Miss X was a boss I had for a few months about a dozen years ago. She was a political hire, one of those friends of the family or donor’s kids type hire that wasn’t rooted in solid qualifications or experience. But I liked her for the most part, because she was nice and fairly personable. The job she was given was way outside her skillset, though.

Office technology eluded her sometime around 1999. She came in my office several times a day holding a sheet of paper with scribbles all over it. They would be either pages of a document we were working on or an email she’d gotten. After explaining what she wanted to change or how she thought she should respond, she’d ask me to correct the document or respond to the email and hand me her marked up sheet of paper. It took me the entire six months she was there to teach her how to forward me an email and send an email with a file attached. I’m pretty sure those skills remained in our offices as soon as she exited, though.

At that time in my life I was a fat kid. So, as fat kids are prone to do, I stopped at Whataburger every morning on my way in for a greasy sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit combo with a large root beer to eat at my desk before everyone else got to the office. Well, she started coming in early, too, and the smell of my food down the hall in my office must have triggered her inner bird dog. I’d hear, “Hey, Robbie. How’s it goin’?” as she’d plop down in a chair and start shooting the bull while I was mid-biscuit. I think she was actually hoping I’d offer her a bite or drop a hash brown on the floor she could snatch up. I don’t really like people talking to me from behind where I can’t see them or watching me eat, and she broke both rules daily.

Also as fat kids do, I kept snacks in my desk. I had a drawer where I’d keep nabs (peanut butter and crackers for you Yankees) or candy or some other pants-button-popping tasty treat. Then, one day, I made the mistake of offering her something from my goodie drawer. That polite gesture opened the floodgate. At that moment, it became OUR snack drawer. She started just coming in and burrowing through it even while I was sitting at the desk working. “Whatcha got to eat?” as she pulled the drawer open.

However, when I started running low in my five pound bag of peanut M&Ms, I had to take evasive action. I moved all my good snacks to another drawer on the other side of my desk and left all the crap I didn’t really like and stuff I knew she didn’t like in the original drawer. This became the decoy drawer. It took a few weeks, but she eventually decided I didn’t have anything worth eating anymore and started bringing her own snacks.  

I really didn’t dislike her, no matter my level of aggravation. She was a sweet lady that was put into a situation she wasn’t prepared for. She exceeded the Peter principle, the notion that everyone rises to his maximum level of incompetence and remains there. That’s why on the day she was freed to pursue other opportunities, I really did feel bad for her as she wandered the hallway in our suite, shoeless, eating from a king size box of Wheat Thins she carried close to her chest as if it was her newborn infant, and noticeably sobbing.

“Miss X, remember to click on the paperclip square thingy to attach a file to your email, and click the arrow pointing to the right to forward me your emails. There’s no reason to print them anymore.”

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