Same As The Old Boss
In a dazzling display of
fiscal efficiency and corporate streamlining (read this: nobody
wanted the job), The Dirt Company has decided not to hire a
replacement for Scott,
Scott, you may recall, was the
wildly-popular/incredibly-groovy/late-lamented Office Manager who
defected last month, in order to join a rival dirt firm across town.
For a while after he left, there was some talk of hiring a new OM from
within the company. Then there was some talk of hiring somebody from
outside the company. (Then there was some talk of a reality show on
FOX: "Hired By America.") But all of that early negotiation appears to
have fallen through: instead, the company is now offering us the loan
of a pre-packaged Corporate Suit. He flies in from the home office in
Los Angeles two or three times a month, sets up his laptop in the guest
cubicle, fires off a couple of Triple-Quadruple-Urgent-All-Company
e-mails ... and then gets back on the airplane and disappears for
another couple of weeks. It's sort of like having a substitute teacher,
once or twice a month ... except that it's the exact same substitute
teacher, every time, so there are no unpleasant surprises. (Plus we
don't stuff sanitary napkins and leftover tuna casserole into his
pencil drawer when he's away from his desk.)
That's the good news.
The bad news: his name is
I swear to god. His name is
Franz. No ... he's not THAT Franz. Last I heard, THAT
Franz was still raising blood pressure and lowering matching funds over
at The Totem Pole Company. Even so, what are the odds that I would
end up working for two Franzes in one lifetime?
(For those of you tuning in
mid-episode, Franz #1 was my boss for the first couple of years after I
transplanted here to California: basically, he is the reason why they
invented St. John's Wort. You can read about him here or here or here ...
or just try typing the words "re-rescheduled colonoscopy
appointment" into your favorite search engine.)
Even though The New Franz has
absolutely zero connection whatsoever to The Old Franz, except for
having the same first name -- and the same ruddy complexion, and the
same penchant for thousand dollar suits and four dollar ties -- the
whole thing is still creeping me out, ever-so-slightly. It's like
winding up with two Clarence Trepaniers in one lifetime ... or two
or two Great-Aunt Leonas, or two President George Bushes.
In fairness, I should point out
that The New Franz seems to be a very nice person ... from what little
I know of him so far, anyway. The first day that he was here in the
office, in his official capacity of Interim Temporary Fill-In
Once-In-A-While Office Manager, I went out of my way to smile cutely at
him every time he looked in my direction, and to make sure there was
lots of hot black coffee in the lunchroom at all times, and to
pronounce his unpronounceable last name correctly. Not that he has
actually ever noticed any of this stuff I do for
his benefit: mostly he spends his time here whispering intensely into
his cell phone ... striding intensely up and down the hallway with his
shirtsleeves rolled up ... gazing intensely out the window at the
parking lot below, making sure nobody is breaking into his rental car
again. I don't think any of us are used to this level of intensity,
frankly: it's going to take some getting used to. Plus all of a sudden
I'm finding myself saying things I never thought I'd hear myself say,
ever again ... like, "Franz, your meeting is about to begin,"
or "Franz, did you want that printed in color or black and
white?," or "Franz, I have your mother on Line Two."
It's going to take a while for those icy cold fingers of dread to quit
snapping my sphincter shut whenever I say his name out loud.
Privately, I have my doubts
about this whole concept of the 'Offsite Office Manager.' Somehow it
seems to defeat the whole purpose of hiring somebody to "manage" the
"office" ... sort of like having heart surgery over the phone. How the
heck is he going to know when we're loading up our backpacks with
office supplies, or playing hallway sock-hockey with a couple of four
thousand dollar inclinometers and a leftover Krispy Kreme?
at the front desk writing a *FootNotes* entry in the middle of a
Still, I'm determined to be cooperative and
pleasant and accomodating, for however long this weird new arrangement
lasts. And I'll treat The New Franz with all of the respect and
courtesy that his position -- if not his name -- deserve.
Unless he asks me to
antibacterialize his dwarf schefflera, I mean. Then the guy is on his