time across the room on another coworker’s desk. (Did I mention that this coworker stops by my desk about once a week to greet the penguin with a scratch on the head?)

Working in an open office environment, it is sometimes hard to work without being disturbed by someone poking you on the shoulder. Hence, my team’s grand plan to institute a visual sign on our monitors for DND (do not disturb). When we need to work undisturbed, up goes the signal. I got the great idea that mine would be photos of penguins.

Alas, the grand idea did not work. Up went the photo of the penguins, and down went Amy’s head into her work. Whooosh, the sound of an incoming foam rocket from another team right before it nailed me. So much for the grand idea of a DND signal!

Also, using photos of penguins as my DND signal may not be helping to dispel my reputation as the crazy penguin lady. Just a thought as I fulfill the role I fell into as Protector of All Things Penguin at work.