Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Villainous pencil-bending

Every arch-villain needs a slightly menacing signature characteristic or habit. The James Bond series has taught us this invaluable lesson (as well as so many others).

In the case of my new (yet, satisfyingly, soon-to-be-old) boss, this universal truth seems to manifest itself in the form of pencil-bending. I would say pencil-fiddling - but this man is not, I feel, the fiddling type. A fact which (on the bright side) does establish a certain amount of 'clear blue water' between him and the Emperor Nero.

Anyhow. In this morning's meeting between myself and aforesaid pencil-bender, the signature habit was on display. Perhaps an analogy might be made with a fiery conductor, flexing his baton (no euphemism intended, dear reader, no euphemism intended) - or a swordsman, testing his rapier's blade.

Sadly, the pencil (one of our organisation's own) proved unequal to the forces to which it was subjected, and - mid-sentence - snapped. Fairly loudly. Cue: millisecondsworth of surprise. Then - evidently riled at the dissolution of a carefully-cultivated, Machiavellian air:

"Rubbish! These rubbishy pencils! Plastic! That's why I don't like them. I knew I didn't like them."

Subsequent pencil trajectory: binwards

Degree of force: not inconsiderable

Parting shot: "I like wooden pencils."

Well, boy, that told me. And the pencil.

The man then summarily went through his drawer and pencil pot, taking out all company pencils therein and casting them, too, into the abyss.

Well. I guess you have to ask yourself: if you can't bend a pencil in two hands, what use is there for one? I mean, it's not as though you can still write with it, or anything.


Now, I ask: is there not something conveniently metaphorical (almost implausibly so) about the incident recounted above? Is it not close to the realm of the literary vignette, indeed, in the pithily eloquent manner in which it encapsulates my boss's character? Akin, as was suggested to me by Bronagh, to "something out of play or a novel ... the character's attitude to the pencil becoming a metaphor for his attitude to people and life."

I may have more to write, at a later date, on the subject of implausible theatricalities manifesting themselves in reality. For this is a rich seam, my e-mining comrades. A rich seam indeed.

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