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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


The legend of Belatz may be reaching its conclusion. The gossip-monger in me should be sorry since he's been such an inspiration, but the survivor in me likes oxygen and sunlight too much to regret the impending closure of the Belatz file.

To recap, Belatz was hired here last spring. After some time with us, this self-professed "expert" on "computer usability" explained that when he graduated from one of the Cal State schools, the CIA tried to recruit him. Outraged when their solicitation was declined, the CIA began a campaign of intimidation and disinformation regarding Belatz's mental competence and personal history. They altered his records to include time spent at a mental institution where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and forced to take mind-altering drugs. Ultimately released, Belatz remains to this day surveilled and tormented by the United States government. Once in an open field in Bulgaria, Belatz looked up into the sky and saw the planes, the planes that were photographing him from 20,000 feet.

This is Belatz's story and he's sticking to it.

Shortly after this tale made the rounds here at work, my associate co-collegue Kevin saw him smoking pot in his car on the way to work on the 101 Freeway. His angry denial unwittingly prompted us to dub him "Most Troubling Co-worker." Since then his very special behavior has included such nuggets as:

• Walking into the office of the one of our Senior Vice Presidents and accusing him of spreading rumors about Belatz's drug use. [Note: The hapless and confused SVP had never even seen him before.]

• Commenting to another SVP on the elevator, "Boy, you're really fat. Look at your stomach, how far out it sticks. I could help you to lose all that fat."

• Walking around the office with a gigantic jar of dill pickles, the kind you see on the deli counter at the grocery store, offering them to everyone while dipping his entire hand into the pickle juice to extract one briny cuke after another. Hapless and confused co-workers were disgusted and creeped out when Belatz raised the mammoth jar to his lips and took a healthy slug of salty, acidic slurry. He kept the jar in the kitchen fridge for weeks.

• Telling the Chief Technology Officer (who has a Ph.D. in Computer Science) that should he have any questions for Belatz, that he has an "open door policy." In actuality, Belatz has a no door policy since he works in a three-walled cubicle like the rest of us.

• Wearing shorts to work. Not baggy cargo shorts, but the short shorts like tennis players and basketball players used to wear back in the seventies. He was asked to go home and change.

• Walking into the office of the owner/president/founder/CEO of the company (while he was in a meeting no less), handing him a piece of paper with a random series of lines drawn on it, telling the president that this was something he should "really take a look at," and then walking out. Hapless and confused, the president followed up with a co-worker of Belatz's but never received any explanation as to the drawing's significance.

• Leaving a tiny post-it note on the monitor of a co-worker (not his boss, mind you) declaring that he'd be "taking a few days off." He returned a week later.

• Accusing several people of "looking at him funny."

Actually, you can't really blame him for that last one. It's hard to fight the temptation to look a member of the undead when one is looking at you. Did I mention that he's undead? I'm sure I did.

These bizarre behaviors, riotously inappropriate though they may be, pale in comparison to his actions yesterday. Yesterday he outdid himself. Here's the story as it was told to me.

Belatz, obviously agitated and upset which is not uncommon, came in and sat down at his desk which is situated against one of the walls along with several others separated only by short half walls about four feet high. These walls are favored because they allow co-workers to be hear each other easily. They are also unfortunate for the same reason. Almost immediately, he began loudly accusing the new Chief Financial Officer, who fortunately was on the other side of the building, of following him into the bathroom and masterbating while Belatz was taking a pee.

Let's all take a moment, here and think about that.

Belatz's immediate co-workers quickly filed into their boss' office and unanimously explained that they could no longer tolerate this bizarre behavior. Belatz was sent home for the day. That's a good thing but today I fear that the day of reckoning may be upon us. Will he return? If so, what will he intend? See, my desk is one of the ones nearest the lobby door. I sit with my back to that door.


At 10/24/2005 1:09 PM, DasGort said...

yet again, you have me laughing out loud. though I do feel guilty for laughing. I hope he doesn't get you.


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