Cap'n Arbyte's



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Evil Teasing

I am evil. I am also patient. And patient evil is the best kind.

My team at work is one of several across different organizations that have approximately the same charter, working on different projects. One of these sister teams was only recently formed, and my team did the training, so we've maintained very strong ties.

That team has an intern. Her name is Kim. They tease her a lot. It's all in good fun — she's tremendously talented and I've heard, and have, nothing but praise for her. We tease lovingly. And this time it was my turn.

And I'm evil, remember? I don't do anything halfway.

One of the things she gets a lot of teasing over is how many "dates" she has. Going to movies or lunches or gatherings of any sort. They're not "real" dates but that doesn't matter for teasing purposes.

I took her to see Something's Afoot at a community theatre in September. A few days later, I discovered lipstick in my car. This was a bit of a shock to me — as a single man I don't find feminine articles lying about very often — but after a little thought I knew it must have been hers.

"Wow," I thought, "that's a lot of rope. I can do almost anything with this." Of course I'm also honest to a fault, so I felt responsible to return it to her. But there's nothing wrong with being evil in the performance of a good deed. This was a teasing opportunity I could not pass up.

There are two other things you need to know. Kim used to play piano, and briefly thought about taking up practicing again (which I mentioned very obliquely a while ago.) She also just purchased a new laptop computer. The relevance of these things will become clear. I love ambiguous statements with multiple interpretations, so I couldn't resist weaving all this together.

I resolved to return Kim's lipstick to its rightful owner. And what better way to do it than to interrupt her team meeting and lay on the dating innuendo as thickly as I am able?

I started by giving her a greeting card encouraging her not to give up on the piano idea, because that was going to be one of my themes and I needed to keep it fresh in her mind. I planned to interrupt her team meeting the very next day. Unfortunately, I learned that some of her teammates — who would particularly enjoy the public teasing — were not going to be present that day. It was a difficult decision to postpone, because it meant waiting several weeks until I knew all the right people would be present at the same time.

Today I finally implemented my plan. I knocked on the door during their team meeting, went in, and said:

Hi everyone, I hope this isn't a bad time, this'll just take a minute. Kim, I finally found your lipstick, and thought you'd like to have it back. <set it on the table by her>

Silence. Nobody knows what to make of this.

I had a really, really good time.

Sudden laughter. Kim is much more embarrassed than I expected, and turns away.

We should get together again soon to make some more beautiful music together. I'd also like to play with your lap top sometime, okay? <wink>

And then I leave. Kim is too embarrassed to say anything. The tools half of the room is still laughing, the debug half of the room doesn't know what just happened. (Kim is in tools — everyone in tools gets the joke, but the others don't know this fine tradition.)

A job well done. I walk away with a huge evil smirk on my face. It was worth the extra weeks of waiting.

I want to shout out a big "thank you" to everyone who helped me do this; you know who you are. But what would really be praiseworthy is if you somehow keep Kim from retaliating. (That's reverse psychology for "bring it on.")

Lest you think I'm mean, you should know I sent an e-mail apology in advance, though late enough that I knew she wouldn't read it until afterward. It just said that I was sorry and evil, with no details.

Tiny Island