Pranking coworkers, like long hours and low wages, is part and parcel of an agency’s Creative Department.
It can be fun.
But also, cruel. And senseless.
Most of the time it’s done for the fun of it. It is not about bullying.
Victims can be the most beloved and esteemed; they can be the new as a means to break the ice; they can be the cocksure, as to bring them down to earth.
Everyone is fair game.
So was our worker, a talented yet somewhat pretencious a bit pricky art director known for agreeing when agreement was needed, observing silence when silence was required, and for getting on some people’s nerves.
Someone pointed out that every agency briefing meeting was followed by a rush to the bathroom.
People took bets: He either shits a lot or he’s a chronic masturbator: During those days someone had circulated an article saying that many guys like to rub one off to release tension.
So people started counting Recency, Frequency and Length of each visit to the Caballeros room.
And then, someone decided that it was time to follow him.
At your own risk, a voice of caution said.
The scout noted that the fellow wasn’t emptying his gut, or draining the vein, he was simply washing his hands.
He was the man we’d all heard about: Terrified of Germs.
He’d run to wash his hands.
And then, once after lunch, someone left a half-eaten sandwich on the poor man’s workstation.
From across the aisle all eyes observed him as he looked for about 10 minutes as if developing a plan of attack.
He walked around it.
Even got close and smelled it.
Then he pulled out a pair rubber gloves from a box in his bag. A surgical mask. Put on the gear, closed the wrapped, and carried keeping it away from his body all the way to the kitchen. He came back with spray and paper towels.
And proceeded to wipe clean the entire cubicle, totally unaware that he had an audience of amazed coworkers in total awe.
And off he went to wash his hands.