G’day mates – It’s time for a very special edition of The MailBLAG. So, pour yourself a donkey pint, throw a shrimp on a plastic doll for some reason, sharpen your metallic, post-apocalyptic child’s boomerang and get to ranking your knives by size, because I’m solving an Australian problem today.
“What classifies a problem as an Australian one?” you may be asking if you’re as balls-out American as I am. Typically, the answer to that question involves venomous snake bites and toilets that flush the wrong way. In this case, however, it’s a pretty normal problem posed by an Australian BLAG fan. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I have fans all over the Commonwealth of Nations. I’ll defer to the problemee:
I need your advice. My firm recently hired a new junior solicitor and he is… well he’s a bit different. He’s strange. He’s creepy. I was actually on the interview panel and, whilst I did not sing his praises, I also didn’t object to his hiring either. I don’t know how to sum up his creepiness. He has a lack of social boundaries and often tells sexually explicit stories. He also tells terrible jokes, he is mediocre at his job, he takes an inordinate number of vitamin pills, he has bad dress sense and he smells. Okay, I made the last bit up, but the rest is true. Do I sound petty? I feel like I’m sounding petty. He is Creepy. Trust me. I write a blog about him (http://creepypants.wordpress.com).
I wish he would just… leave. What would you do if you had a creepy pants at your office? Would you ignore him, encourage him or sabotage him? If the latter, how would you go about seeing to his demise without getting caught? Am I being unreasonable? Am I asking too many questions?!
Help me, MailBLAG. You’re my only hope.
I’m going to ignore the transparently self-promotional nature of this letter. In fact, I ignored it so hard I even hyperlinked your Web address. If there’s one thing we here at BLAG understand, it’s shameless self-promotion. I asked my barber to promote my site just last week (presumably by shaving it into the backs of guys’ heads). Plus, you greased the wheels nicely by paralleling me with Obi Wan Kenobi. So, I will help you. But, first thing’s first. To indulge the conversational nature of these list-structured, one-sided mailbag posts, I’m giving you a person’s name. I’m going to randomly pick “Andrew,” because gmail told me that’s your first name.
Let’s get started, Andrew. The first step is accepting personal responsibility. You say that you “didn’t object to his hiring.” All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. You can only solve a problem that you’ve committed yourself to owning. Once that’s done, we can start looking at our options:
1. Kill this guy
I’m not saying you should start with this. I’m just starting with it. I also tend to get more reasonable as the day goes on, and that’s happening right now, as I’m writing this. But seriously, it sounds like nobody else likes this guy. Your murder motive, while uncomfortably clear (particularly given that you have a blog dedicated to hating this guy), is surrounded by other, similar motives. It’s like one of those movies (or, “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”) where a rich old asshole gets killed, and they have a hell of a time figuring out who “done it” because everybody hated the guy. Downsides to this plan include: having to kill somebody, guilty conscience-type feelings, police attention, possibly losing your job, having to kill more people to cover it up. If you have to do this one, make it look like an accident. Maybe use one of those venomous snakes that I mentioned.
2. Get him fired
So, you mentioned a couple of things here. One is that you were on this fellow’s interview panel, and two is that he’s mediocre at his job. The former leads me to believe you have some position of authority, or at least enough seniority or good will with your employers that they respect your judgment when it comes to personnel. The latter gives you good reason to get him shitcanned. Now, sprinkle a little bit of abnormal pornography onto the hard drive for his work computer and you’ve sealed the deal. As with most of the solutions to life’s stickier problems, once you get past any moral qualms you may have about destroying someone’s life or Googling unsavory search queries, the execution is pretty much cake. Simply download the material onto a thumb drive, then upload it to his computer while he’s at lunch. His penchant for sexually explicit stories will only incriminate him further, and nobody will suspect foul play. Your firm will pretty much have to fire him. Best of all, nobody had to die! (Unless you opted for a snuff film.)
3. Ed Norton
This one’s simple and requires little explanation: Beat the shit out of yourself, à la Ed Norton in Fight Club, then blame it on him. Also, I think that movie was filmed in Australia [update: nope, it wasn't; LA].
4. Escalate the situation
Sounds like things have reached a boiling point with this guy — in your head. But I’m getting the impression he has no idea. This guy sounds like what I like to call a social vacuum. A social vacuum basically sucks the figurative air out of the room simply by being there. They have a poor sense of humor and tend to say things that completely derail any kind of conversation or collective enjoyment. The reason these people act this way is that they completely lack self-awareness. You see, all people start out awkward and stupid, and it continues until you’re well into your 20s. But every little social embarrassment is typically a lesson learned and a step towards improvement. This coworker you’re dealing with — he doesn’t understand subtlety. Your only shot is making your distaste for him impossible to miss. Hopefully, it will at least make him less comfortable around you and he’ll aim his creep guns elsewhere. Even if it effects no change, you’ll feel the catharsis of publicly not putting up with his shit. Sounds like your coworkers might also respect you for it.
See, this is a difficult problem to solve. It’s not easy, like getting asked out by a tranny. This is work and it’s supposed to suck. That’s why that show The Office was so popular. Work, for most of us, is a thing where someone pays you to do things that nobody would want to do for free, with people you’d never hang out with under any other circumstances. Add to that an arbitrary power hierarchy that only makes sense within the context of your job and demands subservience, and the big picture starts to come into focus. Your creepy coworker is just another cog in a machine that has tricked everyone in the developed world into wishing their way through five of the seven days of every week of their lives.
Once you start thinking like that, you’ll grow far too unhinged to give a shit about this dude, or you’ll find yourself inching closer, by the day, to option #1. Alternatively, just try to ignore him.