Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Social Dilemma

Let's just say you're a member of a Condo Board. The previous manager didn't do any work, he may even have stolen from  you (I'm still looking). His negligence cost the association many thousands of dollars in uncollected payments. His lying about his qualifications and then giving (bad) advice led your board to approve a half-assed plan that left 1/3 of the building without hot showers. You are now spending tens of thousands of dollars to fix this. You suspect, but cannot prove, kickbacks from the previous contractors.

He talked bad about each Board Member behind their backs, de-trained the staff, left without notice after writing himself a check for unused vacation (which is against our by-laws). It was not enough to be actionable.

Now he's back in town. And isn't he friendly? You see him all the time!!

What do you do?

So, the kick ass. That's my first choice.
I think verbal abuse is my second choice, but it's not natural to me. Much.
The cut direct--you know, where you refuse to acknowledge their presence--is my next choice.
So far he has been getting stiff greetings to his most friendly overtures. I am sure this is very funny, and I come off as very gauche.
However, am I supposed to pretend he's not a lying snake in the grass?

My etiquette is at war with my principles. Please advise.

photo from spreadshirt.com


Carolina Linthead said...

Dear Ann T.,
I wish I knew what to say, aside from you had me at the sight of the can of whoopass! I am in a vaguely similar situation regarding my university president. He has done spiteful, devastating things to friends of mine, and I cannot believe he gives a rat's ass about the future of our university. Still, I am his subordinate, I need this job, so I have to watch myself. In your case, however, I'm not sure you have to be polite, etiquette be hanged.

There may even come a time when you even need to confront him with the reality of how much harm he has caused. As a whole, our faculty did that last spring. To say it wasn't pleasant and didn't exactly go as planned would be like saying the Titanic didn't have a smooth maiden voyage! Still, we put our cards on the table. He knows where we, as a group, stand. Unfortunately, we fell short of winning the support of enough trustees to force a change in leadership, so we are stuck with the guy and paying a price for our actions. This is life, is it not? Things get messy, resolution is not easy.

The major question I would pose is this: do you need to be reconciled with this person? If yes, then you must find a path toward that end, even if you have to do most all of the work. If no, then I vote for confrontation, so that he knows clearly the ways in which he hurt any number of people, including you. Don't know if that helps...so easy to say what could be done...so hard to take this kind of action. Me? I would hide from him :-)

Bob G. said...

It all depends on how YOU define "kick-ass", doesn't it?

I would go for the "jugular" with the best weapon you have at your disposal:

(with me) a LITTLE sarcasm goes a LONNNNNGGG way...LOL.
ANd I know a few $5 words to boot.

You can prove he did wrong...time to whip out the BIG BRUSH and paint his ass into the corner of YOUR choosing.

Then..watch him squirm.

At least he could never say to didn't properly "confront" him with important (and somewhat dubious) issues that have affected a lot more people.

Good Luck
(and keep the Zombie-Ray locked & loaded)

Yellow said...

Hum. I am not sure what Miss. Manners would say. I would say a can of kick ass sounds just fun! However, what is done is done. I often times find myself feeling sorry for people like that.

The Bug said...

I'm not any help here. I would be SO uncomfortable! I can rant & rave with the best of them, but rarely do I have the guts to do it to the object of the rant. Good luck!

Momma Fargo said...

I'm with Bob G.! I think your intellect is the best weapon!

Ann T. said...

Dear C.L.,
I am not sure a confrontation is in the Condo Board's best interest. And unfortunately, hiding isn't working either!! I would!!

I sympathize about the university Prez. I don't find in life that letting people know they're on the wrong track does a lot of good, LOL. It won't with this guy! He's a snake!

Thanks for the sympathy and advice,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
Oh, okay! Yes, I think I could do some sarcasm. Then maybe he would know that I'm not interested in the friendly overtures.

I love this. I can make this work.

Thank You!
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Yellow,
Oh, I could feel sorry for this low-life white-bellied, slithering snake. After all, the range of his abilities is so one-sided.

