How Do You Get Stuck in a Water Bottle?

When I first started at my current job, years ago, we had a water dispenser that took 5 gallon bottles of water. We used to have to lug the bottles down the hallway, wipe down the bottles, take the plastic lid off, and lift and tip and drop the bottle onto the dispenser, hoping that we would not get ourselves, the wall, the floor, or anyone else wet. Most of the time, we ended up with wet shoes or shirts. This got a little easier when we switched to 3 gallon bottles, but the process was pretty much the same.

Fast forward several years. We got new dispensers that were supposedly spill proof. The new bottles were different. They were still a reasonable 3 gallon size, but now they had little tabs on the bottles that we pulled off and just dropped the bottle onto the dispenser. Much easier and no one washed themselves accidentally.

I had to figure this out. The next time it was time to change the water bottle, I pulled the bottle off the dispenser and looked into the dispenser. There was a pin, about the size of a finger, inside the dispenser. It must do something. I put the new bottle on. Oh, ok. The pin goes into the cap and stops the water from coming out. But what keeps the water inside the bottle when it’s upside down like that?

I took the empty water bottle and began investigating. There seemed to be a little dent in the middle of the cap. The pin must go there. There was a little piece of plastic inside the dent. I wondered how it kept the water in, so, of course, I put my finger in the dent to see how tight the seal was. It was not tight at all. It gave way immediately.

I was not expecting that little pressure, so I pushed harder than I should have. When the plastic piece gave way, my finger took up the space where it had been.

My finger was just the tiniest bit bigger than the plastic piece, so it didn’t come out easily. I lifted my hand to see if I could get my finger out but it was in there. Thankfully the water bottle was empty, so it was light. I wasn’t panicking, but thoughts went through my head. Would this be considered worker’s comp? Can I get up to the emergency room upstairs without drawing too much attention to myself? How am I going to explain this one at the emergency room?

I eventually got my finger unstuck just before my coworker came around the corner. She looked at where I was, the look on my face and the water bottle with the little piece of plastic in it. She asked me if I had been stuck. I admitted that I had been. She just shook her head and declared that only I could get myself in a situation like that and she walked away.

I am sure that I’m not the only one, but I’m usually the first one to admit that I do stuff like that.

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