Coworkers: Our Hidden Resource of Madness

The following is a list of coworkers that I, or people I know, have had. Without comment. I think one of the best reasons to work at jobs instead of getting money some other way is meeting maniacs. Please add your own if you wish to do so!

1. Lived on fatty meat and generic package cookies. Frequently said he would not live past fifty. Would ask for extra fatty meat from the work cafeteria, and drank at least 1.5L of Dr. Pepper per day. Once was written up for cooking goat meat in microwave at work. Slid slowly into schizophrenia during his tenure at this job. What was in the chili he brought to pot luck?

2. Called everybody “Chief”, “Big Guy”, or “Killer”; women were “Gal” or “Babe”. Wore really tight shirts. Would poke you and say “Hey Ace!” before asking a question.

3. Made speaker cabinets out of depleted uranium. They glowed at night and you were not supposed to get too close to them.

4. Was obsessed with Star Wars to the point that he had a tableau of figurines on his desk that no one was allowed to touch. Wore odd-looking scifi shoes with space hardware on them. Lost his scifi sunglasses once and sent an all company email begging for them back.

5. Showed up at the office drunk every day, holding a coffee mug of Jack. Drove an ice cream truck for his regular transportation. Threw up in his wastebasket regularly.

6. Worked naked in his office. Liked to go home and have some “Conan Powder” and then lift a heavy weight to feel strong. Was a rather freaked-out “furry”.

7. Always carried Tabasco, real maple syrup, and a gun in her car. Would sexually harass the other women on the night shift. Told me she was going to kill me; I quit. Would punch a hole in the wall if you called her by her real name.

8. Greeted everyone with “Howdy-Hi!” and left saying “Cyah-bye!”. Worshipped disk jockey Rick Dees, and wished to be him. Was a Mormon but wanted to fit in, so drank Martinelli’s Sparkling CIder at parties. Ended up as a professor of career counseling.

9. Was a “professional writer” on a business communications course, but could not find the asterisk key on his keyboard. Often slept at his desk. When at the urinal, he would clap his hands in childish glee after he completed “number one”.

10. Began every sentence with “Be advised that” and ended it with “at this time” like a cop or an airline pilot. Apparently owned only one shirt. Kept cases of candy at his desk. Eventually left with no notice after saying he had to “take care of some stuff”.

11. Was terminated from his employment and taken away by the police for spying on women in women’s bathrooms on several floors in the building. He had been married three weeks.

12. Typed at 120 wpm with perfect accuracy while dead drunk, and after smoking huge quantities of the weed. Flew into a rage when anyone questioned his reports, and was almost always right. Disappeared one New Year’s eve and never came back.

13. Loved firing people, preferably in the middle of a sales meeting (“YOU! CLEAN OUT YOUR DESK AND LEAVE!”). Wrote restaurant reviews in longhand which staff had to retype. Was once seen dancing about in the bathroom saying to himself happily “Lucky, lucky, lucky!” Paid his coke dealer in company checks.

14. Told everyone in her first week that she was a witch, and that if other employees were not nice to her she would hex them. Was not joking about this. Did nothing at all, not one thing, as an employee. Quit with no notice and then asked for a reference.

15. Told the same story, all day long, in a loop, about her ex boyfriend leaving a message on her voicemail. Showed her coworker horribly blurry pictures of her cat that she was going to enter in a cat photography contest. Never, ever stopped talking. Ever. Security guard informed coworker that “you shouldn’t be polite, just walk out of the room while she’s talking.”

10 thoughts on “Coworkers: Our Hidden Resource of Madness

  1. Wow, people here are normal. The only one of those I can even partially claim is the “Hey, Ace” guy. We have two or three of them currently.
    There is one guy who brings me glossy executive-level Linux articles occasionally as some sort of bizarre peace offering. I have no idea why he’s singled me out as his Linux altar, but he gets really angry when I stare blankly at him and am not just overflowing with gratitude. Doesn’t stop him from coming back, unfortunately.
    This is the same guy who likes to put his name on other peoples’ patents when he sits on the patent review board, so I’m not too worried about pissing him off.

  2. Typed at 120 wpm with perfect accuracy while dead drunk, and after smoking huge quantities of the weed.
    Dude, for now on, when I have to answer a question about “Who is your hero?” I am using this guy.

