I am reasonably new to Stanley Beaman & Sears. At a previous job I was known to be a bit of a prankster and I didn’t exactly put this on my resume when I got hired here. So – Shhhhhh…if you don’t tell the principals here at SBS, I won’t.
It took a while to work my way up to ideas that were elaborate. One of my favorite early pranks is to switch the arrow keys on the keyboard so the up becomes down and right becomes left. It is so subtle that people often don’t find it until years have gone by. I was also never one for mean spirited pranks. A joke that requires 15 seconds of setup and can aggravate a person for a chunk of the day is not where I am coming from.
The Setup: A friend is going to be out of town on vacation for three weeks, plenty of time for an installation. The idea is to make it look like he was gone so long that his desk became overgrown with weeds. My media of choice? Neon colored bubble tea straws. I don’t think I was specifically drawn to the colors so much as I needed big straws, and they only seemed to come in bulk in certain colors. I also made sure to buy unwrapped straws as the prospect of unwrapping thousands of straws was less than appealing.
Step 1: How exactly does one estimate the number of straws required to build a straw weed prairie? I did some rough estimates and took a shot and ordered 8000 straws from a bulk restaurant supplier at a cost of around $120. They arrived a few days later in two large boxes. Once you have plunked down that money on an idea you are committed as there aren’t a lot of places you can sell straws and there are only so many people willing to see how fast you can drink a Red Bull through a bubble tea straw.
Step 2: Assembly of the straws. We quickly realized that simply doing straight shoots was not going to look like weeds enough so we devised a way to mix it up by making junctions. Some of the early attempts were getting a bit elaborate – but soon we came to the conclusion that we could simplify the junctions and get the same result which was suitable for mass production. A well-placed cut and a glob of hot glue made for organic looking opportunities.
Step 3: Assembly of the base. Gatorboard glued together formed a rigid structure. From that the first piece could be cut into the base and glued. Subsequent pieces are installed using a pinch and shove method.
Step 4: Install assembled units into base.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat until your fingertips are so sore you can no longer pinch a straw. I will never drink bubble tea again (so I guess that means I will never drink bubble tea even once?).
[editor’s note: You have to try bubble tea at least once…it might change your life for the better…or you might just think it’s strange, but either way you will have learned something new about yourself. The general opinion around our office is that Kung Fu Tea on Buford Highway has the best bubble tea in the area.]