April 28, 2024

How to Bully an Archangel from Hell

I think it was sometime in 2010 that I started my first blog. It may have been 2009. I don't really know. But something happened to that blog that never saw the light of day. Until now. 

How to Bully an Archangel from Hell... That's some title right there. Who would've thought that I, a non-bully, would ever write a post with such a title? And now I'm thinking, if only this were American fiction. 

Keep dreaming. It's not.

Once upon a time I had a boss. He showed all the tell-tale signs of a socially-handicapped incompetent moron, but I was too preoccupied with my own ego and academic career to notice. We're talking 2011-2012. Now, this Embodiment of Sheer Incompetence (or He Whose Name we Don't Mention, Harry Potter!) had another wonderful character trait: he was a professional coward. In my book, being a coward and being the boss does not make a very healthy combo. Did I mention I was too preoccupied with my own self to even notice? 

Ironically, this idiot of a man-wannabe was called Gabriel — you know, Gabriel the benevolent archangel, providing guidance and reassurance. 

"And the angel answered him, 'I am Gabriel. 
I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent 
to speak to you and to bring you this good news.'" 
— Luke 1:19 (ESV)

Sounds like a name befitting the leader of a pack. You'd think. But there was no guidance and there was no good news. As time passed by, it became all too clear that he wasn't worthy of the name. When his job became too taxing and stress got the better of him, he turned into a backstabber, who relished nothing more than to divide and conquer and to strategically place his minions between his growing number of enemies and himself. 

Think of him as a mobster minus the balls. 

Well, this EmptyBallSacker.Inc. bullied easy targets, mainly female teachers who dared criticize his inability to lead the way to success — teachers who had noticed  that Mister Peter Principle 101 wasn't doing a mighty fine job, which might ultimately lead to everyone working for him losing their job (which we almost did). I remember two teachers in particular. One shared an office with me. She was the epitome of a strong woman, and the other — well, she had basically broken down and asked me for support or to at least listen to what this No-good Balls Lacking Backstabbing Embodiment of Sheer Incompetence (or He Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned) had been doing to her. 

Long story short, he'd made their lives living hell on earth, and when he noticed I, too, had lost faith in him and, worse yet, saw through the politically-correct facade, he tried to get everyone in the department to see me as a bad guy. He had his spies report on me and found my blog through the biggest brownnosed sleazebag in town. He didn't like it, and then basically blackmailed me into deleting the whole damn thing.

He was successful for once in his pitiful life. 

But then the bully became the bullee. Yes, grammarians, that is a word. I just made it up. The bully became the bullee, because I never run from cowards. I would have to destroy all my mirrors. Instead, I'd ignore his Circle of Appropriate Distance, his... proximity zone, his... personal space, and always gave him The Look. I'd hint at his incompetence by stating, "If I did my job the way you're doing it, I would've fired myself a long time ago". 

On the record. 

In meetings, I'd make a fool of him by asking, "How come it's so hard for you to break even?" I would barge into his office and give him a piece of my mind. I'd highlight every stupid decision. In the end, this guy was so scared of me, he wouldn't speak with me unless there was at least one witness holding his hand. Once that included someone from HR, I kid you not. She said, "Well, I think it's pretty brave of Gabriel to admit he is scared of you." I remember saying, "Well, this only shows what kind of men you're interested in." Little did I know that a decade down the line most men would have zero testosterone (yes, you woke electric kick scooter lovers) and that this Hand-holding Brownnose-Loving EmptyBallSacker Man-wannabe was in fact a genuine precursor.

I should send him a postcard and congratulate him on yet another achievement. 

Anyway, you can hide a stink only so long. Eventually his boss got wind of the problem, and even the judge called him "a terrible manager" after that colleague of mine had stopped breaking down, grew a pair and sued Him Whose Name Shall Not Be Mentioned. "Gabriel," I said. "One day you'll be gone, and I will still be here, teaching, doing what I do best. Doing what I do with my heart." 

And so it happened. 

It's only poetic that someone with such an angelic name is taught the true meaning of "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot." 

And pardon my French.

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