Skip to main content

Goddamn It, Roger -- Writer's Poke #196

Larry was in the hospital, and so it was not a surprise when the College President called me. "I've asked Roger to fill in," she said. And just like that, I had a new boss.

Roger was a great guy, and he and I had a fine relationship when we were both Department Chairs. Now that he was Interim Vice President, however, many of us felt that he had let the role go to his head. It even got to the point where he was sending out memos about how dirty the coffeespoon was in the breakroom. And that's something as Interim Vice President that he could not just stand by and let happen. The coffeespoon must be clean at all times, or else there would be no more coffee. After all, he was a former military man, and what we needed was a little military discipline. He saw the coffeespoon as symptomatic of bigger problems.

Then one morning Roger called a meeting. It was just me, him, and Richard, who was the other Department Chair. Richard was the nicest Southern gentleman you'd ever want to meet. He was considerate, thoughtful, and soft-spoken. In other words, if someone wanted to run over him, he'd just take his suit to the cleaners afterwards to get the tire tracks out. He hated confrontation.

Roger began the meeting by letting us know that the President's Cabinet had decided that we needed to make a change to our scheduling practices. I'm sure he was trying to project a look of sympathy, but all I saw was a smirk. We weren't here to discuss anything; he was giving us an edict. Just weeks earlier when he was only a Department Chair like the rest of us, we had held conversations with our former Vice President like equals; he evidently believed in a different style of leadership, and now that he was the superior, he expected us to suck it up and follow orders.

So I just let it out: "Goddamn it, Roger!" That's all I said. Roger and Richard both lowered their gaze, and I sat there not quite believing that I had said that, but glad that I had expressed what others had been thinking for the past few weeks.

Have you ever lashed out at your boss, a spouse, a friend? Besides being cathartic for you, did doing so ever help strengthen your relationship? If so, why?

"When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear." -- Mark Twain


  1. I did indeed lash out at my boss once that I recall. I don't recall the discussion that led to it, but I said something like "damn it Dan" to Captain Danial J. Meehan. His reply was "Get your damn feet off my desk". I did, but no long term ill will resulted. That was probably about 1955.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Day Trip #1: Caledonia, Minnesota

The Wired Rooster Coffee Shoppe -- Caledonia, Minnesota

I've lived in Minnesota for over ten years, sure, but that doesn't mean I've actually seen much of the state. Like most people, I know what I know, and I go where I go. And that's the extent of it. But once I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to make it to Alaska this summer, it occurred to me that I had plenty of sites to explore in the immediate region.

First stop: Caledonia, Minnesota. Where's that? It's a small town in the southeast corner of the state. Before I opened my Rand McNally Road Atlas, I had never heard of it, and before I punched the town name into Trip Advisor, I didn't know if there was anything there worth visiting.

Distance from home: About 75 miles.

Challenge #1: Leaving by 6:30 a.m.

Challenge #2: Taking my dog, Atticus.

Actually, Atticus is a good dog on a road trip, but the forecast indicated that it was going to get into the 90s. I wanted to leave early in the …

Summer Day Trip #3: Jackson, Minnesota

Some time ago in the spring, I found out that David Ellefson, bass player and co-founder of Megadeth, was rebranding the coffee shop in Jackson, Minnesota. Every so often I would tell Linda that I planned to drive over there to check it out, but the morning that I actually decided to drive over there to check it out, I think I surprised her. I’m not sure she thought I would ever do it.
“What else are you going to do over there?”
“Oh, that’s it. Just drive over there, order a cup of coffee, and drive home.”
I had checked out Jackson on Tripadvisor, and honestly, Jackson seemed like it didn’t have much going on. My mind map of southwestern Minnesota was mainly a blank. I knew that I-90 drove through, but I thought perhaps the interstate was a metaphor: Beware ye who enter here, lest ye be on your way to somewhere else.
When I told Tavi we were driving two hours to visit a coffee shop, the idea didn’t seem far-fetched to her. She only had one question, “Do they serve hot cocoa?” I promised …