Someone asked me not long ago to describe my perception of a certain former boss. The first image that came to mind was Humphrey Bogart in character as Captain Queeg – Whose behavior was at first eccentric, but ultimately proved to be tyrannical, cowardly, and incompetent (thanks for that Wikipedia). He blamed others for mistakes he made, ignored standard procedures when they ran counter to what he wanted to do, and obsessed over minor details while losing sight of the massive storm threatening to swamp his ship. Yeah. That sounds almost exactly like the this particular old boss. The only difference, really, is that in the end Bogart’s Queeg is almost a sympathetic, broken character. I don’t know anyone who would feel that kind of remorse at the undoing of our own personal Old Yellowstain.
Maybe on my way out I’ll gift wrap a pair of ball bearings and see if he gets it.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date