There is a man at my place of employment who is angry all the time; red-alert woop! woop!, Yosemite Sam angry. He is so angry that he has earned a nickname. And no, it’s not Yosemite Sam (I wish I had thought of that earlier); it is Wall Puncher. This fuming fellow has earned that nickname since he has beaten the hell out of many an innocent inanimate object like, for instance, a wall.
Wall Puncher is some sort of familial relation to the owner of the company that employs me. It’s a shit job that pays nothing, but for the most part, it’s really not all that demanding or stressful, and it doesn’t require much thought. Plus, it has other perks like, well, none really. My desk has the benefit of being within earshot of Wall Puncher’s office, if you can call that a benefit. On a daily basis, I get to hear him haranguing inanimates. I can’t quite make out the words, but I hear a raised voice spewing what I can only assume are profanities. Sometimes these outbursts are coupled with shattered glass or some other jarring cacophony signaling the premature demise of yet another workplace object.
On the other side of my desk and the anger spectrum, lies the office of one of the meekest people I’ve ever met in my life. She is so demure that, if you happen to run into her in the narrow hallway, she will back up and make room for you to pass. Always. Most of the time, the process of retreat is accompanied by “Sorry, sorry, sorry” until you make your way on by. The only interaction she seems to enjoy is talking to animals in baby-talk. She never gives eye contact and she wears shirts that have puppies, rainbows or kittens on them every day. She is a living, breathing Cathy cartoon, but she’s so damn nice you almost feel badly for her. Almost.
As if being angry enough to see the smoke coming out of his ears wasn’t bad enough, Wall Puncher also smokes tobacco. California law says that you’re not allowed to smoke in an office. Ever. But the law does not apply to Wall Puncher. He has a window that can be opened or smashed. Good enough.
Our air conditioning system carries the aroma all through the building. This goes doubly for burnt popcorn. As an aside, there is no more selfish trespass than cooking microwave popcorn in an office with a closed ventilation system. If you simply must cook popcorn in an office environment, please don’t burn the fuck out of it. The only thing that smells worse than microwave popcorn is burnt microwave popcorn. That odor lingers for days. Knock it off.
Back to the story at hand. Rainbow-kitten lady was bothered by all the smoke. Due to the smell, the law and Rainbow-kitten lady’s sensitivity to both, she offered an air purifier to Wall Puncher. It seemed like a somewhat fair, albeit passive-aggressive, compromise to me. However, Wall Puncher, being overly fond of anger, assailed her with a concussive stream of obscenities; so much so that Rainbow-kitten lady ran crying from his office and didn’t show up to work for 2 days. He never apologized.
The owner doesn’t seem to notice or care about all the property damage that Wall Puncher has caused. Over the course of the past year, this includes the replacement of two windows (Actually, it was the same window broken twice.), a computer that was hurled across the room, several airborne telephones, a smashed exterior mailbox, an office door and, of course, a wall.
The first thing anyone sees when they enter the front door of the building is the (usually closed) door to Wall Puncher’s office. For months now, there has been a fist-sized hole in this door. The day after the hole appeared, someone repaired said hole with a single piece of scotch tape like a very small and cheap crime scene. And, for whatever reason, Wall Puncher let it stand. Perhaps he has been blinded by rage these many months and he just never noticed.
This morning, when I walked in the front door, I saw the usual scotch tape repair job, and right below it, there was another one! A smaller, less violent hole, but a fist-sized hole nonetheless. This hole has also been fixed by some smart ass with a single piece of scotch tape stretched taught across the great divide. Now the door sports a pair of patch jobs that are about as functional as a dental floss bridge spanning The Grand Canyon.
One hole, fine. But two? This can be no accident. Someone is trying to murder that door. I guess the moral of the story is be glad you’re not an inanimate object.