  3. My contributions.
    1. Would hold pagan rituals in the office, often because his machine was malfunctioning. Once set fire to the carpet after dropping a candle. Often would make “messes” as a result of said rituals. I think the carpet in one room of the office still has a very visible pentagram from such a “mess”.
    2. Spent 90% of his time downloading mp3s off of napster. When I silently started blocking napster ports at the router, he just quietly quit one day. Three weeks later, he tried hacking into his account on the file server from home: later found out that he never took any of the mp3s home, and wanted access to them, even to the point of calling the “big boss” and asking to come in one afternoon and copy them. I copied them for myself.. and then deleted them. Yeah, I’m a BOFH sometimes, too.
    3. One guy had an odd version of Tourette’s Syndrome. He would quietly sit there and code all day, and then out of nowhere he’d stop and shout out exactly one word, loudly. It was never the same word, and it rarely made sense. I created an Intranet page to log the words, BTW. (Note that this guy was probably the best Visual Basic programmer I’ve ever seen.. I don’t know exactly what that means)
    4. Then, there was the transsexual who defecated in a stairwell…
    5. One government cow-orker got his jollies off of destroying random papers in people’s files. He’d take one every day and burn it in the bathroom. I don’t think anyone ever noticed.
    6. I’m sitting at my desk one day, when one of the ladies from the sales department quietly walks over to my desk, stands there for a couple of seconds, and when I turn to her and start to ask “Can I help you?” starts yelling incoherently at me. Now, what’s odd about this (hey, I’m in IT and often do “help desk”, getting randomly yelled at incoherently is common, but usually they exchange some kind of formalities first) is that it literally happened that way.. she walked over, quietly stood there for about 30 seconds while I finished composing the E-Mail I was working on, and literally started yelling incoherently once it was apparent that she had my attention. Now, when I say yelling, she was literally red-faced, shouting at the top of her lungs, and not saying anything that made sense. I kept asking her (when I could get a word in between her breaths), “What’s wrong?” “What do you need from me?”, but she kept babbling. Eventually, others started coming over (including the building security guard), and nobody could make any sense of what this person was so upset about. She had to be forcibly removed. Turns out that somebody told her that I was “a witch”, and this set her off into some possessed rage. And I’m not kidding about this part: it turns out that there IS such a thing as big young men in clean white coats who can “come and take you away ah hah!” The plus side of that is I got three days of paid leave for having to be “traumatized”. I think she’s still, to this day, in Langley-Porter Hospital in San Francisco.

  4. all the people who DIED, DIED,
    Yay #9!
    There was chronic hand-washing going on there, also.
    All from the same job:
    *Nice guy, but very short and had complex to match. Would occasionally fly into spectacular tizzys; I and others enjoyed provoking these outbursts. I’m not proud. Didn’t show up for work one day – found later that the piper cub he was in, returning from some kind of ham radio geek meeting, had flown into a mountain.
    *55 year-old man, looked 75. Harrrrd living! Was a ‘drug and alcohol counseler’. Despite driving boats his whole life, could not grasp the propellor-at-each-end configuration of our boats – never docked the boat safely once. With the help of local businesses, we were finally able to tie the mysterious appearances of empty Schnapps bottles in their dumpsters to him…
    *High-metabolism bottomless stomach. Loved the 9 – 5 shift. He would buy breakfast, lunch, and dinner – full meals! – with ample snacks in between. Had the attitude of ‘we move slow and they know we’re here’ – would become so engrossed in reading magazines while driving that he would lose track of other traffic on the bay. Nearly got hit by a full barge, toting silt from the back bay. Last I heard, he went to work for Nabisco.
    *I remembered him from when I was 13, a tall and imposing figure with a huge nose. Then I was 16 and working there, and he was still there. The first time I worked with him, I was too intimidated to say anything to him. Eventually, the ice broke and we became friends. He introduced me to the greyhound, and I still drink them to this day. After about a year, something changed – he was always clearly a severe alcoholic, but he began a long slide. It started with punches – what had been jockular male bondo became full fledged, full force, bruise-creating arm punches. People started pulling away from him, but sill inviting him to parties – so you’d have a bunch of young people hanging out and having a good time, and you’d have depressed alcoholic guy mit severe mood swings. I pulled away entirely those last few years. When I returned to the area after college, I witnessed him getting bounced from a bar that our friends’ band was playing at, and being so insistant and physical about getting in that they had to take him down on the parking lot and detain him till the cops showed up. I called the ferry and told them he wouldn’t make it in for the morning shift. Shortly thereafter, he was riding his bike to work, drunk, and slammed into someone’s car door, shattering his arm in several places. He was out of work for about 6 months. Last I heard, he had paid off his house, been fired from the ferry for the last time, and now sits in his living room, with his TV and his keg fridge, living off the rent payed by his tenents.

