I’ve known some mean people over the years, people with deep evil in their souls. We’re talking about people who possibly killed people, not that I would know anything about it and certainly wouldn’t be able to testify in a court of law regarding such matters.
Such complete sociopaths that they wouldn’t think twice about stealing from their mother or brother in order to get a little money for a fix.
But this isn’t about that kind of meanness, though there's probably a direct corollary from one to the other. No, the kind of meanness I want to address tonight is the kind that all school girls are completely familiar with. Especially ones in seventh grade. Unfortunately, some schoolgirls never outgrow this sort of mischief.
In the early 1980’s I worked for a large printing firm in the mailing department. In those days everything was done on a system 38 IBM mainframe and you had programmers and you had data entry clerks, or keypunch operators as they were called. And, we had a supervisor in the data processing department known not so affectionately as “Stumpy Stevens.”
Stumpy was that chunky somewhat awkward kind of girl that clawed her way into her position in life through strict perseverance and hard work. For ladies raised on the other side of the tracks, this was an affront and a travesty.
Deirdre was the ringleader of the misanthropes who entered data and printed out Cheshire labels. And she shared an intense and decidedly pointed hatred of Stumpy Stevens. Granted, Stumpy wasn’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but she was competent, and I have it on good authority that she holds a high, well paying position with a major utility these days. But what Stumpy was likely to encounter in those times was a coffee cup full of dirt from the potted fichus tree across the hall to start her morning.
Now, I certainly don’t endorse this sort of behavior, but I have to admit a measured admiration for someone who can dream up the types of pranks these girls did. I was never that creative. But these do deserve a certain ranking in the dirty tricks hall of fame. Two come to mind that were deliciously concocted with that genius that only comes from an intimate relationship with Beelzebub. PUBLIC DISCLAIMER: Circa Bellum in no way endorses or recommends the following be done to any one at any time. This is really sucky behavior and presented for entertainment purposes only.
There was a newspaper war going on in Arkansas in those days. The Arkansas Gazette, the oldest newspaper west of the Mississippi (continuously published since 1819) was duking it out with the upstart Arkansas Democrat (circa 1874). The great thing about newspaper wars is all the free stuff. Free want ads, etc.
Somehow, and I don’t mean to defame any particular person, a classified ad was placed in the newspaper, “Widow selling husband’s lifetime gun collection.”
The kind of person that this ad is targeted at gets up at four in the morning, drinks coffee and reads the want ads, Guns section. They start calling about 4:30 or 5:00 because they know that old ladies are suckers when it comes to selling guns. And someone was nice enough to put the home and work numbers in the ad so that they could continue calling Stumpy after 8:00 when she arrived at the office.
I have to admit, I found that more than a little amusing, though I will state for the record, the statute of limitations has expired and I couldn’t testify about any of the facts anyway. But what happened next should cause the perpetrators to be worms in their next incarnation. Or at least fruit flies.
Towards the end of September or perhaps the beginning of October, a lady called Stumpy at work.
“Hi, this is Debbie Smith with Zales,” the caller stated matter-of-factly, “and I’m just calling to remind you that payment was due on the diamond earrings the 17th of last month.”
“I haven’t bought anything at Zales, much less diamond earrings,” Stumpy said with a smirk, assuming they had called the wrong number.
“Oh my God!” gasped the lady on the other end, “it says here not to call the wife. I am so sorry! Please forgive the call.”
For two months we heard all about the diamond earrings that Mr. Stumpy had bought as a Christmas present. Since he was making payments on them, they must be really nice! Probably with at least half carat stones in them. We couldn’t wait to see them.
I can only imagine what Christmas morning was like at her house.