Co-workers that make you go Hmmm??! A couple of happenings recently reminded me of a couple of the gems I’d been honored to work with over the years, and I thought I might regale you with more tales of clerical buffoonery.
Long ago, I worked in the inventory department for that steel fabrication company. There was another young man who worked with me as a clerk. He was honest, reliable and hard-working, but so was my Labrador Retriever. He wasn’t stupid in any way. He did the job well, but he definitely came to work each day on the short bus. Does anyone but me, remember Candice Bergen’s father, Edgar Bergen, the ventriloquist? This guy was like the dumb dummy, Mortimer Snerd’s even dumber brother. For the younger crowd, imagine Jeff Dunham’s character, Bubba J, without the urbane smoothness.
Reality could sneak up on this boy. Hell, reality could come dancing in wearing wooden shoes and a bright pink tutu, and he wouldn’t notice. He wasn’t even distracted by squirrels or shiny objects. He had a one track mind, but it was narrow-gauge. I worked with him for over a year but never asked him if he was a local city boy or if he was raised in the country. Country seemed likely, but I thought I might not survive the story.
The fourth in the series of James Bond movies had recently been released. I had seen them all. The wife and I had attended the most recent, a couple of weeks before. He came bubbling in one morning all agog about this movie he had found. It was a real action/thriller movie about this English spy. I should go see it. The guy who played the hero, whose name he couldn’t remember, was this really good actor, whose name he DID remember. It was Seen Conaway.
He lived in a front apartment, in a fairly big apartment building on a main street. He told me one day that he had asked the supervisor if he could hang planters from the windows and balcony rail. I asked him what he wanted to plant. Apparently the super had also asked him what kind of flowers he was going to put in. He told the super that he wanted to grow vegetables. Interesting, but if he wants some fresh radishes or beets, more power to him.
Later that summer I had to be in his section of town and looked up to his apartment on the fourth floor. I almost crashed my car. He was growing corn. Each planter box had three corn plants, one at each end and one in the middle. The roots were already three feet off the ground because of the height of the window-sills and balcony. The guy in the apartment above him might have been able to reach the cobs, to harvest them, but I don’t know how he ever did.
The best Newfy jokes I’ve ever heard have been told by Newfies. The best Polack jokes I’ve ever heard have been told by Polacks. I’ve never heard a Paki tell a joke, because, when they packed to come here, they only had enough room for all their attitude, and had to leave their sense of humor behind. Both Newfies and Polacks insist that, no matter how dumb the joke, one of them has actually done it. I worked with a Polish-Canadian woman who was so dumb, she didn’t know that she was Polish. She was animal-cunning and street-smart. She parlayed a divorce settlement into three houses. Two she rented. The first was paid off. The rent from #1 paid the mortgage on #3. The rent on #2 paid the mortgage and helped on #3.
All names have been changed to protect the writer, in case she finds out that the internet exists. She and three other Polish women used to sit together and gossip at lunch. There were two Skis, and two Polish toboggans. For those of you shaking your heads, many Polish names end in SKI, they’re the Skis. Most people know about the Polish heritage, but, other names, like Zuwala, or Yantha, or Dueck, are also Polish. These are the Polish toboggans.
I kidded her one day, about the four Polish women, sitting around, plotting to take over the world. She had no idea who I was talking about. I named all four of them and said they were all Polish names. She explained to me that her name, Gutowski, was not her maiden name. Remember, she was divorced! I had just assumed that she had gone back to her maiden name, so I asked her what it was. Pacheski! But that’s still a Polish name. “But Dad spoke perfect German!” she insisted. What? And if he could speak Mandarin, you’d have slant-eyes?
She was a prank-playing shit-disturber. One day she had four people, including me, willing to wring her neck, all at the same time. To her, this was fun. She couldn’t understand why anyone would get upset. She started a water fight with a guy in the plant, that ended with her getting three gallons of water dumped on her, and couldn’t understand why he would do such a thing. I saw it happen, and reminded her that she had started it. “No I didn’t.” She got a drink from a big thermos of cold water and threw the last of the glass at him. He went and got a full glass and threw it at her. She grabbed a hard-hat and filled it and poured it on him, so he grabbed the pail of process water and poured it on her. “But HE started it!”
Nobody wants to take responsibility for what they’ve done. Some are so stunned, they don’t even know that they’ve done something. Looking back now, I can find things like this amusing. I’m just so glad that I no longer have to put up with this s**t, any more.