But since he is free to slide through other lawns unimpeded, he's still dangerous. And we are still cleaning up his big freakin' mess!

Not to mention our own, right!

Thanks for this. Sometimes I forget that low-life worms are human too!

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
Ingrained manners are so darn useful--except when they aren't!! This is why I am dithering. However, I may be able to work out an approach.

I learn so much from discussion, especially the great comments I get! Just now, I think maybe I can use a little Bob action.

Whoop Ass: The Bob G. Edition.

Thanks for the sympathy, I DO find it hard sometimes. Especially with these unintended, random but frequent occurrences. ICK.

Ann T.

Gia's Spot said...

While you may not have enough on him to criminally charge him, I would go the Civil route for sure! Small claims him to death, it would ruin his credit rating, if he has one, and would be published in the papers. That way at night you could snicker behind your hands as he passes by the alley way on his way to the dumpster for his things!! SHOW NO MERCY!! lol well a little is ok....

Ann T. said...

Dear Momma Fargo,
Yes, I think Bob's got the key! And just to set it in stone, here you are. If I make it painful for him, then he won't seek out that mythical friendship, huh?

Intellect. It's good, but by gosh I do appreciate the chance to get advice around here.

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Gia,
ROFL! The death by one hundred legal-sized paper cuts!!

just get me a ream now, I'll do it myself!

Mercy? Naw!!

Thanks for commenting!
Ann T.

Unknown said...

Intellect is an awesome weapon. Yours is bar none some of the best I've seen.

Go get 'im!!!


Anonymous said...

I'm with Gia, going the civil route.

Whatever you decide, good luck to you. Hope it works out for the best.

Ann T. said...

Dear peedee,
Thank you, sister! I <3 you back! And I guess that's another vote for me figuring out the elegant approach of whooping ass.

Dear clady,
Thank you for the good wishes! I was surprised by him every time I see him, and that included yesterday morning. I'm so tired of looking dumb.

But now I have all this good advice, so I think I will do better.

Ann T.

Carolina Linthead said...

Ann T,

Consider The Simpsons. The episode "Whacking Day," which is about an annual festival in the mythical Springfield in which snakes are whacked (it started back in 1924 as a day to whack the Irish), seems relevant. In that episode, little Lisa Simpson expresses her concern over the welfare of the snakes to the Reverend Lovejoy, who replies with a "quote" from the Bible: "And the Lord spoke, saying, Whack ye all the snaked that slither upon the ground, and thy town shall be a beacon to others." That pretty much sums up this post, not to mention the one on corrupt mayors, lol!

Ann T. said...

Dear C.L.,
Oh, ROFL!! Smiting is my favorite sport!

What a great follow-up,
Ann T.

meleah rebeccah said...

Im a big fan of completely ignoring a person like that. I would definitely go with the refuse to acknowledge their presence. I can act as if someone doesn't exist at all. Do not engage them in any way! No talking - in fact - don't even make eye contact with them!

The Observer said...

Ann T:
A little late to this party.

I love that expression, "Can of Whoop Ass" I think I heard it first from Dr. Phil and I was LOLing.

How about a follow up? How are things going?

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I didn't know that's where Whoop Ass first gained cultural currency. I read it in a Nora Roberts novel when the heroine confronted an adulterous lying skunk and a brawl ensued at a country club. It was great! Of course the heroine stayed sublimely above the violence. :-)

Maybe preparation really works--because I haven't seen him since. Of course I'm sure I will run into his lying thieving ass someday soon, in which case the whoop ass, the sublimely above will apply. But if there's a brawl, I won't mind too much!!

Seriously, I think I'm just going to tell him--after all this good advice--that I'm entertained by his nerve. In short, tell him off laughingly. Then hopefully he'll skedaddle whenever I am near.

With luck,
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear meleah,
Yes, the cut direct. I think I can do that.
Thanks for the advice!
Ann T.