Christian Slater gets shit on a lot, and while shitting on Christian Slater is a perfectly reasonable and rational thing to do, I think the man has his moments. I’m thinking specifically of a movie called He Was a Quiet Man, in which Christian Slater plays the titular role so very, very well you tend to forget that the lead role is being played by Christian Slater. Yes, that Christian Slater.
Seriously; think Matthew McConahoweveryouspellit in True Detective. It’s like that.
In the movie, Slater plays an office drone who brings a gun to work one day with the intention of killing all of his coworkers before turning said gun on himself. Things spiral out and get weird after that, but the plot of the movie isn’t really the point here.
The point here is that I’m reasonably certain my coworkers suspect me of being a Slater-type psycho, perpetually just one bad date away from gunning down everybody in sight.
I’m not, but I can see why they’d think that. I’m quiet. I keep largely to myself. I listen to comedy podcasts all day, but I do so with headphones so all my coworkers hear from my direction is silence punctuated by the occasional lunatic giggle, apropos of nothing.
Once, my supervisor made a terrible mistake and assigned me to help train a new hire. To my credit, I did just that. To my not-credit, everything I said came out way, way more dickishly than I intended it to. This happens sometimes, usually when I’m uncomfortable. I hear what just came out of my mouth, and the thing in the back my head does a spit take at how pompous and off-putting it sounded. The then-new hire that I was instructed to train took it in stride at the time, but she no longer makes eye contact with me in the halls. I cannot say with any honesty that I blame her.
It’s the better part of a year later now, and that then-new hire is getting married. My supervisor came around today with a card for people to sign, and eventually that card ended up on my desk.
I blinked down at it, unsure of how to proceed. My coworkers’ responses varied in length, but most were small dissertations on the brightness of the future and the joy of true love, to which were appended miniature essays outlining the degree to which they were so, so happy for her.
I frowned down at the card, pen poised, and spent the better part of ten minutes trying to figure out how to not come off like an asshole here.
I suppose I could have tried to mimic the others, and written something long and positive with lots of exclamation points. Something like, say, this:
Congratulations! A wondrous adventure awaits you! May you and your boo frolic merrily down the path of life happily ever after! Together, you can do anything!
Coming from me, a man whose shrink once told him he’d probably get laid more if he didn’t come off so much like an ax murderer, that sounds snide at best. Something short, more staid? Maybe I should have gone for some kind of comradery?
Good luck? “Good luck”? Why do you need “luck”? Because you’re legally binding yourself to another human being, for whom your love will eventually wither and die and leave you a bitter, hollowed-out shell of a person locked in legal bondage to someone you have grown to despise? Good work, Thad. Nice. Nice job. Dickwad.
Eventually I settled on a solid (if offputtingly unimaginative) “Congratulations! Best wishes!”, under which I scribbled a signature which will, hopefully, be totally illegible should anyone actually read that card.
And now it’s 3:15 PM, and while I should probably wrap this up somehow, I actually do have work that I should be doing. So I’m going to go do that.
Oh, and no, I haven’t been neglecting this blog. I have about five 1,000+ word drafts in the appropriate folder, but they all need some serious editing before I put them anywhere, even here. They’ll show up, eventually. Probably. Maybe not.