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Photo Flashback: Brave New World Edition

There was a time when computers were going to be our friends, when they were going to make our lives easier. Take the "paperless office," for example. No longer would workers' desks be crowded with invoices, reports, letters, memos and While-You-Were-Out telephone slips. The computer would fix all that, leaving us with desks as smooth and bare as a Ken doll's pubis.

Take this photo from 1979, for example:


It was taken by Post staffer Gerald Martineau and ran in the paper on May 3, 1979. The information typed on the back reads: Watergate Mall. 2nd level. Office personnel in demonstration layout of equipment in the "Paperless Office."

You can tell it's a "demonstration layout" because there is literally not a single piece of paper there. And what is that woman on the left doing? She seems to be staring at an enormous digital clock.

Can you come up with a funny caption for this photograph? Share it in the Comments section below.

By John Kelly  |  August 24, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Photos of Washington  
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The office looks incredibly sterile and boring, hence the woman staring at the clock on her screen. Balloon would read: "I've been here 10 minutes and it already seems like ages."

Posted by: bobcrambo | August 24, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I believe those people work for the Dharma Initiative, and that woman is waiting to enter The Numbers.

Posted by: Epigon | August 24, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

They really look like the Stepford Secretaries, don't they?

Posted by: JohnFKelly | August 24, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

It was becoming impossible to stifle the laughter when after weeks the new intern still hadn't figured out that her appointment as office clock winder was just a joke...

Posted by: MacGruber | August 24, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

In all seriousness, I think I worked in that place in about 1981 (or was it 1982?). The consulting firm I worked for (Kappa Systems) was bought out by the same people who ran the Paperless Office. Most of the people were pleasant but one woman was a total witch. Thank goodness I transferred to a different office in the company, I always had too much paper on my desk.

Posted by: mensa58 | August 26, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

My office is full of paper. I got plenty of hundreds of emails telling me what to do, but it doesn't become a priority until I print it out and lay it on my desk.

Posted by: jimward21 | August 26, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

The only time my office has come close to being paperless is when we couldn't get in a supply of paper for the printers.

Posted by: MikeM_inColumbia | August 27, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

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