Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The learning turd

Hed. Just tell me his name.”

That’s my brother Eric calling from Michigan. Mom told him about my Turd of a boss.

“And where do you work again?”

If you have (or are) a sister or daughter, you understand the No One Fucks with My Girl phenomenon. And it’s obvious my only brother is only half serious so it’s cool and scary and funny all at once.

“The thing is,” I say, avoiding his questions. “There’s a lesson in this. I just have to figure out what it is.”

“Right,” says Eric. “Do that. In the mean time, what’s this guy’s name again?”
“Picture this, Hedy,” says Mom yesterday morning. “Your father and your brother coming to Chicago, to your office.”

“Turd, I’d like you to meet my family,” I say, making the fantasy my own.

“Yes. Da on one side, puts his arm around the little Turd. Eric on the other side, pats him on the head…” she continues.

“And then they proceed to beat the living shit out of him.”

We laugh, knowing in some crazy parallel universe that is exactly what would happen.
“There’s a lesson in this,” I tell Mom later. “You know I have anger issues. I snap occasionally. Maybe the lesson here is that by dealing with someone who has off-the-charts anger issues I can see a small part of myself in him and get better.”

“Maybe,” Mom says, careful to avoid saying anything that might, well, make me angry.
“You weren’t here when he got beat up, were you?” asks the office manager.

“No,” I say. “Someone beat him up? Here, in the office?

“Yes,” she says. “The guy was a floor trader and an ex Navy Seal. Arms like this. It was awful. But he had it coming.”

I let out a nervous laugh thinking about the familial fantasy from earlier in the day.

“But the really sad part is, he’s been here 20 years and you couldn’t find one person in this entire building who would say a kind word about him.”
The guy obviously has issues. Serious anti-social issues.

On my bad days, I take it personally. Whine to friends and family. Eat Fudge Stripes. Lotsa Fudge Stripes.

On my good days I let his insanity roll off like so much acid rain.

But through all of it, I’ve been a bit of a turd myself.

Describing him here. Judging him. Laughing at him.

Rather than trying to understand him, I’ve vilified him. Rather than being compassionate, I’ve been cruel.

Which makes me no better than him.

So I think that’s the lesson. Yep. I think that’s it.

What if it isn’t, Hed?

Then I’m really looking forward to the next time my family comes to visit.
I am listening to: New Soul – Yael Naim
I am reading: Neil in the Sun-Times
And I am: Getting there


Susan said...

"I see having to deal with this one of three ways" I said to the high school liaison police officer in talking about a boy who was physically and verbally harassing my daughter.

"The first way, which is why I am here and how I want it to be taken care of - deal with this kid in school."

"If that doesn't work - my second choice is I go to the police station and I fill out whatever complaint/report, etc. that it takes to get the message across to this kid."

"My third choice - and I hope it doesn't come to this - but we are dealing with a bully and sometimes the only way a bully will learn is to be 'dealt with' - so I will have him 'dealt with'."

As matter-of-factly as that - I said it. To which the officer said "You can't say that - I am a sworn officer of the law." "Okay, then I didn't say it." was my reply.

I know in hindsight that it wasn't nice, kind, Christian me sitting in the school office that day - it was my Dad and my brothers having taken over my body and catapulting me back-to-a-time when that is how things were taken care of - we stuck together as a family and the men led the charge against wrong.

So, Hedy there is a lesson to learn - the lesson is do you pick Da or Eric to stand behind?

When it is turd's time.

FM said...

hedy hedy hedy... juz tell 'da turd u r friends wid 'da mirza. He will back off completely.

No point bothering ur bro in Michigan when u can settle this in-state.

BTW... no lessons to learn here. This place is just a waste of time. Move to a different company and start looking now!!! Every day spent here is a day wasted.

Seriously... just point him out to me. If he disappears... oh well. I'm sure nobody will notice.

Susan... I like your third option. Actually, the options are in reverse order for us pakistani people. We belive in 'not bothering' people and just handling the issue ourselves.

Oh reminds me... hunting season is about to begin. Gotta go stock up on 'dem shells. ;-)

Posolxstvo said...

We don't have the power to control anyone's actions. Anyone who tells you that you do is deluded. At least, not directly.

The only thing you have power over is your reaction to someone's actions. And in all cases, the right thing to do, and therefore almost always the HARD thing to do, is react in a way that makes the situation better.

"The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable." - J.S. Buckminster

That said, I don't advocate an ass-beating, so much as I advocate social darwinism. If everyone in the company left and started a new company together, leaving him behind, I bet that would send a message...