Computers, Classical Music and “Tough Guys”.

I swear I’ll try not to let this chapter deteriorate into a rant… But it’s going to be hard. The reason it’s hard is because it’s partially about a place I once worked at where I did my best to do my job and got “right sized” for my trouble. I say partially because to illustrate my point, I will be specifically be referring to an idiot who works there. To set the stage for this particular scene, here are the two main characters. First there was me. The second was the idiot VP who I’m sure, thinks he is the hottest shite out there.

First something about me..I like to think of my self as fairly normal in most ways. There is one major difference between me and most of male-dom that puts me on the out side of the main group though. Sports. More than not caring one whit about them, I actively avoid them. They bug the hell out of me. I like watching kids play a game, but when it’s adults (no matter how intellectually stunted they may be) get paid actual money to play with a ball… well that just sets off my bull crap alarm. The last bit that turns me off completely to organized sports is that the players have no connection to their team. If the Boston Red Sox actually came from Boston (or even New England), I might get interested in their games, but they’re not. There from where ever and the second they can make more money playing for the Denver Squirrels or Kalamazoo Kangaroos or what ever, that’s where they’ll go and the fans there will cheer for them like they’re home town boys. Which they’re not. So I’m not even slightly interested in men playing with their balls, and to top it off, I’m an artist, a computer junky, a classical music listener and fairly soft spoken. I’m not a 98 pound weakling. In fact I’m about six foot and 175. I’m not bulky in terms of musculature, but I stay active and like to do things like rock climb and mountain bike. I do not however, exude “athlete” or wear AXE body spray.

The Office Idiot was one of those people who immediately irritated me. Loud, pushy, arrogant, loved to point out faults in others in the office, and sucked up to the boss like a remora on a sharks hooha. He’s a HUGE football fanatic and talks about it constantly. He obviously spends a lot of time at the gym and likes to pretend that he’s Scarface and quotes him often. This is made all the more irritating by the fact that ethnically, he’s about as far away from that as you can get while I’m a healthy chunk Sicilian. He also sports a wicked combover that is just begging for a good breeze and apparently bought all of Bill Cosbys’s sweaters from his “Cosby show” years, and wears them often. 1986 would be proud.

So, I avoided him the best I could. The office was open concept so this was trickier than it sounds, but I tried my best. One day, things were apparently on the slow side for him, either that or he was working hard at not working much. Both have the same probability. He was dealing with the “stress” of nothing better to do by putting a golf ball around the office. What I mean by this is that, in an open concept office with no cubes or offices, he was hitting a golf ball with a putter, around under and sometimes through everyone else’s work space while they, the underlings, were actually trying to do work. Great for moral. The ball came my way and since I was actually being productive at the time, didn’t notice the ball until it bounced off my foot. I tried not to roll my eyes, which took immense effort. As The Office Idiot walked over to retrieve his ball. After regarding me for a second with arched eyebrow, he snapped, “You play golf?”. I replied that, no, I didn’t. It wasn’t really for me. He paused and folded his arms, I assume to make him self look important. Unfortunately for him, his Bill Cosby sweater rather undermined the attempt. “You play


sports?” he barked with incredulity. This is the part where I should have said “no”, but my back got up instead. Having to deal with him on a daily basis was bad enough but to have him question me like this was just… Grrrrr.

I don’t usually bring up guns as a topic, let alone at work. It makes people jumpy, which is unfortunate since they’re so dang fun to shoot. In this case though, I made an exception. “Well, yes. I do actually. I compete in high powered rifle marksmanship.” This stopped him. I love shooting and though I don’t compete in shoots professionally, I do like to try my hand at matches from time to time. Mostly it gives me an excuse to go to the range and talk with other gun collectors.

“I’ve got a set of clubs in my car” he added. I’m not sure what this was supposed to mean. I guess he was inferring that his sport was easier to carry with you. “I’ve got a high powered rifle in my car.” I helpfully added. This was true. I had visited the range that morning before work and in my trunk was my well loved 1916, BSA Lee-Enfield. On top of being a wonderful piece of history, possibly having been used in the trenches of France by a fresh faced Tommy, it also fires a .303 sized bullet that, with the shell case, makes an imposing looking round and a heck of a hole where ever it hits.

Picture via

There was another uncomfortable pause from the Office Idiot. With out another word, he turned around and walked away. Not a great move on my part but, my God, it felt good to shut him up. I had not made any kind of threat or intimidating statement of any kind, but I had ended the pissing contest in one fell swoop. After all his bluster, all the time at the gym and all the crap he gave everyone around him, it boiled down to the fact that he was the one tapping a little white ball with a stick while I was shooting targets at 300 meters with a battle rifle. Normally, I wouldn’t try to out “macho” anyone, but I must confess that it was a heck of a lot of fun to do, just this once. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some ammo to make. There’s a match coming up next month and I have some practicing to get in.

Epilogue: About six months later I was down sized along with about half the office. I doubt that this incident had anything t do with it, but it probably didn’t help my case either. All in all, not being there anymore is a blessing. I’m much happier away from tools like the Office Idiot.

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