I hate Irv. He’s my 66-year-old co-worker and he’s retiring at the end of the month. He’s been gloating about it since I started working with him seven years ago. In fact, on my first day on the job, the idiot introduced himself to me and then immediately began a silly tirade about how he’s going to retire in 2017.
Mostly, it’s been low level poking and prodding over the years—subtle digs about how he is closer to “sweet freedom” than I am. Recently, however, his bragging and complete lack of respect for me have escalated. Frankly, it’s become untenable.
The final straw—what really caused me to lose my cool—happened at last week’s staff meeting. Irv sat there, slurping his dumb coffee, and in front of all of us, arrogantly stated, “I don’t have to attend next week’s mandatory information session with our clients because I’m retiring soon.” Watching him sit there, reveling in his steaming pile of smugness, sent me into a blind rage. It was impossible to take it any longer.
The fact that he’ll be sitting in his robe, petting his cat, while I flush the best days of my life down the toilet for the next two-plus decades, is simply disgusting.
“Screw you, Irv!” I said. For emphasis, I made an inappropriate gesture involving my right hand and my crotch. With my left hand, I threw my loose-leaf notepaper in his direction. Being paper, it just kind of floated in mid-air for a moment before falling harmlessly to the ground. In hindsight, I should’ve crumpled it first. Not having the desired effect with the loose-leaf paper, I called an audible and threw up a middle finger.
Irv looked at me through his thick glasses in stunned silence, as our colleagues sat around us in disbelief. His glasses are so thick I’m surprised he didn’t see this coming.
Seconds passed, but felt like hours.
“Okay, does anyone have anything else to add to today’s staff meeting?” asked my boss, meekly.
No one did.
After my five-day suspension and mandatory anger management training, I was back on the job.
My outburst stemmed from jealousy, of course. Irv is 26 years my senior, and he has undoubtedly earned the right to gloat about his pending retirement. Sure, when I’m in his position, I will do the same thing to the young people coming up behind me. Still, the fact that he’ll be sitting in his robe, petting his cat, while I flush the best days of my life down the toilet for the next two-plus decades, is simply disgusting.
What’s more disgusting is that I have no leverage to get angry again. He knows it, too. You can only dramatically grab your crotch in an office setting once. So, when he walks into my office wearing his dumb sweater-vest and proclaims to me that he will spend “a ton of time hiking” (which he knows is a favorite pastime of mine), I can’t go code-red on him. Nor can I chuck my laptop at his face when he tells me he already purchased one-way tickets to Cozumel for him and his wife, because he “doesn’t care” when he returns. Neither do I, Irv. Neither do I.
The jerk actually hand wrote “Irv – Out of the office” on every workday of the printed January 2018 calendar that hangs in our team room, and he laughed while doing it.
I considered quickly finding a new job, just so I could rub the fact that I was leaving first in his stupid face. Leaving a good job simply out of spite wasn’t practical, according to my wife.
Slashing his car tires was out of the question, because the parking lot has 24-hour surveillance. Spreading workplace rumors about him (“Irv” does rhyme with “perv,” after all), while tempting, lacks a certain je-ne-sais-quoi (French word, meaning a quality that cannot be easily described). No, this situation requires precision: a targeted attack. Psychological warfare.
I will use what he holds so dear to crush him: Time.
Time, I soliloquized. Time is what gets Irv the Perv (I decided to spread the rumor anyway) so excited. He raves about how he’ll have so much time to do the things he thinks he so eagerly deserves to do.
So, the next morning, arrogant old Irv comes in late, wearing an untucked t-shirt and flip-flops because he doesn’t “care about the dress code anymore.”
I had my opening.
“Good morning, Irv,” I said, cheerily. “Enjoy retirement, because you’ll die before I do.”
It’s possible I got to the punchline before properly setting up the joke, but he had no retort. Instead, he limped into his office and began surfing the web for the day hikes he’ll do while I’m stuck in work purgatory for the best years of my life.
In truth, I probably was too harsh, but I despise long goodbyes. And I despise Irv.