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9/26/2006

Been a while. It's also been a good summer. Did you think I was bound to stay indoors writing the entire time?

Dolt. On to new business…

There's a term I use amongst a select group of friends to describe individuals who are unruly, uncouth, and unnecessary, especially in the context of the professional realm. That term is "toolkit." Now a "tool," in the vernacular, is, according to Wikipedia, "someone who is being used by an establishment willingly (as a sycophant) or unwillingly (as one who blindly conforms)."

A toolkit is a tool to the 10th power. These are the type of people that upon meeting, I instantly
wish that their mother had received some sort of debilitating kidney punch that rearranged their interior anatomy during the course of pregnancy. Of course, that might be a moot point if such an assault were the cause of their offspring's behavior. Recently I encountered a prime toolkit at my office in the form of an ostentatious twerp affectionately known as "Punch the Intern." He was deemed such by some of my co-workers, because they always stated that they wanted to "punch the intern." Eventually it just sorta segued into a full-blown clandestine alias that is fitting in both aesthetic and physical manifestation.

Whether or not this kid was a sycophant or blind conformist has yet to be determined. But he did make me "syc" to my stomach, he was blind to the fact that everyone around him hated his guts, and I found him easily molded into an obedient little lapdog. In short, whatever his major malfunction, I (and everyone else) found him more obnoxious than an Amway rep on cocaine.
Now Punch, as I mentioned, was not a full-time employee. He was an intern on borrowed time (thank God), here for the better part of the summer before going back to school.

Of course, being that this is my company we're talking about here, we're talking about another "brilliant" Ivy Leaguer. Only in this case, instead of being the average wet-behind-the-ears-greenhorn-grad, this "brilliant" Ivy Leaguer was a below average wet-behind-the-ears-greenhorn-undergrad.

This does not translate to a good experience. No sir. See, at that stage, you feel ready to take on the world, full of p!ss and vinegar, unfazed by the world outside your collegiate bubble. And, since Punch was still actively attending, he was still perhaps a little overconfident in his supposed abilities.

Now, if you take that last sentence and replace the word "overconfident" with "cocky," I think that'd be a more accurate assessment. That being said, it is entirely possible that Punch is just naturally conceited; it may have nothing to do with his overpriced/overrated education. That's hard to determine without really spending a great deal of time with him, something that I didn't feel up to doing. Whatever the impetus behind his Dom Deluise-sized ego, the fact remains that he was a Grade-A toolkit, possibly the biggest I've encountered to date.

I'll spare his university the embarrassment of acknowledging it by name, because I would be downright ashamed to have such a monstrous a$$hat attending my hallowed halls. So I'll christen it with the pseudonym "Asshat U." As it turns out we have two other full-time employees, both recent grads of Asshat U.

This is important… please remember this.

In any event, Punch started and immediately proved himself to be outright irritating. I'm not sure if it was the six inches of hair that was gelled upward into an absurd top fade, the ridiculous colored shirts he wore that screamed "I am either metrosexual or I just enjoy clubbing so much that I have to wear the same effete color combination every day of my life," or the fact that he always wore a tie.

Let me clarify something… I have worn a tie twice since I interviewed here. Once on my first day, and once again when I had a meeting afterwards for another organization. If you want to put a silk noose around your neck, turn the reins over to me and I'll gladly find some silk rope for ya. This offer is only extended to Punch, as he deserved some good mangling.
Anyway, fashion (non)sense notwithstanding, Punch also proved himself to be the illegitimate hybrid of a concubine and an encyclopedia.

A fucking know-it-all.

This was complemented, naturally, by the fact that he really didn't know what he was doing. I'll give him this much, he showed zeal and passion for the job (which really led me to question his sanity), but that enthusiasm gave way to a cocktail of carelessness and cockiness. He impressed his superior by virtue of his dedication, but in turn rubbed all of his co-workers the wrong way by being pushy and abrasive.

Case in point: one of my co-workers was on the phone with a vendor when he stormed into her office and began asking her questions while she was still talking. Screw business etiquette, that's common sense. Just wait until their done and come back in a few minutes, right? Apparently the laws of rationality don't apply to interns with spiky hair.

There was also the silver incident in which a vendor sent coins to us that were priced higher than what was initially paid for on the order. He raised a huge stink about this and actually read the fine print on the back of the order itself over the phone (quite loudly, no less). Normally I'd see no issue in quarrelling with such price shifts. However, anyone who follows the precious metals market must know that the cost of silver has fluctuated wildly over the last year and will probably continue to do so. We have never had a problem signing off on invoices when it comes to coin prices; it's an unstable market at best. But rather than query one of us about it, he jumped the gun, chewed out the vendor and then blabbed to his manager like a good little stoolie. I wanted to put his face through a wall, because when someone sets a precedent, everyone has to follow. Now all price discrepancies must be documented in writing (not that anyone has adhered to this).

Then, the ultimate atrocity… Punch wound up training his own replacement. Green as he was, barely 21 years old and not even here for three consecutive months, he was still entrusted to educate his successor. Go figure that one out, kids, 'cause I'm still lost. In any event, as I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, Punch didn't know anything about the job when it came to brass tacks. So how do you think his replacement felt when she found out a week later that everything she learned was a fallacy? I remember commiserating with a co-worker of mine about how we should have intervened and told her well in advance not to listen to him.

But that's not even the crown jewel on this legacy of idiocy. See, it just so happens that Punch and his replacement share the same surname. Now in order to protect the innocence of his ill-fated understudy, I must go against all standards I have set at LSS and give Punch a second alias. To further complicate matters, I've chosen to use his pseudo alma mater as his namesake, and therefore designate him as Johnny Asshat. His unlucky (yet fortunately unrelated) replacement will go by the name of Janie Asshat. I feel bad calling her that since she is anything but an asshat, but for the sake of posterity, we must maintain consistency here.

So this is the capper, the granddaddy of 'em all, the coup de grace in this rapidly growing legacy of absurdity… Before leaving, he stuck his nameplate next to hers outside her cubicle. This led to Sempai Mike and I referring to them as the "Wonder Twins," and frequently quoting SuperFriends. To Janie's credit, this failed attempt at a joke lasted all of one week as she pulled his plate down herself. Bravo, Janie. Buck the system and your mock etymology.

The last item on that hitlist is really what convinced me that he is a prime example of your average toolkit. Aside from being equal parts arrogant and ignorant, he also assumes the role of "that guy" by coming up with lame jokes that only he finds amusing. Even Janie didn't crack a smile at his gag.

Then again, I don't think many people cracked a smile at him during his entire tenure. I think everyone agreed that they'd much rather crack his ribs first. Preferably with a wrench, just to offer some ironic accentuation to the whole "toolkit" title.

"Poetic justice is a wrench to the ribs." Sounds Zen, yet prolific. I like it.

Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow.