Saturday, February 11, 2006

Employee of the month goes to...

I've often heard it mentioned by expats that the Middle East attracts a lot of Westerners who have fucked up their lives "flatter'n hammered shit" as Ellsworth put it on Deadwood, and feel a need to get out of their own countries for a while. I've occasionally felt myself to be working with some of these people (and no I am not one of them, thanks), and recently had an example of a now ex-colleague definitely worth a mention in this regard.

Our maid also works for a colleague of mine, the manager of the USO section (they bring in celebs of various types to entertain the troops). The other morning when I dropped the kids off with her, she was at his apartment, and took me down to the parking garage to look at the poor guy's Trans Am, his pride and joy. Didn't look very proud now, with all the tyres flat. The rear window was also smashed in - and a pretty expensive window it is too, being large, deeply curved and fitted with a heating element. The big concrete block on the back seat provided a clue as to how it got broken.

The same bozo had taken to the manager's SUV too, but had given up after two tyres, presumably because a GMC Yukon's tyres are a harder prospect to destroy than a Trans Am's. And fortunately, loose concrete blocks are in short supply down in the garage.

"Any suspects?" I asked.

"Well, the guy he had to fire yesterday is currently topping the list."

"Hmm, bummer. I suppose he flew out last night then?"

"No! This moron is meant to be flying out tonight! That's why Mr B is down at the police station right now, laying charges."

"Oh my God! He smashed up the car more than a day before he was going to get on the plane?"

"Yes. I don't think this guy is one of God's cleverest creations."

No sir, he certainly isn't. I got to work and enthusiastically related this gossip to my co-workers, like the no-life loser I am, and then a bit later the boss of the Post Office, which is in the same building as us, came in to use our photocopier. He had a box with him and needed to copy the address label. His copier was too small to get a good shot at it, so he came to see us (your local library always has a good photocopier).

"Whoa, that's a heavy box," I said, lifting it onto the copier.

"Yeah, it's full of alcohol." (Note for the reader: alcohol is an illegal drug in Kuwait. It's also banned for US service personnel, DoD civilians and civilian contractors (ie me and my mates) by US Army General Order no. 1: Prohibited Activities. Fortunately the Army can't court martial civilians, so we just get terminated for the first offence.)

The Post Office guy told us about the grade A loser with his name on the box. Apparently, he'd been getting regular shipments from someone in the States. Unfortunately for him, his mate turned out not to be good at packaging alcohol for worldwide shipping, and one of the boxes turned up leaking and stinking of beer. So Mr Loser was called to the Post Office to pick up his regrettably-damaged parcel. Of course, when the guy gets there and notices the package is leaking and the entire Post Office smells like a pub, he blurts out "That's not mine!"

"What do you mean it's not yours, it's got your name right on it."

"Uh, I never heard of this guy that sent it. I don't know why he'd be sending me stuff."

"So, someone you've never heard of decides to take the trouble to send you, a complete stranger, a free box of beer?"

"I guess so. I've never had a box from this guy before. I've never even had a package the whole time I've been here!"

"Well, you know, our guys are sure they've had you signing for packages here on a regular basis. I think we'll have to start an investigation to check on that."

"Expletives deleted."

So, since then the Post Office had received yet another package of beer for this guy, and the boss needed to copy the address label to have a record of it, before returning it to sender.

"It was that dumbass that just got fired - I'd have liked to be able to fire him for this, but some other stupid shit he was pulling got to him first. Still, we'll finish the investigation, that way he won't end up working for the Army again."

"Er, this guy didn't happen to be from USO, did he?" I asked.

"Yeah, that's the guy. He's not the brightest bulb, I'll tell you that."

I certainly had to agree. I still don't know what this walking disaster area actually got fired for, but his eventual exit from Kuwait wouldn't have been a pleasant one, and they certainly won't be letting him back in again.