  5. Another One:
    Feedle’s #5 reminded me of the most pathologically odd person I’ve ever knewn…
    We had just gone through a company merger. I had been a temp at the old company, and got hired by the new company. My friend John – the guy I go up to Malibu to hang out with from time to time – had quit after he realized that he would never master the new computer system. His replacement was a new temp, Rex. Within a couple weeks, Rex had gotten hired by claiming an offer from another company, and using this as leverage. I and everyone else believed him at the time.
    He was still closeted, so there was a lot of ‘is he or isn’t he?’ going on. That question was solved for me when we were waiting to speak to a supervisor, and he was singing Judy Garland songs, and announced her to be his favorite. Right behind ‘Babs’, that is.
    He was utterly obsessed with USC, despite the fact that he had never attended. Turns out his lover – nearly 20 years Rex’s senior – had and he was just doing the good trophy-wife thing…
    Eventually the supervisor that had come from the old company gave up and quit – she had been clearly being forced out. We decided to have a last meal together – just the folks from the old company. We invited John to meet us there. For some reason, Rex tagged along. She was technically his supervisor, so no one said anything, but by now we were all kinda wondering about him. So we had lunch. This was the one and only time that John and Rex met.
    The next day, I get a call from John: “Dude. Stop by my house on the way home. I’ve got something I want you to hear.”
    So I go, and John plays me a message off his answering machine. It was a homosexual come-on that claimed he got John’s number off the bathroom wall. John asked me whose voice it sounded like. After listening again, I concluded that it kinda sounded like Rex.
    “FUCKIN’ A! THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT!”
    The next day, I quietly erased John’s phone number and address from the old database…
    That’s only the big Rex story. There are many others. He was a very, very odd man.

  6. Additions and Corrections:
    * Depleted uranium speaker guy: had a shrine to Oppenheimer behind his desk, morbidly afraid of dogs (rightly so–one split open his face) but jovially joked about it, celebrated “Hiroshima Day,” played bass and sung in a bad, really smart. “Buckaroo Banzai with issues.”
    * Nekkid Programmer and Furry were two different guys:
    * Nekkid programmer was horribly overweight and always sweaty/greasy. Often worked late nights. One evening, a secretary had to return to work to grab something and discovered him fully naked at his desk (not even “pants around the ankles”). The lack of clothes gave him more intellectual freedom. It also gave him a pink slip.
    * Furry guy: just as described, but constant Usenet downloader, too. We looked through his binary collection, and along with a healthy supply of MP3s was a rather unhealthy supply of porn (spanning multiple hard drives). It was broken down to three basic folders: Human, Furry, and Other. Furry was the largest and contained what you would expect. Other was unmentionable. Human was EMPTY. ZERO files. Another coworker with a vast supply of CDs filled with scans out of Playboy contributed to his Human directory, but we do not believe he ever noticed.
    * Mother was a cop. Father was a cop. Grandfather was a cop. Really wanted to be a cop and wanted to hold the VB programmer job long enough to make it through training. Passed training with flying colors. Flunked the psyche test for three different departments (including LAPD).
    * High-strung phone tech support guy. 9mm in glovebox. When he was let go, the police had to be called to ensure everything went smoothly. The returned at closing to ensure the manager got to his car without any intervention.
    * Gamer (same guy with the CD’s, above) who decided that when Everquest came out he would be spending the next two weeks playing hookey from work. Decided to preemptively quit so that the HR fiasco of him not showing up and them trying to contact him did not interfere with his precious game time.

  7. The day he left the company to move back to New Mexico, he left me a copy of Joseph Campbell’s Journey of a Hero. Inside was an inscription thanking me for everything I’d ever done for him. (What?)
    I met him in the hall. He was a very large man, at least 350 lbs and six feet tall. He was in one of his moods where he seemed far too happy. That bulky mountain moved with eerie nimbleness.
    “Uh, dude, what’s this about?” I asked.
    “You’re on the path, man. You are on the path.” Somehow he scrunched his body up to be smaller and made little pointing, jabbing motions at me.
    The next I heard of him, the U.S. border cops had him in custody. He had confessed to murdering our CEO — which turned out not to be true, to some people’s disappointment.
    When they opened his U-Haul, it was completely empty.

  8. How about the guy that ate anything disgusting on a dare? Oh wait, that was me.
    Or the guy that told all the customers they were idiots and not to call anymore. Hey, that was me too.
    Or the guy that would repeatadly break into IT and mess up there stuff, trying to start inter-departmental wars. Yeah! Me too!
    Or the guy that drank lots of coffee and coke and smoke a lot who spent 90% of his day in the bathroom pooping. That wasn’t me.
    Or the girl who screwed everyone out of money and benefits and got cancer and died. You’re probably thinking that was me, but it wasn’t!

  9. The farter. A large man who used to work for IBM in Texas. He was at the company on a contract to hack magic Lotus-script. He would show up in pants/shirts which were much too small, go to 7/11 and buy a 3 liter cup of coke to drink all day. After lunch he would come back to his cube and start farting. And farting. And farting. My supervisor lived in the next cube, and would actually come work with me some afternoons until we managed to get him moved (he ignored our complaints and we needed to bring in the “floor manager”). He did start bringing in some sort of spray to try and cover it up, but he must have been eating haggis and baked beans for it to smell that bad.

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