George and Dick and Jim and David

After writing that last post, all I could think was, “Man, I really, really don’t like Dick Cheney. And I’m not so fond of Bush, either.”

Sometimes I try to imagine meeting George Bush and Dick Cheney, if they’d never been president/VP and were just some dudes. I’m certain I wouldn’t like either of them, but for totally different reasons…

I worked at a design firm in Chicago for about six years, during which time I recommended several friends for various positions (including Mr. Furious), and it was at this job that I met my oft-mentioned girlfriend Miller. Every time any of us get together, we rehash stories about the bizarre parade of incredibly strange coworkers who passed through that place, but there are two in particular about whom we have lots and lots of stories: Jim and David.

Jim was, at first blush, a pleasant enough sort of fellow, if kind of an annoying doofus. Not someone you’d want to hang out with, but seemingly pretty inoffensive. But after working with him awhile, all the rest of us realized he was a total scam artist; he never did a lick of work, always blamed other people for his mistakes (and he made plenty of mistakes), tried to take credit for others’ successes, and was basically an incompetent turd. None of which ever stopped him from being condescending, even though he was constantly proved wrong. And he was sneaky—I busted him reading my email and he got caught fudging his billable hours, charging clients for work he didn’t do. He made stupid excuses for being constantly late or unprepared. He looked at women’s tits when he spoke to them, instead of making eye contact. He drank during the day and compulsively played with his balls. In the end, he was a totally pathetic character, but such a horse’s ass that he didn’t earn an ounce of pity from anyone.

When I consider how I’d regard George Bush, were I to have met him as an ordinary man, I think of Jim—a guy you try to be nice to, in spite of the fact you instantly peg him as a dope, who exploits any good will he receives to his own benefit, until you’d rather gouge out your own eyes with a dull butter knife than extend him a modicum more.

David was a different kind of character altogether. He wasn’t an objectively ugly man, although his countenance, constantly sour unless marred with a forced grin that cut across his face like a jagged wound, was distinctly unpleasant. He grimaced more than grinned when he tried to ingratiate himself after assertions of superiority, or deviousness, had failed to get him what he wanted. Utterly lacking in social graces, he was avoided at all costs. His office was on the direct route between my desk and Miller’s; we would walk around the entire office in the opposite direction just to evade him. The most notable thing about David, however, was not any particular personality trait or habit, but his aura. I have never known another person whose presence was so repulsive, by which I mean not nauseating, but actually having the quality of repelling anyone who drew near. The air around him seemed to pulsate with an odorless stench; within three feet of him, your skin would crawl and a visceral flight urge would well up within—it was quite literally unbearable to be near him. Every last person in the office felt the same way. There was something creepy about him, something just not right.

It’s David of whom I think when I consider meeting Dick Cheney, not as our vice president, but as some random guy, a coworker or client or something. I imagine his severe mug being simply unappealing from a distance, but the same air of repulse, the same unforgiving sensation of creepiness, clinging to him and raising the hairs on the back of one’s neck in close range.

The thing about Jim and David is that they were just two schlubs working at a crappy corporate job—not running the country. And, eventually, they got shitcanned. Two farts in the wind. Now they’re just a collection of funny anecdotes. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be laughing about George and Dick’s dirty deeds anytime soon.

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