Trials and Tribulations

Mr. Panty-Waist was truly a wonder of humanity. In fact, if there was a zoo full of human exhibits he would be right there, tucked into the corner of a darkened enclosure, a dumb, befuddled look up on his face, under a plaque that read, “The Human Sloth”.

One of his more murder-invoking qualities involved his sloth-induced tardiness for just about everything. I would wager that his mother was probably in labor for a full three months before he slid slowly and grudgingly down the birth canal into that infuriatingly large, people-filled sphere known as “the World”. Even then, odds are fairly good that he tried to crawl back in. (It’s probably also the last time he was that closely involved with a vagina, but I digress.)

In a full work year I counted maybe five occasions that Mr. PW was in the office before 9:30 a.m. Those were times where he’d missed some deadline and a client was burning his ear canals with threats of dropping in at 10 a.m. to review work that didn’t exist or the one occasion his already fragile psyche was being tested by his kid who had a toothache and was throwing a tantrum that had the Richter Scale people concerned. If there’s one thing that Mr. PW couldn’t abide it was kids throwing tantrums. Or indeed kids at all! Not that he fared any better with adults, but with children he was truly out of sorts. To see him talk to a child was painful and not just for the child. Imagine Patrick Swayze reciting Shakespeare and you’ll get sort of close, though.

His tardiness was legendary in the company. He believed everybody assumed he was at the client’s and indeed that was the myth he liked to perpetuate. He’d call me at about 10:30 a.m. sounding like he’d just awoken from a winter’s hibernation and say, “I’ll be in around noon, I’m uh…at the client…reviewing…” and I’d hear some shrieking pre-schoolers in the background screaming some sort of ancient war cries and think, “You took the kids to the client, huh?” In my final year with the company, the phones were upgraded and I got caller ID, a fact that constantly eluded Mr. PW as he still called each morning, still half in a coma, claiming he was currently entrenched in the plush offices of our client, whereas my caller ID rudely contradicted this by scrolling his home phone number across the screen, like one of those ticker strips at Times Square.

Not that I cared where the hell he was. Wherever he was, he was somewhere that I wasn’t and that was always a positive. However, on many occasions he would stroll in around 4:30 p.m. and want to start working on some “urgent” document. So urgent you can’t get your ass in to the office till the end of the day, huh big guy? Bear in mind I worked till six and had spent the day until then, doing nothing at all due to the lack of boss. So he’d stroll in, read the Wall Street Journal and scratch his large, wooden head frantically for ten minutes, then decide he wanted a 50 slide PowerPoint presentation, with full graphics input and probably including several pie charts, graphs and other things that are patently useless but can make a page look snazzy with some effort and of course it HAD to be done tonight. Naturally, that would mean me staying late to do it as Mr. PW himself, as we established many entries ago, was not born of the technical gene. He was as likely to open and create a PowerPoint slide show as I was to break-dance naked on the conference room table at the next company meeting.

These nights always ended horribly, with me wishing for death – usually for him and involving some heinously painful impaling instrument, but often for myself to just make the pain end. I would create the document and print it and he would edit it by scribbling changes all over it so it looked like some four year old had gotten hold of a Sharpie and used it for drawing practice. I would make the edits on computer and reprint it and the whole thing would happen over and over again until my eyes would scoot around my cubicle looking for a power outlet that I could slip my fingers into.

On the worst occasion, I was still in the office at 11:10 p.m. putting the finishing touches to some giant Word document full of crappy PR jargon that we’d been working on all night. As soon as he gave me the last edit, he left, leaving me to make the changes then fax it to the client. Naturally he gave me the wrong fax number and it took me an hour tracking down the right one and I finally arrived home at 12:45 after I’d briefly considered a detour uptown to pipe-bomb his apartment. Sadly, this sort of thing was commonplace. Working late for something that could’ve been done in office hours – not pipe-bombing his apartment, although I wouldn’t place any bets that someone hasn’t tried at least once.

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6 Responses to “Trials and Tribulations”

  1. pistols at dawn Says:

    I think that the combination of “naked” and “breakdancing” would make for the single greatest meeting in history. Oh, wait, “lady” has to be thrown in there as well, or else it could be more awkward than Borat.

    Did part of you sort of respect him for continuing the lie, even when it was so painfully obvious? I feel like having the cojones to hold fast to even the most ridiculous of courses, which is why I love our President more each day. “Really? You’re going to keep plugging the war AND supporting Gonzales? That’s just political suicide, you amazing sonsabitch!”

  2. The Guv'ner Says:

    Ha, I’m not sure “naked” and “breakdancing” should ever belong together on anyone! Too much gyrating and bouncing flesh…oh wait, I see what you’re saying!

    I don’t think I had an ounce of respect ever for the guy after the first day, which really isn’t good for a boss. I ended up sort of half despising half pitying him. He was really incapable of functioning like “normal” people.

  3. pistols at dawn Says:

    I understand the complex emotional mix. It’s like, “Man, your life must suck, you sad, pathetic wretch,” and then you have to code $100k of expenses for him, and you’re like, “You pathetic rich wretch! I hate you with the heat of a thousand suns!”

  4. The Guv'ner Says:

    Whoa, that was uncanny. It’s almost like you were THERE. 🙂

    I would be like, “How come I’m poor as dirt while you have zero brain cells, no charisma, whine for a living and just basically fail at life yet pocket a salary that looks like a lottery win?” Then I’d sulk.

  5. doorknob_dan Says:

    I picked a random post of yours from way back to respond to to see if you’re paying attention.

  6. The Guv'ner Says:

    I am paying attention. So you can bite me, Canada.

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