Why Tanya's Paper Airplanes Are Better Than Geoffrey's Paper Airplanes

Tanya's paper airplanes swoop. They climb with the barest effort, then accelerate as they cut smoothly through the air on their descent. They fly arrow-straight, unless she intends them to curve; then they curve with a confident arc and seem as if they are being steered by a pilot.

Tanya's paper airplanes have been known to fly for fifty or even sixty yards, if flown in adequate space, like the large employee lunchroom, or the shipping department. Geoffrey's paper airplanes don't seem to fly any better than would crumpled balls of paper. Throwing them harder just makes them hit the ground faster.

Tanya uses 65 lb. Cover stock to fashion her paper airplanes. She pilfers her material from the main copier room and her airplanes sport a vibrant array of colors from the Wausau Astrobright series; colors with aviation-appropriate names such as Liftoff Lemon, Orbit Orange, Re-Entry Red. Her paper airplanes create a mad assault on the senses as well as on their targets. Geoffrey's paper airplanes are folded from common cheap copier paper, white, or once even from an old newspaper, more suitable for a sailor hat. His airplanes are floppy and insubstantial.

Tanya knows how to launch a paper airplane. She throws with confidence. Geoffrey's airplanes are always scooting along the floor and getting caught in the grill at the bottom of the break room water-cooling unit, or the space between the bookcases in the legal library.

Once, Tanya drew machine guns on her paper airplanes. She flew them at Geoffrey's paper airplanes where they sat in their pre-launch configuration on his desktop. She made rat-a-tat-tat noises as her airplanes appeared over the cube wall and dived down to attack, and laughed. Everyone laughed.

Geoffrey made the not-strictly-appropriate sound of an incoming artillery round and ignited Tanya's paper airplanes with a lighter. The fun was over very quickly. The sprinkler system saw to that.

A few days later, Tanya retaliated by breaking into Geoffrey's overhead cabinet with a universal Steelcase key that the receptionist keeps up at the front desk in a Hello Kitty mug. She went in there to get the Roberts account file that Geoffrey was working on. When he arrived that morning, all the draft pages of the Roberts report had been folded into paper airplanes.

In return, Geoffrey shat in Tanya's inbox. At least, that's what everyone thinks. It happened during the annual picnic thrown in the parking lot by the property rental company, and no one remembers seeing Geoffrey there, even though he was definitely at work that day.

A few months after that, Tanya took a promotion and transferred to the "near-shore" office, in Halifax. Geoffrey is still here. He never makes paper airplanes any more, but he does fly them from time to time. Every week or so, an interoffice envelope arrives for Geoffrey, and inside, folded flat but still aerodynamically sound, is a paper airplane. There's never a name written on the "From:" line. The airplanes fly perfectly, even when Geoffrey is throwing them.

About the author:

Thom Verratti hand-folded and creased this piece just for Pindeldyboz.