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Friday, Nov. 09, 2001
...and Ishmabod went out, into the land of the mighty, and finding two in a small valley, did arm himself, and, for their sins, did slay them both with but one thrust of his blessed sword. And all the people did say, behold, it is good...Outfoxed 4:19

Some people. They absolutely cannot get enough of themselves, so they labor to make sure that you are aware of how wonderful and exciting they are. This week, a couple of 'em got the axe.

We have a local bartender gal around the watering hole. This one, holy smokes. Stu and I got her the job when the Greek owner (yes, he's really Greek - I'm not just pigeonholing him) fired yet another pourer of libations. I'll call her Porsche.

Man, I've got to get hold of a good psuedonym dictionary.

Porsche is someone you've met, if you've ever bought a car from a dealership, played in the office football pool, been scammed by someone with a smile. She's all sales, no morals, no ethics, and damn little working experience. She takes a job, gladhands the boss with a come-hither grin, brings along a tribe of followers who revel in the commotion she makes. Never answers the phone, is always off on a 'business lunch', flirty and shallow, hurry hurry here and there, and never, ever, is the first to pick up the tab.

I grew weary of this sort of personality years ago. If you live for the scam, you will perish by it as well. The transparancy of the whole charade of living on the edge, of loud talk and appearance of success without any substance behind it just starts to smell bad. The watering hole Greek is known for unpleasant smells himself, he is fond of goat and his cooking is, to be kind, unusual. But the Greek knows a scam. Porsche wheedled her way into what she thought was a 9 day vacation to Disney World (how she got the money, no one is saying). When she got back and went in for her bar shift, the Greek gave her the heave-ho (get it? Heave da ho? heh). Scratch one bimbo. The Greek doesn't play around when it comes to missing work.

Our next contestant in this week of bloodshed was a 20 some year old kid with an attitude. He managed to rise, on the Peter Principle of rising to a level beyond that which you are capable of, to the position of superintendant on a high rise building. We call 18 stories a high rise, down here in the South. Well, we do.

The kid, whether by fate or timing, managed to get Outfoxed and Stu, the most grumpy and sullied of warriors, on his most recent project. A little wood base job. We go in, saw and nail base, we go home, sort of thing. Couple of days.

Seems that the kid fancied himself to be a carpenter in his own way, which always makes me groan. Almost everybody has an Uncle Dan who 'was the finest carpenter who ever walked'. Yeah. Okay. But where is he now? He surely isn't doing this job. The remaining pedestrians watch a lot of Norm Abrams or Home TV on cable and, having not picked up a hammer in months, consider themselves experts on construction. God, spare me. This isn't quite as easy as it looks on 30 minute TV shows, folks.

Short story is that the kid went a bit too far with his farfetched knowledge. Called up the owners and complained about our shoddy workmanship. On painted wood base. Please. After one day?

Stu's eyebrow raised ever so slightly on that one. Had a few words, did Stu. With the owner. That's one reason he and I get along so well. When I'm pissed off beyond reason, with steam venting in great draughts from my ears, Stu can pretty well just smirk and go have a word with someone. Guido from Jersey, he is.

Next day the owner called, so very chipper, and informed us that the kid was out on the street, a new superintendant was in place, and would we please be so kind as to return to the job and finish? Pretty please? It took a lot of salaaming on the owners part, but we did.

After all, we're not savages, here. We just charge more.

It got even funnier when the owner forwarded a fax to us from the building manager. Remember, this is a commercial high rise with many coiffed accountants, lawyers and the like working there. The fax said, in essence, "There has been a report of marhiuuana (sic) smoke in the stairwell near the 13th floor. Please advise all contractors that this will not be tolerated. Violators will be removed from the jobsite."

Understand that the owner himself isn't the brightest bulb in the gallery. He forwarded this fax to a lot of contractors, without regard to any long standing relationships, or the work ethic demonstrated. Just pushed paper on down the line. In the old days, it was a lot more straighforward. You ferreted out the pot smoker, by one means or another, beat the crap out of him in an alley and went sailng on. Like taking out the garbage. Just handle it. Forwarding faxes is not going to do anything to relieve the ganja problem.

If you can't tell, I always seem to be really late for sensativity classes on construction issues. But anyway...

Stu took a look at the potted fax and gravely turned it over to me. Paper shuffling is not quite Stu's thing, unless it involves a poker hand. I always get stuck with it. I read it and smiled.

"Hey, there's a funny stuck in here somewhere, trying to come out!"

So I composed a fax of my own. Here's what I sent back.

"Dear (Owner of Large High Rise):
"We are working, as you know, on the 13th floor where the referenced smoke is suspected. With respect to the situation, we are unfamiliar with the smell of, or for that matter the spelling of 'marhiuuana' and would like clarification. At your earliest convenience, please call to schedule a brief meeting with the person(s) who detected the 'marhiuuana' smoke. In the interest of enlightenment, we would be interested in knowng how this person was able to detect and define this new product (and by smell alone!) and how he was able to determine a name for it in such a short amount of time. If necessary, we will be available for sensitivity training in recognizing this smell so that we, too, can help rid your building of this menace." Yours sincerely, etc.

Everybody likes a little ass, but nobody likes a smart ass.

Could it be that I've gone too far?

And no, it wasn't us doing the smoking in the first place. Although after some of these jobs, it wouldn't be the last thing to cross our minds.

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