Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sometimes I think certain jerks in this world are trying to drive me nuts. Every now and then, though, it's the other way around. Three examples:

1. There's this guy at the poker game who's usually pretty cool, but is known for throwing angry fits when he loses a hand. Dude, it's just a game. I think he's frustrated that he can't read people's minds based on how they bet. Especially people like me. He'll often say, "I think I know what cards you have," and I try to explain -- *I* don't know what cards I have. So when he and I go up against each other, he should stop trying to figure me out -- I'm not gonna raise, check, call, whatever, like the pros. I don't know what I'm doing. Except making him crazy. "I'm baffled!" He'd say. "Fucking baffled." Heh. It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you make your opponent insane.

2. At one of my old jobs, the file room guy was a weirdo who was so aloof it was painful. I woulda felt bad for him, but his alternative to acting elusive was to be a snide asshole. He'd grumble under his breath to me about one of the women working there, and one day she annoyed me, too, so I shared my gripe with him, explaining I had to vent to someone. The rest of the day, he acted like he had one over on me. "The Venter," he called me, smugly. "Better that than the Circumventer," I told him. But as usual he had his back to me. I kept asking him why he stood there in the file room all day, with his back to everyone, hiding behind reading his newspaper. What was he afraid of? Was human contact that frightening to him? I saw other people share things with him, but he never reciprocated. Was he scared they'd be as disdainful of him as he seemed to be of others? I couldn't see his face, but from his body language, it was obvious my psychoanalysis was agonizingly dead-on accurate. Still with his back to the room, he finally said, "I'm... a... very... private... person!" I let it go, but he forgot... to... mention.... he's... a... wackjob.

3. Back when my mom was in and out of the rehab hospital, my sister and I were dealing with a health care liaison named Leonard. Leonard acted like our buddy, our go-to-guy, our right-hand man. Leonard was full of shit. All talk, no action, and more double-talk. He liked to act calm, be the voice of intractable reason, even when I was getting aggravated at the bureaucratic bullshit. But still, I wouldn't give up on getting the things I needed for my mom. So whenever necessary, I'd keep calling or go up to Burbank to visit and track down Leonard face to face. And I'd call him out on his circular reasoning... to the point that one day, he couldn't take it. His calm voice suddenly cracked into a high-pitch whine: "You know, I don't need this. I don't need you talking to me this way when I'm just trying to do what my job tells me to do and you're not letting me do what my job tells me to do and-- and-- and--" Now it was my turn to be the soothing voice, talking him off the ledge. None of this helped solve anything, but later, I called my sister and told him of the incident. How complacent Leonard lost his cool. "Wow," my sister said. "You broke his brain."


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