06 July 2015

A Taxonomy of Desk Weeds

Desk weeds can be divided into two main categories.  On the one hand we have the genus "paper", and on the other the genus "vessel" (n.b., this is not a proper division, but a functional one).  Paper is further divided into "loose papers" and "bound papers". Loose papers include such species as old receipts, post-it notes, Sunday bulletins, notecards, stock certificates, and bits of scratch paper.  Loose papers on the whole grow at a predictably steady rate, but are easy to clear up, provided one tends to them at regular intervals.  Bound papers on the other hand include only two main species (magazines and books) but the virulence of this genus of desk-weed should not be underestimated.  Not only do they quickly grow up into large, tottering mounds which threaten to eliminate all free work space, but their removal requires considerably more time than loose papers, because they must be sorted and carried to their proper shelves.

Passing then to the second category of desk weeds, we can divide vessels into two main genera: disposables and non-disposables.  The genus "disposables" is dominated by one species: aluminum cans, though there are other minor species alongside it (e.g. spray bottles, e-liquid bottles, paper coffee cups).  The uniformity of the members of the aluminum can species makes them easy to clean up, but once they have begun to multiply, they tend to grow uncontrollably for a period of time.  Thus provision must be made for their removal as soon as they appear.  The genus "non-disposables" can be divided most conveniently into "drinking vessels" and "eating vessels", although again this is not a proper division of the genus.  Among non-disposable drinking vessels we find the species "water glass" and "coffee mug".  Among "eating vessels" we find "bowls" and "plates", along with their separable appendages "eating utensils".  Among all the desk weeds, these have the slowest rate of growth, but are perhaps the most difficult to get rid of.  Their multiplication can, however, be halted through the exercise of certain hygienic habits.

So much, then, for our account of desk weeds.