Tuesday, June 3, 2014


I was at work on Friday and had a visit from Leo Gortz. Leo played a pretty good trick on me the other day: he'd been promoted, see, and given the phone of another manager, a guy called Dave who is something of a micromanager and who is pretty easy to imitate as long as you start by saying, "Hey dude".

Leo took advantage of the fact that few people knew he had this phone, and that if he called he'd show up as Dave, to ring up and pretend to be Dave a) saying, "Hey dude", b) checking up on my work and c) when that was all sorted inviting me to a poetry slam at his house that night. Which as you'd expect creeped me the fuck out and confused me to great comic effect.

It was pretty funny and the story had been doing the rounds, but what was interesting was Leo's manner when he visited. Where the old Leo would have basked in the glory of a joke well-played - he has something of a history of playing jokes on the rest of us - the new Leo, in his new suit, seemed a little worried there might be some kind of retribution.

Reader: it was out of character, and so of course I got curious.

After he left I thought about it for a bit, trying to work out why he might be worried. Here's what I came up with:

a) For one thing, he's risen up the ranks; which is great but also means he has somewhere to fall now. Rising up through the ranks indicates trust has been extended by those further up; that trust is probably incompatible with the nature of a practical joker. Leo needs either to change or to not be found out, and he clearly hadn't changed, so there was that.

b) As I say, Leo has something of a history of playing jokes. Sitting there pondering on it I could think, just off the top of my head, of a good fourteen or fifteen people who'd expressed, at one point or another, a desire to avenge themselves upon him. Some of them had in fact banded together in the past to enact it in imaginative ways, which had certainly had a humbling effect on old Leo there for a while, if their stories were to be believed.

The point is: there was a resource, a network of people with some desire to see the jokes go the other way for a while. Leo's a smart guy, and he would have realised this, especially as he'd felt the effects of a previous group stirred to imaginative revenge.

c) I have quite an active imagination, and some experience managing volunteers. I also don't mind writing publicly about things I imagine.

d) While Leo's new position has clearly opened up a few new possibilities for prank-playing, it's likely it's closed off more. A person with more responsibility is a person who needs to be more careful: that's generally just how it is. Which was an asymmetry a motivated person or persons could take advantage of.

The upshot of it all was perhaps he was adding those four or five things together and.. well, who's to say just what he was thinking? But whatever it was, it didn't seem to be making him comfortable.

I mean, who knows? Perhaps he was just thinking about something else. People are mysterious, no? It's hard to work out just what's going on, sometimes - just what exactly lurks in the hearts of men.


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