I used to work with a bunch of guys who made ugly sport of throwing people under the bus. Every article of clothing in my meager collection has a huge pair of tire tracks crisscrossing the fabric. I would also tell you that my face has a pair of tracks showing, but that’s just my face.
After a while it got so bad, you couldn’t tell them a single thing about your personal life, or they would twist it to make you look like a complete idiot. It was that old school yard bully syndrome, mixed with insecurity and some cocktail peanuts.
Example: The original ringleader was a spoiled, loudmouthed kid suffering a Napoleon Complex, who wore the only pair of high-heeled work boots available. He needed to reach six feet and be taller than our manager, who he constantly threw under the bus.
Napoleon would see the manager and say, “Damn he’s short,” whereas I would look down at his shoes and ask, “Do those come in strapless nine-inch?”
My daughter was in day care for a couple of years, and I remember rushing home to get her at 5 pm, before they closed. Napoleon used to tell people he didn’t “buy my story” about daycare. He said I avoided overtime, and now he had to come in at 5 am to get extra hours (instead of punching a clock, we used an honor system on the computer).
One morning another worker spotted him coming in fifteen minutes before the 7 am start time, then claim it was 5 am on his computer. When someone started showing up at 5 am for real, Napoleon was furious because his game was blown. He couldn’t say he worked longer hours anymore, but he tried anyway.
When my wife and I bought our home, Napoleon had to see it on the sly. He didn’t know I had finished work early, and was in the garage when he rolled up, traveling miles out of his way to criticize the house. Did I mention creepy?
His face was priceless when the garage door went up, but it didn’t stop his hunt for dirt.
“You’re going to need a new roof,” he said, checking it out. “That’s good for five years, tops.”
The roof was brand new, and that was seven years ago. Still looks new today.
“That fence is crap,” he said. “Good for another year if you’re lucky.”
The fence encircles over half an acre; still holding strong.
And so it went, twisting things to throw me under, but that’s okay. He ended up building a house three times more expensive to beat the Joneses, and could barely make mortgage payments. The way things are going, he’s probably out of luck. Hard to believe, since the land was a gift, and he had a large insurance settlement. Hey, Did I just throw him under? Nice.
So without further ado, here’s some steadfast advice on personal information you should never disclose, when the big yellow bus is coming:
1) Never describe the details of a silicone butt implant. It’s just asking for trouble.
2) Never tell the group you’re going through a messy divorce. People who throw you under love to hear stuff like that. Tell them you’re cheating like crazy, and watch the fireworks when they give your ex an FYI phone call. This is called a “two for one sale”, or “extreme sports”.
3) Never tell them you go to the Caymans every so often and, “withdraw some drug money I made with Pablo Escobar in the eighties.”
4) Never, ever tell them you nail-gunned your hand to the top of a chicken house, while balanced on the top step of an aluminum ladder, with a lightening-hail storm coming, and a radio blasting so neighbors couldn’t hear you screaming, with a cell phone just out of reach. Never do that, because it actually happened, and it was the department manager. I cannot make this stuff up. He was suffering for over two hours. The big yellow bus is still parked on him.
5) Never tell them a fox got your chicken, and you tried tracking it through the woods, all day long (same manager; yes, he had a loaded shotgun; yes, he’s a partner in the company). Bus still parked; company struggling.
6) Never tell them you wrote about it in an international humor contest, unless you don’t work there anymore. Hey wait! Nice pattern!