There is one coworker, however, who might deserve special mention. I recently referred to him as the Funny Guy Who Shall Remain Nameless (But Deserves a Punch in the Face), but his real name is better than any nickname I could possibly give him. His name makes him sound like a 1930s pulp magazine hero, which creates an incredible disparity with his personality (another coworker calls him (appropriately) The Most Boring Man Alive). I'm too paranoid to use his actual name here, but if I were to refer to him as, oh, say, Dirk Danger, it would be more of a synonym than an exaggeration.
The only spice in Dirk's über-bland demeanor is his obsession with practical jokes, the consequences of which never cross his mind until it’s too late. He thinks it’s funny to spray canned air at people when they're on the phone with clients. He thought it was hilarious when another coworker broke her leg, and he took away her crutches. He thinks it's a riot to take stuff out of my inbox and hide it, but he tends to do it when I'm away from my desk. If I don't know that something was waiting to be worked on, I can't know that it's missing. How (you may ask) has he managed to get away with this crap? I think that it's a combination of his knowledge and experience, and his tendency to suspend this behavior for several months whenever he gets yelled at for it.
Anyway, I bring Dirk up because the only barrier protecting me from his poorly-developed sense of humor is on vacation this week. Dirk's shtick gets on her nerves because he lets it interfere with his workflow, and his workflow determines our workflow. Dirk's not afraid of me or our boss, but he finds The Barrier (who deserves a much better nickname) intimidating because (A) she's a woman, and (B) she knows exactly which buttons to push to deflate his ego. It's an unpleasant experience for him.
By the time we'd reached four hours into The Barrier's absence, Dirk had already spilled my coffee with a poorly aimed slinky and blown a whistle into my ear while I was on the phone. He says he didn't see that I was taking a call, but I find that very hard to believe, since I don't use a headset. Nobody is immune to this treatment, but I get the brunt of it because I sit closest to him. Either way, the "dammit, don't you have any work to do?" speech I gave him seems to have settled him down, but I've been through this too many times before; I've hurt his feelings, but he'll have forgotten about it by Wednesday.
By Thursday, my boss will be fed up, and she'll have given him a serious warning. After that point, his madcap shenanigans and zany hijinks will be limited to throwing rubber bands and flipping over the papers on my desk as he walks by. I'll respond cattily and hurt his feelings again. As I said, I know by now how it's going to play out. It's not a good resolution, but I can handle it.