The Weird Boss To End All Weird Bosses

, , , , , | Working | September 1, 2020

I was twenty-one when I had my first job in America. I’m Arabic, and my boss was Asian-American. I hadn’t seen The Office at the time, but I noted the absurdity of my boss and now I’d definitely compare him to Michael Scott.

He would get free potato chips from a guy in a company truck and would stuff his cheeks in the middle of telling me what to do. He always offered some.

He fired a coworker for screaming some racist stuff at me by just… yanking her out the door.

He called another coworker a cub or a baby lion because she was tiny with wild unruly hair, and he would do a mini-roar whenever she was about to report for her shift or when I mentioned her name.

Sometimes, he ran around the place with a wig on his head imitating me.

He occasionally brought his daughter to work and gave her piggyback rides in the office, and he would ask me to take videos.

He would talk to black people in a “black” way. He would say, “Wassup, shorty?” to the ladies and ask people, “What’s poppin’?” He called the guys Tyrone and would say, “Shieeeeeet,” in his most convincing “black” voice. It was actually pretty accurate.

He would ask me to teach him random Arabic words so he could yell them sporadically in the middle of the day. He always got the accent right.

He had an open-door policy and would do shots in his office.

He started a small chicken farm in the back of the building and would give out whole chickens to the staff. He had a coworker and me try to slaughter one on one occasion. I couldn’t do it and nicked it just a little bit and shrieked, spraying all three of us with blood.

He eventually received a visit from some people from the city who came to tell him he couldn’t keep chickens in back. He was rounding the main floor with a small basket of freshly laid eggs just as they were asking for him.

He did the chicken farm again the next summer, this time with a small garden growing squash, cucumber, corn, etc. to disguise the chicken coop, and he happily gave out vegetables along with chicken. He was extremely proud of taking home a tray of his own eggs to his children and ate two fresh eggs every morning.

He brought a wok to work to deep fry sausages in. Sometimes, he made lunch in the back. The entire floor would smell like food and he would round us all — three of us — to his office to eat.

He would regularly fall asleep under his desk. The snoring was so loud you could hear it in the front. Once, a client asked what that noise was. I said it was the plumbing. He usually woke up after his naps looking puffy but acting as if nothing had happened, and he would always immediately go next door for a Cherry Coke.

He would constantly eat hard candy to stay awake during the day.

He ate too many edibles at a party I hosted once and passed out.

He told me to hire someone, but when he saw the girl, he did a comical thing with his face, eyebrows raised and eyes big — think Ken Jeong — because she was having trouble fitting into her chair. She was a bigger girl. He took away chairs the next day because they “encouraged us not to concentrate on the client.” The girl was a no-call-no-show the following week.

He had a love-hate relationship with a groundhog not long into his farming venture. He never caught the guy.

He once threw a cricket at me from the very opposite end of the office floor. He and another coworker kept such straight faces as I finally convinced myself the cricket flung itself at me. I watched the cameras at the end of the day only to see them do it. I’m still traumatized.

He had a hard time growing a beard and would ask me what I thought of the progress of his “soup taster.”

He fell into a poison ivy bush once and didn’t know right away. He ran around screaming until we sat him in his office, semi-undressed, and put medicine on his wounds. He was so miserable for days; it was hard to watch.

He dove headfirst into the wall when asleep once and needed to go to the doctor and get three stitches on his busted lip. He came to work that morning with a huge lip and kept having to explain himself all day. We kept joking that his wife was beating him up. He still insisted on snacking as usual. At one point, he sipped ketchup with a straw.

He has an office to this day full of the weirdest collection of things: a few feathers from favorite chickens of his that he has since consumed, all named and dated, a rabbit paw someone gave him, a goat’s hoof, a framed quote I told him that was told to me by a very high homeless person… I don’t remember the rest. It’s just an odd place to go into.

He was the nicest boss I’ve ever had — well-meaning, if a little racially insensitive, all while being fascinated by other people’s cultures. He would buy different cuisines for us to try each week. He gave bonuses because he knew the job didn’t pay much, so that was always a nice surprise. He paid my former coworker when she had to stay home all through her husband’s bout with the recent health crisis.

He loves llamas, alpacas, and baby goats, and when I showed him how to use Reddit, he would almost always send me an alpaca photo. I still get a photo now and then.

Three years after I left the job, he still sends me photos of his illegal farm and recently asked me to post his cucumbers on Reddit.

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