I think it’s about time I added to my ongoing series of annoying people. Today’s example comes from Las Vegas, but this person is found absolutely everywhere on earth. Wherever there’s a job to be done, there’s bound to be a person overdoing that job. That’s right; today we’re going to look at the people who take themselves—and by extension, their crappy jobs—way too seriously.
Not all versions of this person are necessarily annoying. In fact, many are even considered heroes. Countless movies and TV shows feature protagonists whose lives consist of nothing but their jobs. Take the show CSI for example. Pretty much every character on that show takes their job so seriously that they basically don’t exist outside the office.
Essentially just lab techs from Las Vegas, New York or Miami (that’s when I stopped paying attention and I’m sure they’ve got a CSI: Fargo by now), they manage to take on every other duty a cop might perform, as well as some light CIA work, such as single-handedly taking out a drug cartel or toppling a third-world dictator. Many would see such a character as heroic; to me they’re losers who need a job to give their lives meaning.
Nevertheless, I can see the argument for their greatness (self-sacrifice and all that BS), which is why I’m going to ignore these versions of the ‘super-employee’ and focus instead on those with jobs absolutely no one but the person in question could possibly see as important. Specifically, I’m going to look at security guards at an empty luxury high-rise in Las Vegas.
After graduating from college with an MBA, I decided to put my new degree to good use by driving myself and all my possessions to Las Vegas and working as a security guard. It actually turned out to be the perfect job, apart from an hourly wage that would have a ten year old Bangladeshi sweat-shop worker reaching for the picket signs.
I worked at a new high-rise building full of luxury condos that were still in the process of being sold. That meant almost no one had moved in yet and we were basically guarding an empty building. All I had to do was walk around outside the building twice during an eight hour shift; the rest of the time I sat behind a desk. You could keep busy as you liked, so many guards would watch TV or do crossword puzzles. I read.
I caught up on all the classics of world literature I missed out on as a high school student in the United States, where political correctness takes precedence over education—in three years of school, we did not read a single work by a Russian author, but we did have to read a book by a local Native American writer who, judging by the quality of his writing, wrote his masterpiece while drunk and in elementary school. He also apparently wrote for people much older than we, since we weren’t given the actual book, but a photocopy with over 50% of the writing blacked out.
I didn’t set out to write about the sorry state of the US education system though, so back to the job and my coworkers. Just one of my coworkers actually. Let’s call him Sherlock. On my first day, Sherlock was asked to train me, which anyone else would have done in one sentence: “You sit here and twice a night, take a walk around the building.” Sherlock turned this into an intensive 2-hour on-the-job training course.
The highlight for me was learning how to turn a corner. Sherlock explained to me, at length and in great detail, how to properly round the corner from one side of the building to the other. I’ll sum it up: basically, you need to stay at least ten meters away from the side of the building, so that you can spot anyone who might be lurking just behind the corner waiting to ambush you.
When I pointed out that the sidewalk we were on was pretty much ten meters from the building and the area between the sidewalk and the building was a big flower bed full of shrubs and bushes and that I wasn’t planning on creeping through the undergrowth anyway, he beamed with pride and fired back with, “Exactly! There’s way too much cover an attacker could use to spring an ambush!”
I couldn’t tell if he was proud of me for being such a fast learner or just proud of his skills as an instructor. A little of both I suppose. Either way, I dropped it and we continued my training. A few days later, after finally passing the rigorous qualification exam on my fifth try, I started working.
I quickly learned what I had suspected the second I met Sherlock: he was kind of a joke and an endless source of amusement to the other guards and, most of all, to the site-manager. He was constantly leaving behind ridiculous notes on completely inconsequential events. An example:
One day, he left the site manager a Styrofoam cup with a cigarette butt inside. He had cut out one side of the cup as a little window to better see the butt and had taped a long note to the back. It read something like this:
|Incident:||illegal disposal of garbage|
|Location:||sidewalk, approx. 2 feet from doors|
|Time:||discovered at 3:34pm|
|Observations:||lipstick on cigarette|
|Method of evidence collection:||used a tissue to avoid contamination|
|Recommended action:||send to lab for DNA analysis|
Luckily, this particular case had a happy ending. When the DNA test came back, it turned out the lipstick belonged to a female Al Qaeda operative. Our team of guards was put under Sherlock’s control and quickly dispatched to Afghanistan, where we not only apprehended the woman in question, but shut down an entire cell of terrorists and, in a ‘to be continued episode’, brought democracy to the war-torn nation.
No, wait. That was CSI: Tulsa. Or was it Missoula? Either way, it wasn’t us. In our case, the DNA test did confirm Sherlock’s suspicions that the subject was female, but unfortunately her DNA was not in the system. And while we enhanced video footage of a reflection in a hubcap of her reflection in a window, we were never able to locate and apprehend her. This litterer remains at large to this day, tossing cigarette butts left and right all over the otherwise pristine Las Vegas streets.