It wasn’t all that long ago that I explored the topic of the total platonic emotional ineptitude of men in general, and the thought occurred to me again today.
But not in a bad way.
I have worked at the same place for a few years now, and for all that time – and for many years previously – there has been one unchanging presence in our little corner of the company.
A grumpy, stubborn, bad-tempered, grouchy old bastard, who could hold up production at a whim if he so wished, being as he is, a quality inspector.
In short, the sort of bloke that usually, most of us can’t stand.
Except everybody likes him.
Because some people, no matter how much they would like us to believe the gruff image they project, just can’t hide what genuinely nice people they are.
And despite the usual factory banter, lewd jokes, casual insults and bad language, I can’t think of a single person who has a bad word to say about him.
(Well, not after having gone away and done some deep breathing, and maybe some swearing anyway)
So the fact that he retired today was always going to attract some attention.
The usual joke gift presentation and speeches featuring phrases like “I’ll be glad to see the back of you, you ugly sods” was however made slightly unusual by the sheer number of retiring quality inspectors present.
You see, our previously documented penchant for dressing up in silly costumes at work reached a surreal highpoint when we decided that, what with him being so popular, and as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we’d do him the greatest honour and all become Bob.
The Stepford Bobs – Genuine article, back row, second right.
It certainly made for a mildly disturbing photo opportunity, with traditional “salute” for authenticity.
For much of the morning, we didn’t see him, because he had to visit so many other well-wishers that he’d worked with over the years, and when he got back and I had a chance to chat to him, he was obviously quite touched by all the attention.
And of course, over the last couple of days of him being at work, it has been possible to witness many examples of semi-awkward male affection.
I’m sure most of us wanted to give him a big hug and tell him how much we’re going to miss him, but had to settle for a manly handshake and telling him how lucky he is to be out of it.
Once again proving the male of the species’ innate inability to communicate meaningful feelings for each other.
Thankfully, in Bob’s case, I don’t think there was any danger of the message not getting across.
But just in case there was ever any doubt, he was given a final Guard of Honour send off.
Surprise! – End of an Era.
All we can hope is that his successor has learned from the old
He’s going to be a hard act to follow.