Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chronicles of a Brain Trust (Part 1)

Have you ever met someone so stupid you can't believe they made it adulthood without getting hit by a car, falling down a flight of stairs, or drowning in the bathtub?  This is the story of just such a person.  She was a short-lived coworker of mine not too long ago.

We should have known what we were getting into when she showed up to her interview with the nightclub stamp from the night before still on the back of her hand.  Her outfit was also covered in cat hair.  A young woman in her mid-twenties, the Brain Trust, as she came to be called, seemed personable enough, but it was pretty early on that I realized she was fall-down stupid.  She sat in a cubicle just outside my office, so it was easy for me to hear her phone calls and the various sniveling fits she had during her short tenure in my office.  Another coworker, who was lucky enough to be seated in the cubicle next to hers, and I got hours of entertainment from her antics.

Our office is fairly relaxed, and we don't have a dress code, per se, but the Brain Trust would often show up inappropriately attired for work.  The first sign was the day she showed up in a sequined mini-dress paired with a long sweater-coat and Ugg boots.  I really thought, had she sneezed, we might've seen her moneymaker.  But this was the least of her offenses.  Take for instance the time we had an all-staff interview.  The conference room was exceedingly warm that day.  Brain Trust had clearly dressed for the occasion in yoga pants, sneakers, a t-shirt, and a fleece.  As luck would have it, I got the lucky spot next to her during this meeting (that's the last time I show up a minute late for anything).  The interview concluded and I sat there fanning myself with my note pad.  BT leaned over to me and said, "It's so hot in here," to which I agreed.  She went on, "and I can't take my fleece off because I forgot to wear a bra today."  Cue jaw drop.   What does one say to a comment like that?  First of all, why did she feel the need to share that information with me?  Secondly, how on earth do you forget a bra?  I'd like to take a moment to poll my fellow bra-wearers out there: has there ever been a day, from the time you were, say, 13, when you forgot to put on a bra?  You simply don't forget to put on a bra.  Not possible. 

Another time there was a several-day-long computer training class that some of us had to take at a remote office in Bethesday.  Brain Trust, as one of the main administrative assistants, had a particular reason to attend the training.  Computer training is boring.  Let's make no bones about that.  And three days of it straight can be downright excruciating.  But if it's an aspect of your work that you need in order to succeed at your job, you suck it up, pay attention, and get the most out of it that you can.  Then you go home and drink heavily until the next day. Unless you are Brain Trust.  In that case, you minimize the training window, open up your browser, and start talking to your sleezy boyfriend on G-Chat.  This is how she spent three days.  On the fourth day, after getting caught, she just minimized the window and sat there staring at the screen.  I may have seen drool spilling down her chin.

Brain Trust regularly ended up crying at her desk.  The littlest thing could set her off.  One day she was asked to call for a refill prescription for her boss.  When the pharmacy informed her that there were no longer any refills left, BT lost it.  She dissolved into hysteria, sobbing into the phone that she had to have it.  That the world might end if she couldn't get the scrip filled.  My coworker and I just looked at each other and shook our heads.  We were getting used to her crying jags.  There had been another time when her mother, who looked like a Real Housewife of Tampa (I know this because once she came to visit and BT brought her to the office), was scheduled to go on a blind date with someone who may or may not have been a registered sex offender.  I learned know this because she was constantly talking with her mother on the phone about her mother's dates.  One conversation (which I only heard one side of) went something like this, "So, did you get the restraining order?" [pause--insert imagined Mama-Drama here] "Well, he was stalking you." [pause--more Mama-Drama] "But, that's not fair. He's dangerous. He should be in jail." [pause--more Mama-Drama] And then she began to snivel and cry.  Her words became unitelligible.  

Another day she was trying to print a spreadsheet from Excel.  Since she neglected to set the print area, her printer continued to spit out plain sheets of paper, much to her confusion and chagrin.  Coworker and I could hear her huffing and puffing, lost in her own befuddlement.  My coworker, who is a much nicer person than I, finally took pity on her (after about the 35th muttering of "what the hell!?"), and went to see what was wrong.  "This spreadsheet just keeps printing out blank pages, so I keep taking the paper out and putting it back in the printer."  Coworker stopped the print job and got her set up to print properly.  He then walked back to his desk, shaking his head.  There was a lot of head-shaking that went on during her short tenure . . . [To Be Continued . . .]


  1. My god. Yes, I do wonder how people like this make it to adulthood. But what's even more disconcerting is the fact that they manage to keep jobs when there are thousands of people out there who could manage like functioning adults on their own. I could tell some stories about my old place of work. And for the record, there was one woman who NEVER wore a bra. I mean never.

  2. Stories like this are why there is a crop of idiot 20-something white chicks carelessly strolling the streets of DC in mini-skirts & drunken stupors (see Adams Morgan, Georgetown & now even U St) on a regular basis w/ nary a care-- because they know they will STILL be able to get a job. Had I ever shown up to an interview w/ a club stamp and an outfit full of cat hair, I wouldn't have made it past the reception area.