Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mr. Toomey

My dad is a movie consumer. I vouch for neither his taste nor his good sense when it comes to which movies to purchase and watch. If movies were food, he'd definitely be a gourmand and not a gourmet. So when my brother and I were young, we were exposed to quite a number of movies—movies that weren't necessarily classics. A disproportionate number of those movies were made-for-TV adaptations of Stephen King books (and I definitely won't vouch for his taste at all), including an interesting treat called The Langoliers.

Anyway, if you get the chance to see it, you'd be wise to go to the park and enjoy the sunshine instead. But where I grew up, it was rainy, and the parks were usually full of scary alcoholic bums and enough ganj smoke to give a herd of elk a contact high. So we stayed inside, built a fire, and turned into adults with these kinds of thoughts.

In The Langoliers, Mr. Toomey is an insane businessman with some kind of stress-induced schizophrenia, and his only pleasure comes from ripping papers into even strips. Considering the unusual amount of joy I receive from ripping things to shreds, I've feared for a long time that I would end up just like Mr. Toomey—screaming at voices in my head right up to the moment I get eaten by razor-toothed time-eating monsters.

I'd mostly forgotten about Mr. Toomey until today, when I hit an intense moment of stress that made me consider whether working for someone like my boss is good for anyone's sanity. He's not a bad guy at all, he just knows how to get the maximum possible work out of his people. That skill makes him a great boss. That skill also makes me feel like Mr. Toomey some days.

So if you see me ripping up papers instead of using the shredder or talking to nobody or sweating gallons of fluid from my forehead and temples, I may be beyond the reach of a nice talk or a massage (though I'd appreciate both), and you should probably just have me committed.

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