Who Goes There: Boss Tom

Boss Tom, Area Engineer (later Chief of E & C)

The most oft-used word to describe Tom: steady. The consummate diplomat, Boss Tom appears to get along with everyone more often than anyone else. Once it’s understood that every word in his most deliberate sentences has been weighed and chosen with care, it’s possible to discern (and enjoy) the insults and disgust that he so adeptly veils in polite banter. The subtleties are lost on most, however, successfully keeping him off the insubordination radar. When he does get truly and publicly pissed off at someone, he prefers doling out the silent treatment with occasional razor sharp personal insults tossed off at the offender. Ignore him; it will all blow over in exactly three days.

Tom keeps details of his personal life to himself, deflecting incoming queries with a security system far superior to t-walls and bunkers: the Scorpio wit. If you’re content to accept what he’s willing to give without pushing, the veil will slowly unravel, revealing an aggravating wife, three children he seems oddly amused and puzzled by, and a great appreciation for golf and Oriental women with big boobs.

Once the veil is cracked by friendship, it’s also discovered that the inhuman balance of Tom’s diplomatic demeanor is likely maintained by two things: a rich fantasy life, and a habit of thought that generously looks for solutions instead of sticking on the problem. If you think he’s taking your bad news very well, wave a hand in front of his face to be sure he responds. He may be traveling in Thailand. If not in Thailand, you may have lucked out: he might actually be solving the problem for you.

A short little guy who is mortified by any mention of his height, Tom is nevertheless handsome and his body is ripped. An hour in the gym each day maintains the muscle. Having none of the short man’s ego compensation issues, Tom wafts through the days with an easy confidence and laid back social grace. He’s almost always willing to laugh, and is blessed with a sharp mind. As long as you don’t piss him off, Tom is good company.

Defining actions and characteristics:

  1. A sneeze that must be heard as far away as Baghdad
  2. If he’s in the office, he’s in his stocking feet
  3. Apparent unwillingness to stand up to the brass (while secretly plotting an end run)
  4. Delivering bad news with great enthusiasm and a big grin

Why he stays:

His job back home was eliminated, so he’d be unemployed were he to leave. Lame excuse! He seems to like the small, simplified world where daily chores and details are minimized: someone else cooks, cleans, does his laundry, pays the bills, raises the kids … not bad if you can get it.

[All names have been changed – OS]

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