Man on a large construction site walked from the freight elevators and passed a crew of electricians. He passed his fellow carpenters, sitting on a stack of sheetrock, laughing over cups of coffee, and eating their usual ham, egg, and cheese on a roll.
He stormed by the plumbers as they gathered their wrenches and complained about the inaccurate drawings, which were changed, and given to them by the architect.
Angry as hell, the man sneered passed the tapers as they prepared their spackle and spackle knives. His head leaned forward and his fists were tight. The inside corner of his eyebrows pointed downward, and ready to complain, the angry man barged into the temporary field office of his senior project manager.
The manager was a young man and well-dressed with a college education. He poked at the keys of his laptop computer while sipping from a white cup, with a white plastic lid, and string from a teabag that dangled at its side.
Without looking away from the computer, the project manager laid down his toasted buttered roll on top of aluminum foil. He took a quick gulp from his tea and then he returned to typing.
The angry man stood at the manager’s desk. His posture seemed urgent.
Without looking away, the glare from the computer screen reflected on the manager’s eyeglasses and slightly brightened his face.
“What is it this time,” he asked.
“Those sons of bitches did it to me again!”
“What sons of bitches did what to you again?”
In a loud fury the man informed the project manager, “First, the laborer moved my bag so I couldn’t find it….then, someone took my tin-snips…and now, they turned off the light when I was on the toilet in the bathroom!”
Still looking at his computer screen, the manager asked, “Do you know who did this to you?”
“No, but if I find out, there’s gonna be a problem!”
Hitting send, the manager finished his emails. Then he folded his laptop. He leaned back in his chair and wiped the breakfast crumbs from his lap. Then he raised his hands to rub his eyes beneath his eyeglasses and said, “You really need to stop pissing people off.”
He said, “Lenny, you’re a great carpenter. But you have to stop telling people what to do. Stop telling people how much you know.Stop correcting everyone, including me, and for Christ’s sake, man, stop accusing people all the time!”
Lenny had been a carpenter, perhaps longer than the manager had been alive. He was gray-haired, slightly balding, with old man skin, and yellow teeth from years of smoking. He often smelled from his underarms and sometimes vodka. Lenny seldom apologized and he rarely worked after overfilling himself during lunch. He was quick to argue; he was quick to complain, and he was quick to direct his finger at the co-workers that were less-capable.
Lenny erupted, “Nobody has the right to touch my stuff!”
He insisted there were thieves on the job. He accused the electricians and the painters of touching his things, and then he threatened to call immigration on two of the laborers.
Walking back and forth, Lenny demanded, “I want something done about this!”
He shouted, “Tommy, I’ve worked for your father longer than you’ve been alive and he would never let anyone treat me like this!”
Tommy stood up. He collected his keys and cell phone from the top of his desk. At that point, Lenny had moved towards the door with his hands at his side. His eyebrows were still folded downward. His neck was still bent forward and his fists were clenched.
Tommy went over to his knee-high file cabinet, which he kept locked. He placed the key into the lock, turned it, and then he opened the bottom drawer.
This is when Tommy leaned down and retrieved Lenny’s green-handled tin-snips.
Tommy explained, “You left these on my desk yesterday.”
Lenny’s eyebrows began to lift
“You left your bag near the painters….but when one of the paint buckets spilled; I told the laborer to move your things so you wouldn’t get paint on your bag. That laborer, by the way, is the same laborer you threatened to call immigration on. And as for the lights in the bathroom, maybe if you didn’t sit on the toilet for so long, you would have known the breaker tripped and one of the electricians had to reset it.”
In quiet, humiliation……..Lenny walked away.
My best friend Lonny often tells me there is no difference between the white and blue collar.
I debate him, but he makes a strong argument.
There will always be someone to cause drama
There will always be someone looking to point the finger
Men are men, women are women
And an asshole in any language is still an asshole.