Ask Pajiba (Almost) Anything: Crap Co-Workers, Life Essentials, And Irrational Hatred
Gather round, friends! It’s time for another weekly helping of advice, served lukewarm by a bunch of people who can’t agree on what a sandwich is (seriously, we just fought about it on Friday). This week the Overlords tackled a question that divided us, a question that united us, and a question that basically described us. Confused? You won’t be, after this episode of Ask Pajiba (Almost) Anything!
Yeah that’s right, I referenced a 40-year-old sitcom in the intro because I’m current AF. What? WHAT?
(Remember: you can email us at [email protected] and we just might answer you in a future installment! Just know that even if you don’t see your question addressed in a column, it doesn’t mean we didn’t read it and/or discuss it. We read all your emails. Even the weird ones soliciting business from my boss that I definitely don’t forward along…)
Any-whoodle, let’s get advisin’, shall we? This inquiry is getting top billing today because it’s a great social conundrum, and also because the person who sent it proclaimed their Chris Evans allegiance. It’s like they just get me, ya know?
Greetings, almighty Overlords!
I don’t know if this falls under silly or serious, so take it as you wish. My husband is currently working a shitty job with a Commute From Hell (aka min 45 minutes one way, usually 1.5h). Normally, he uses this time to decompress by, in the morning, calling me up to wake me slowly with a mostly boring recounting of what his schedule will be for the day (this is actually a really nice, gentle way to wake up). On his drive home, he calls his parents (they’re the best and he is a MUCH better son than I am daughter).
Anyway. He has this Fucking Guy at work that literally everyone hates. Aggressive dude with low self esteem that he makes everyone else’s problem sort of dude. Gets angry when you ask him if he’s ever going to put a door on his car (answer: no), or get his oil changed (answer: no). Well, since Husband unfortunately has charisma flowing out of his goddamn ass, this dude, like literally everyone else, has attached himself to him.
And then he (surprise!) destroyed his car. So Husband, being the magnanimous person that he is, offered the guy a ride that day till he got a new ride. That was 2 fucking months ago! Two months without my alarm, without him getting a chance to debrief with his folks, and he’s too damn fucking nice to tell this Fucking Guy to shove it up his own ass (something about professional courtesy and it being a small profession where everyone knows everyone). This guy is clearly now just relying on Husband for transportation (which stresses the shit out of Husband because when you’re in a car with a continuously, angrily anxious person for 2 hours a day instead of talking to people you like or listening to music has that effect). He has even said that he apparently can’t afford a new car right now so he’s not sure how long this arrangement that Husband did not actually agree to will last (note that he’s making near 100k and has no dependants).
So, Overlords, is the only solution not to murder him and hide the body? How does Husband get this Fucking Guy to leave him the fuck alone without creating bad blood?
Sleep Deprived Spouse
First Slack response, from TK: “Ugh, that’ll teach you: Never be nice, people. No good can come of it.” He’s right! (but, like, don’t tell him I said that)
This was actually a very interesting question, one that divided the Overlords into two neat groups: the ones who know how to establish firm boundaries, and the ones who will bend over backwards to avoid social awkwardness. And before you ask — yes, those impulses are absolutely at odds. Let me explain.
My first reaction was to recommend breaking the cycle somehow. Take a vacation, or lie about the car being in the shop, or say you and your husband have couples counseling right after work — anything to get out of giving this asshole a ride for a week or so. Presumably he’d need to find a new ride to work. And then… just don’t check back in with him about it. Avoid him. Make excuses. See what he does. In an ideal world, dude has found someone else to take advantage of - or barring that, he takes it personally and yells at your husband at work, giving hubby an excuse to report him to HR (or at least be offended and say he won’t be talked to that way, allowing him a way to get out of future rides while making the asshole freeloader the bad guy).
And several Overlords went along that vein with me, coming up with bigger and better ruses to get out of this situation. Start playing self-help audiobooks in the car, or leave food to spoil under the seats, or remove the passenger seat entirely — anything to make this free ride an endurance test. Hell, fake a DUI! Can’t drive if you’ve lost your license, right? Or get a motorcycle! Take the bus! Quit the job! Fake an emotional breakdown behind the wheel, causing you to drive erratically!
And then those OTHER Overlords chimed in, with their reasonable solutions and “just act like a fucking adult” attitudes. Have your husband set firm boundaries. Maybe he tells the co-worker that he feels taken advantage of (ick!) or maybe he just picks a date after which he will no longer be able to provide free rides. Don’t justify, don’t argue — just state it with a smile (who argues against friendliness? MONSTERS, THAT’S WHO). It’s not rude to put your foot down like that, it’s informational.”Glad I could help you, but just wanted to let you know that after next week I’m not going to be able to give you a ride to work anymore.” Seems easy, right? But since this is a co-worker, and since the dude sounds fucking AWFUL, and since your husband is literally trapped in a moving vehicle with him for hours on end, your husband probably WILL need to offer up a reason. So have him blame you. “Hey sorry, can’t give you a ride anymore — I have to do [insert something] for my wife after work, for the rest of forever.” The thing about marriage is that it trumps everything else. It’s the perfect smokescreen. There is no wheedling when the wife-hammer comes down — because even if your husband had a great relationship with this guy, YOU ARE STILL MORE IMPORTANT. And what goes on between partners isn’t the business of anyone else anyway. Just make sure you, as the living excuse, are prepared to deal with this asshole should he corner you about it at a work party or something.
And if he does approach you like that, have your husband report it to HR. Getting this asshole fired ALSO gets your husband out of chauffeur duty. And if none of this works? Yeah, fuck it, go with the third option — MURDER.
