Sunday, January 22, 2006

Even a brick wants to be something

He thinks he’s Chris Tucker.
He thinks he’s so fucking funny.
He wears this T-shirt with a devil on it saying ‘God is busy. Can I help you?’

By all measures, IG is a grade-A jerk and a half.
Genetically devoid of tact or class, he’s openly leered at every new female employee that’s joined.
The last time we were colleagues, he was asked to leave after I saw him throw a chair at a fellow worker.
He’s screamed at one of his closest friends in the middle of a work day saying “You fucked her! You fucked my girlfriend! You fucker!”

Don’t like me? Fire my ass.
And people have.
IG don’t give a shit about nobody.
IG don’t need nobody’s help.
Then one day he comes to my place.

He’s dressed in a long-sleeved shirt and a pair of slacks. Brand new from the looks of it, and IG is completely uncomfortable. The act of putting on something that was actually washed must’ve been quite traumatic, as his constant fingering of the collar shows. He’s also sweating. My theory is it’s the physical strain of not swaggering. Or maybe it’s the hardship of keeping his hands to himself and not making his fingers perform some lewd gesture (his favourite was a V-sign, in-between which he would stick his tongue in a flicking motion).

I’m not the only one that sees this of course.
In fact, just passing through the department and coming up to my cubicle, he sends a ripple through the crowd in this Moses-parting-the-Red-Sea kinda way.

“Hey, I need to ask you something man.”
The tone, it’s all wrong when he says it. This can’t be right. Is he, Holy Fuck, is he being courteous?

“What is it?” I ask. I keep it even, but I really don’t know where this is going.
“You know how to tie a tie?”
“Can you tie mine?”

I offer my palm, and he hands it to me. An awful, gaudy, polyester serpent.
If any of you have met me, you’d know: I ain’t Carson Kressly. But hey, even I wanted to bitch-slap him. Some shit, you just don’t wear man.

But I start tying it. For the record, I don’t usually care. We’re not friends. We don’t even say a hundred words to each other in a year. But I gotta know.

“What’s going on. You got an interview or something?”
“Yeah, kind of.”
I look up at him.
“I’m meeting her parents tonight.”

Well, fuck me dead.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Write and wrong

I write for a living. I’m very lucky cos I get paid for doing what I love.

But every now and again, I get asked to write stuff which I have problems with.
It’s not the writing itself.
It’s...well, you’ll see.

Colleagues in practically every company I’ve worked for have asked me to write theirs. I’ve written so many that I’ve actually got a protocol. First, I tell them:
  • Resignations are private matters, and best done by one’s self.
  • Resignations don’t need to be creative. Just clear. And the message is remarkably consistent, regardless of position or industry (I’m leaving, duh).
  • There are several excellent websites from which you can grab templates. Just Google ‘resignation letters.’
Course, this does nothing to deter people.

Firstly, they want to send a message. They range from “I want to say I’m happy to leave and fuck y’all, but I don’t want to burn any bridges” to “I don’t want really want to go, but I want it to sound like I’m very serious about it.”

Worst of all, my suggestion to download a standard format is met with “Yeah, I’ve seen those. I want something different. I don’t want what’s out there already, y’know?”

It gets worse.
I sometimes get referrals from people who’ve resigned, and they say “Your last few letters are starting to look the same. Can you gimme something different?”

I have written complaint letters to:
  • Banks (a lot of banks)
  • Internet Service Providers
  • Neighbours
  • Pet Shops
I try and persuade people to give these establishments a call and do it on the phone.
Plus mail takes a while to go through ‘the system’ (they all got some kinda system). Calls are faster and more direct.

No dice.

“I want to sound very unhappy! I want it to be strongly worded with…strong words!”
And almost all of them want me to end on a threat. Preferably something about going to the papers.
But when I say “Ok, which paper do you want to cc on this little note?” they go “Er, I just want you to imply it.”

Emails of generally dubious intention
Requests I’ve entertained (sometimes with regret):
  • Rejecting an unwanted date (“He’s such a fucking creep. But don’t be mean. He's my boss.”)
  • Asking someone out (“Try not to make me sound needy. Don’t do it like you do it.”)
  • Various email wars about various stupid company matters (I’ve actually stopped doing these since I’m very uncomfortable with my writing being the match that ignites the shitstorm, not to mention being very frustrated when the person complains that “It doesn’t sound like something I would say.”)
Which brings me to the problem I have with all this.
Is that how people see me?
A writer of nasty letters?
Do people see some vicious streak they find handy in unpleasant situations?

I love writing.
It’s something I want to do forever.
Something that has my signature on it.

But is that what my signature reads?

‘Asshole. But useful.’

Saturday, January 07, 2006

55 words

You're tired, aren't you old man?

Tired of seeing all the kids run to that clown.
It used to be that children trusted you cos you looked like granddaddy.
They'd sit on your lap, let you play with them.
Now they flock to a man wearing makeup.
Look at them, licking his snow cones. Fuck!