Saturday, December 6, 2008

Passive V. Overt

I just spent way too much time reading, a nice little website where people can post the notes that we all encounter in our daily lives. Most of them are either from room mate situations or workplaces.

I don't get notes here at home, at least not notes that annoy me. "Call me if you get home before I do and we'll go out to lunch" are the kind I get, so they don't qualify. I do get notes at work, but they don't count either, as they are usually either questions that I have answers to or replies to questions I had about something. So as I read the site I was trying to think back to past jobs where I may have gotten or left P-A notes.

Turns out I'm not the passive-aggressive type. I'm overtly aggressive. I used to work at a fast food place that specifically serves fried fish. We'll call it the Diarrhea Steamboat to avoid any annoying mention of corporations and such. Anyway, I fried stuff at work. The dude who worked the shift before me fried stuff as well, but he was a disgusting pig. He didn't mop the floor at all during his shift, which used to piss me off. Thinking back on it, I could have left little annoying notes like "It's your job to mop the floors too" or "Don't be too lazy to clean the damn floors." I didn't do that, though.

Instead I did this. I went up and said, "John, mop the fucking floor before you leave tomorrow."

John didn't like this, and muttered something about not being able to get to it when there was a rush. I countered with something to the effect of, "Dude, if you can't handle this job you're a liability to the human race and should go jump in front of a bus right now."

Bear in mind that I'm not some hulking giant. I'm all of 5'8" tall. John was much, much bigger than I am. He was bound to notice this. I expected it. I kind of wanted him to try to exploit this size differential, in fact.

John looked at me and said, "If you don't like mopping the floor, maybe you should quit."

I said, "If you don't mop this floor by the time I come in tomorrow, I'm going to drag you out into the parking lot by your throat." Then I left.

I came in the next day and lo, behold, the floor was mopped. Nice. John had left before I got there, I got my way; score one for being overtly aggressive.

Then, later that night, I found out that my manager had mopped it.

"What the hell, Sherry?" I was so pissed off. It wasn't just that the floor wasn't mopped every time, it was specifically that the jackass who worked there before me was too lazy to do it. She told me she didn't want me to drag John around by the neck, so she mopped it for him.

A few days later the general manager called a mandatory meeting. When we were all there she starting saying something about how someone, she didn't know who, was starting trouble about the floors and general mess.

I couldn't take it. I said, "Yes, you do."

"Pardon?" She was looking at me with eyes wide open, almost popping out.

"You know exactly who's pissed. I'm pissed. And you know why. It's because John is either too lazy, too stupid -or both- to handle a job frying things in a vat of hot fat."

No one said a word for about three minutes. I sat and waited them out.

John finally spoke up. "Sometimes it's too busy..."

"Bullshit." When I get mad I like to cut people off. "You're an asshole. Mop the floor or I swear to god I'm going to take that mop handle and beat you in the head with it."

I can not, to this day, believe they didn't fire me right there. My manager didn't even write me up or whatever it is they did in the way of discipline. The most that happened was that I never again was named employee of the month. I worked there for months after this happened. I wound up quitting after a year because they gave me a whole dime for a raise and I was tired of smelling like hot grease all the time.

The moral of this story is that, while you can indeed annoy someone with a prissy little sanctimonious note you're much better off (in my experience anyway) addressing the problem directly. So here are some tips on how to be overtly aggressive.

1. Bitch loudly, bitch often, but bitch to the right people. Specifically the people who are driving you to do all this bitching in the first place.

2. Don't be afraid of people who are way bigger than you are. Most people are so shocked at being yelled at that they instinctively cringe even if they are twice your size. Use common sense and don't go doing this to obvious psychopaths or ninjas, but bear in mind that normal people are not used to being confronted.

3. Bear in mind that the above events happened almost a decade ago, before we lived in a police state.

4. Don't be overtly aggressive in traffic. This is only for when the only person you endanger is yourself, not everyone on the road.

Enjoy, and remember that with Christmas also must come Krampus. While Santa rewards the good little boys and girls Krampus beats the bad ones with a wooden whip and shoves them in his wicker backpack, presumably to be devoured later.

I love Krampus.


  1. Did you know (that)someone or something gave this blog an "adult content" rating/warning? I had to consent to view it just now. And I laughed and laughed and laughed. You are very good at writing and I knew the origins of that particular story and why the names were "changed" to protect the innocent, as they say. Rock On!

  2. OMG - I remember the Diarrhea Steamboat job! Everytime I pass it, I think of you - ha.

    PS - I always knew you were a bad ass!!

  3. I'm not sure how I feel about being remembered for that.

  4. It was more of a "geez, I can't believe he worked there for so long" sorta remembrance.

  5. I am not hooked on that site, thanks a lot. I too remember when you worked there. I still can't believe you didn't get fired.