(To be clear, though: if the choice is between having one honest, direct, and potentially uncomfortable confrontation or coming up with a never-ending stream of passive aggressive plots and outright lies, I will avoid confrontation EVERY FUCKING TIME. Which sucks, because I’m also a terrible liar.)
Next up: the question that proved the Overlords have their priorities straight.
My wife and I just got married, and also moved into a new house. We’re a little flush with cash from wedding presents after all the dust has settled, but not so flush as to be able to make more than one insanely expensive purchase.
We need a new couch, as the old one has not held up nearly as well as we had hoped. Sure, it holds people, but it’s probably falling apart faster rather than slower. We would also like to get a dog, and we can’t rescue because my wife’s whole family is allergic and I don’t like the idea that they will never be able to come to our home. In our city, putting our name down with a breeder for hypoallergenic dogs costs about as much as couch. Finally, we want a new bed. The old one is fine, but it’s small (a full, that I’ve had since 2012, and is definitely older than that). It’s been on my wife’s kill-list since we moved in together a year ago, and we should finally get a real bed frame and a mattress that won’t require the constant intervention of a pad to make it comfortable.
We can probably only afford one of the three, right now. The other two might come over time, but it will be at least 6-10 months before another large purchase of this scale. So, what comes first: New couch, new dog, new bed?
Trying to Prioritize
What comes first, you ask? The Overlords all agree: BED. Get a new fucking bed! Why are you even asking us this? How did you get married AND get a house, all while sleeping on a busted-ass, used, full-size mattress? Your wife wants the bed, and besides — a good night’s sleep is the gift that keeps on giving.
Ok, let’s unpack this a little more, so you’ll see why we’re extra super duper right on this. Dogs and couches are things you can get for free (perhaps, in terms of furniture, it’s not advisable, but still — YOU CAN). However, you almost never want to get some random free bed. So it’s a good thing you don’t have to! There is a pretty fascinating history around mattress retail markups (which we covered here), but the salient point here is that it’s not hard to find a mattress on sale. Whether you’re walking into Sleepy’s during a President’s Day 50% Off Sale or using a podcast discount code on a Casper mattress, you can find something to fit your budget. One Overlord pointed to the steep discounts some retailers offer on on mattresses returned during the first 120 days (and which are bug-free).
You can sometimes find financing through retailers, or you could sign up for a credit card with 0% APR during the first year or so. This might allow you to afford a bed AND a couch, if you know you can pay it all off before the interest rate kicks in. Seriously — do not do this unless you know you can beat the deadline, because the interest will be a killer. But it’s a handy option for big purchases if you’re responsible, and it’ll improve your credit rating to boot!
If you’ve researched hypoallergenic dog breeds, you can always reach out to local shelters and ask to be notified if any dogs that fit those particular breeds come in. It’s not a sure bet, as often the shelter doesn’t know for sure what breed the dog is, but it might be a place to start while you wait until you can afford the breeder. You never know, you might luck out. And if you’re serious about getting a dog, you’ll want to hold off on getting a new couch anyway — just in case you end up with a chewer or something. But you’ll be real glad that you already got that fancy bed:
We think the couch is a low priority, mostly because people can sit on almost anything. You can find a decent sofa at a yard sale if you try, or just drive around a fancy college campus around graduation! The rich kids are in such a hurry to get out of their dorms that they leave behind a LOT of good shit because, duh, why bother moving it when mommy and daddy are buying them a fully furnished new apartment anyway? I’M NOT BITTER YOU’RE BITTER!
I’m also a big fan of the cheap couch purchase — the affordable, short-lived thing that tides you over until you can invest in the pricey one that will last forever. It’s wasteful, but c’mon — we can’t all afford leather chesterfields on the first go. And if you wanna be REALLY cost effective: why not a sofa bed or futon? TWO BIRDS ONE STONE, BABY!
And finally, a reader wrote in with a question after our cold, dark hearts:
Is there a word for when you hate something stupid (say, the Minions from Despicable Me, ugh) and you know it’s stupid to hate the minions for real, but you hate the minions anyway, and it’s with a burning sun level of hate, like with all of your deep dark heart, but you also know that it’s stupid to put real energy into hating the minions so the hate manifests as a rageful GHUHAAA every time someone else mentions the minions and if someone likes the minions, it is definitely a deal breaker in any sort of relationship, and when someone asks you why you hate the minions so much your brain can’t even come up with a reason why anyone would even like the minions so you just hate them and they look at you like you’ve lost your mind?
Just asking for a friend.
Dear Just Asking,
You’ve come to the right place. We totally get your hate. In fact, you feel about Minions the way I feel about Daniel Day-Lewis. And if you had asked what the word was for BLOGGING about that feeling of intense, stupid hatred, we’d have told you it was “Pajiba.” But since you’re literally just asking for the best word (or phrase, we’re gonna expand this question a bit) for that hatred on its own, it got our team brainstorming.
And this is what we came up with.
“First World Problems”
“Unattractive” (or “Attractive” — this is a subjective term)
Genevieve looked up some expressive German words for you, and found:
Fuchsteufelswild, which is “fox-devil wild” or, you know, “ragey”
Backpfeifengesicht, which means basically a face that’s begging to be slapped
But the winner, hands down, is Dustin — WHO FOUND THE MINION TRANSLATION!
Turns out “I hate” in Minionese is “Tatata bala.” So when you want to express how much you loath those little yellow fiends, why not do so in their own language?
But remember, the Despicable Me minions aren’t the ONLY minions out there. The Monarch has his henchmen, who are, let’s face it, basically minions:
Or there’s Professor Chaos, whose minions are hamsters wrapped in tinfoil:
You, ah, don’t wanna see what he does with his minions in the new South Park video game…
Point is, don’t hate the minion. Hate the game.