October 24, 2016
I have five bosses here at GND Machine. Two, brothers George and Donald are the original owners who started the business in a home garage back in the 1960s. They are now in their mid-to-late 70s, and still come in every day to the shop. George, who is the older of the two, and is pretty mellow and easy to deal with, usually arrives around 11am. He will change into his uniform, grab a coffee, then walk around the entire shop greeting every single worker before he begins to work on whatever project he has going. Donald, on the other hand, comes in around 9am, greets whomever is in the office at the time, and then turns into Mr. Crankypants. He’ll spend hours sitting next to Paul, the engineer, fighting with him about how something should be designed. This is fun for us, because Paul, who thinks he is never wrong about anything, arguing with Donald, who wants everything done his way, is just comical and breaks the monotony.
My other three bosses are sons of the owners. Keith and Mark are George’s kids. Keith seems to be the most business-like. He divides his time between doing paperwork in the main office, handing out work assignments in the shop, and hanging out with the other engineer, Mike. He’s usually pretty easy to deal with. Mark has his own responsibilities as well, namely being responsible for ordering tooling and taking care of payroll. But most of the time, he prefers to stay in the shop operating a lathe machine and being left alone. I’ve learned to not take his moodiness personally.
Donald’s son, Jim, takes care of sales and HR. Which is sadly and hysterically ironic, because he is suited to neither. It’s simply that he is the weakest of the personalities and nobody else wants to do it. He regularly bitches and moans about how everything falls on him, how he has to do everything. If he actually DID his job, then everyone’s day would be better.
Jim seems to be stuck in a decade that was almost over before he was even born. He’s extremely interested in conspiracy theories about the death of JFK. He is both racist and misogynistic by way of complete ignorance rather than out of hatred, although he completely buys into the theory that Jews are the reason for everything that is wrong with the world. His conversations are peppered with “facts” that he’s heard from other armchair experts or from things he’s read in tabloid literature. That’s when he’s not in the breakroom during lunch describing in detail how he misses the personal grooming habits of women of yesteryear. Which is why I refuse to eat my lunch in the breakroom.
The idiocy that spouts from Jim’s mouth is sometimes difficult to deal with. Because if I call him on his bullshit, then I end up embroiled in a discussion that has no logical purpose. Fortunately, Jim has an outlet for his need to jabber endlessly about whatever is bothering him this month. He’ll spend hours each day leaned back in his desk chair talking with his buddies (who must not have jobs?) about his collection of cars he’s working on, broads he wish he’d banged when he was younger, and that the Bush family was somehow involved in the JFK assassination and other dirty deeds along with some shady Jew types. If you think I’m exaggerating or making this up, I’m not.
The only way I’m able to deal with this asinine behavior is to attempt to steer it for my own amusement. Knowing his predilection for repeating things that he’s heard or read from a “reputable” source, I’ve created a little diversion for myself. For the last several weeks, I have searched online for fake, satirical news stories dealing with science, politics, and current events. After editing for size, I then print out a one-page “news” article, and place it on the fax machine as if it was an incoming message. At some point, Jim will enter the office and pick up the “random” fax. If the title is not of interest to him, he will discard it on the windowsill along with a bunch of other papers that have been collecting dust. But if it is a topic that he finds fitting into his worldview, then he will skim over it and place it on his desk for further review. The fun begins when he attempts to share this information with others. For instance, one day the story dealt with solar panels, and how they were hurtling mankind towards destruction by sucking up way too much of the sun’s rays. According to the article, scientists were concerned that plants surrounding solar panels were getting robbed of much-needed sunlight because the panels were attracting the sun’s energy away from them. There was also a growing distress that if the amount of solar farms being erected around the globe kept growing at the current pace, then the sun would not be able to keep up with the demand, and eventually would go dark. I watched as Jim read the report closely, then re-read it. He then tried to hand it to Donald, his father, so that he would be informed of the impending problem. Unfortunately, Donald had no time for the nonsense and just blew Jim off.
Thus far, Jim has collected “incoming” articles on how Sarah Palin wrote about Wilma Flintstone being one of the greatest Americans in history, about Donald Trump vowing to rid America of the current wave of clown crime, and several others. I find that he seems more interested in the political stories, and especially anything to do with Sarah Palin, towards whom he has expressed carnal interest. It’s been loads of fun “educating” him on important issues and events taking place around the world.
Does this make me an asshole? Maybe. But I find it better than heroin to get me through the day.