This is mildly sordid. You have been warned. It’s also a bit of a stretcher. But like all stretchers it’s based on truth. The findings in the recycling waste are true. Most of the comments are real. The thinking is accurate. I’ve just played a bit. Roll with it.

My infamous mate Kev works for a recycling company. They deal mainly with dead electronics, servers, laptops, monitors, other peripherals, cabling. All that stuff.

But they also recycle paper…

My mate was loading paper into the industrial-strength shredder. This has a musclecar power unit, and a proper grownup set of molars; it can deal with extraneous stuff such as the odd stapler or paper punch, the occasional ringbinder. Even so it needs a weather eye on what goes in.

He came across a man’s tie. OK, life after office hours eh? But you can see how a man might remove his tie at work, and forget it.

Then a pair of underwear. Men’s briefs. Definitely life after office hours, eh? No crime. These things occur. You know, way of the world. I certainly know having spent 19 years in an ad agency. Still not what you wish to deal with in your workday, a set of pre-owned trollies. Also hard to imagine how you could forget to put them back on, but hey ho. There could be a perfectly good reason.

Then a part used tube of KY Jelly.

That gave Kev pause for thought.

I have no thoughts either way, other than it was a bit bad mannered. What happens happens. But a bit of consideration for cleaners (and recycling people) would not go amiss, would it?

Then, me being me, after I had stopped snorting with laughter and asking if he’d been wearing gloves, I asked what was, to me, an obvious question.

‘Did you have to pick up a photocopier there?’

‘Yes. Why?’

‘Did you wear gloves then?’


‘Did you touch the screen?’

‘Yes. …Oh bollocks.’

’Or worse.’

‘It’s in the contract of employment in a City office, isn’t it?’

‘I believe so.’

‘At the Christmas party, somebody must photocopy their arse.’

‘Them’s the rules.’

‘I need to go and have a shower.’

‘Concentrate on your hands. You have no idea who was there last. It may not have been what you refer to as “posh totty”, it might have been the pimply faced postboy with the hygiene problem.’

Exit stout party pursued by a bear.