We make holes in teeth!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Can't Take Harold Anymore

I am generally someone who never uses the word hate, or its cousin "despise" when dealing with people, save for those very special few that you are bound by morality to label as such, like Hitler and Pol Pot. I think the word hate is a very strong word, and most people use it like a napkin, ready to whip it out at the first sign of emotional spillage. In this case, I am almost forced to pull out the big D word, despise. I can't bring myself to say hate, because it's too strong for this guy. Still, he's almost there.

Harold is someone I work near. I don't work with him, just near him, which is good because one of us would likely end up mutilated by the end of the day if I had to work with him. Chances suggest it would be me, since I believe deep down that Harold is clinically insane, and what chance do you have against a clinically insane person? Not to mention the fact I have no innate desire to beat people up, even though Harold violates the "personal noise space" mantra on a minute-ly basis. Overall, he leaves me specifically alone. But his world of annoying noise permeates everyone's sphere of existence so poignantly that you have to be deaf to not hear his bravado. Even then, I think deaf people probably take notice as well.

I imagine Harold is a lonely and insecure person, deep down. Maybe he just needs to be hugged. Who knows. What I do know is that his constant bravado and Everest-like noise level makes him an easy target of derision. The fact that he seems to be out to irritate every single customer he talks to is even worse. What? What's that? Yes, Harold is in a group that deals with customers, whom he interfaces with on an hourly basis. I have no idea how he hasn't been part of the mass layoffs which have wiped out 50% of the company since I arrived. It's not like I'm the only one with this opinion of him. Indeed, it's generally accepted that he is a boisterous wind bag who likes to listen to himself talk - even his boss thinks so.

He's one of these guys who says, "I'm about to drop a bomb on management," as if the previously dropped 78 bombs had no effect. He is tireless, I'll give him that. Perhaps he is descended from the squirrel. Sadly, those idiotic but determined animals get the bird seed 9 times out of 10, which helps explain how Harold has managed to stay with this company for damn near 20 years. Sheer determination.

In a vacuum, I know he's not a bad guy. It's just how he gets attention. And if I monkeyed in my cubicle on the other side of the floor instead of where I am, I would likely not care much about the guy other than the fact he walks down the hall as if he's got basketballs jammed up under his armpits. Really, the dude is like 5-8 and weighs probably 160 pounds. Are we to believe your lats & triceps are so large that your arms resemble helicopter blades? Didn't that stuff go out when you walked out of high school for the last time? When you were able to finally drop your arms and proclaim, "Man, I'm glad that shit is over. It hurts to suspend my arms like that for 8 hours a day. Let's get some beer."

Suffice it to say, I wear my headphones a lot. But I have to assume 20 years of irritating people has given Harold the ability to pierce even the most sophisticated noise dampening mechanisms. These $12 headphones aren't going to be of much use when trying to sooth my already tired ears. I've considered ear plugs, but then I might not be able to hear the phone ring, and from time to time, even those of us who program for a living need to interface with a customer or two. So I've got to remain available at some level.

In the end, I'm stuck with it. Short of killing the guy or killing myself, there's not a lot I can do. I might try moving, but then you never know when they're going to move someone else into your neighborhood. If it's not Harold, it's Mitch, who wines like an old Jewish lady most days - apologies to all the old Jewish ladies out there.


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