Here's the Scoop: Oct. 1, 2008

Spotting some trouble
At first, I thought it was a practical joke. Two co-workers asked at the same time, “What’s on your shirt?” Naturally, that’s never a question anyone likes to hear. It ranks just below, “Ewww….what’s that on your face?”
My confusion was magnified by the fact that, when I looked down, I didn’t see anything wrong with my shirt. Still, they persisted and I began to realize that a punch line was not going to follow.
Upon closer inspection, I did begin to see a problem with my shirt, a sort of dark spot in the area of the pocket.
The Fashion Police suggested that a pen might have leaked in my pocket — not an uncommon occurrence for me. But a quick check inside the pocket didn’t yield any inky mess.
On the other hand, I did manage to pull out a few crumbs from some items that apparently had started retail life as corn chips. How did these chips find their way into my pocket? That mystery remains.
Not really thrilled with the idea of running home to change my shirt, I went about the day and sort of forgot about the stain.
Until the afternoon.
That’s when another co-worker (this one who does not enjoy the job security of tenure), commented about the stain. I didn’t think she was in on the conspiracy, so I had to confess that I really didn’t know how the stain occurred.

What do you think?
Once the topic arose again, the entire staff (plus several customers) rushed into my office to offer opinions about the greasy mark on my shirt.
“I think it looks like a bunny sitting on a tree stump,” blurted out one person, apparently determining that my shirt was some sort of improvised Rorschach test.
Someone else chimed in that they thought the image looked more like the Big Apple that pops up at Shea Stadium when the Mets hit a home run.
I was not amused. In fact, because my shirt was a burgundy color with white checks, I felt like I was wearing a Scarlet P – for Pig.
I will readily concede to sometimes (often) having a wrinkled appearance, but dirt is another story. I’m against it.
I frequently eat on the run, but my shirt pocket is not among the places where I normally carry food. I must admit, however, that I can envision a situation in which I stuck a baggie of chips in my pocket while in a hurry and a few of those chips spilling out.
The really weird part of this episode is that while getting dressed that morning, I changed my shirt when I discovered the first one I chose had a few small stains!
This incident didn’t have the same impact as Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress, but for me it was a disheartening day — a real Trouble Spot, if you will.