Mythical One-Name Creatures from Home Office
Nearly everywhere I’ve worked there’s been a big-shot associated with the place who lives out of town, and strikes absolute, paralyzing fear in the heart of the place. And they’re almost always known by just one name…
Are you familiar with this phenomenon?
“Did you hear? Ron’s coming tomorrow.”
“Holy shit! Oh, holy shittable shit!!”
Sometimes the mythical one-name creature tries to downplay the terror, and puts on a friendly non-threatening face. While maintaining his devastating power, of course.
But some of them clearly enjoy the role. At a record store where I once worked the creature was named John, and he played it up big-time.
The guy rarely spoke, he just walked around judging everything. He had shifty eyes, never went to lunch, never went to the bathroom, and concocted a strange, mysterious persona for himself. He was exceedingly intimidating, and (we suspected) had developed a taste for human flesh.
We’d practically have to put the store director on suicide watch, whenever “John” was coming to town. Heck, that probably wasn’t even his name… He probably just used it for his performances.
One time I made a joke about seeing him accidentally cut his arm, and noticing wires and flashing lights inside. And nobody laughed, because they thought I was being serious.
It was rumored that John fired employees on the spot, simply because he didn’t like their looks, or the shirt they were wearing. He’d observe the way you helped customers, and it felt like he never fully approved. And he supposedly had an employee physically removed from another store, because they were temporarily out of Pink Floyd The Wall on cassette.
Oh, John was watching, always watching… Even when he wasn’t there.
In 1996, at another job, I was summoned to the home office by one of these mythicals. His name was Vinnie, and he was one of the nice, downplaying types. We talked for a while, and he ended up offering me a promotion – working for him.
So I got to see it all from a different perspective. And I admit it, I had dreams of becoming a mythical myself: Jeff. “Jeff’s coming?! Oh fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!!”
Alas, it never happened. The whole time I was there, I never rose above “one of Vinnie’s lackeys.” And that didn’t carry nearly as much caché, if you know what I mean.
But my years working for Vinnie stripped away most of the magic for me. I ate meals with the mythicals, gave a few of them rides home from work, and occasionally went to their (get this!) houses. And I saw that they didn’t possess super-powers, or engage in the dark arts, or anything of the sort.
I would’ve never believed it, but these guys were just regular people. Accomplished, for sure, but not that far removed from the folks who were completely terrified of them. The fact that they lived in a different city had a lot to do with it, I think. It helped promote mystery, and caused imaginations to run wild.
At my current job there are a couple of mythical one-name creatures, but I’m immune now. While everybody around me is stabbing themselves in the heart or setting themselves on fire, because “Jack” is coming to town, I calmly pop M&Ms into my mouth without a care in the world.
And while my co-workers seem to admire my steeliness, I get the feeling my boss thinks I lack enthusiasm, and don’t take the job seriously. So, the next time Jack comes to town I plan to shit my pants. It’ll be a completely fraudulent shitting, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Hey, I have bills to pay, like everyone else.