A Short History of Willful Failure


    Second half of 2011 I wrote numerous posts about my former employers, the Mugwumps. They were the biggest fools I ever met. It’s no stretch stating they embody the American Nightmare.

    Not an American Nightmare, the horror. So unique, theirs make the rest recoil. These people aren’t Snopeses living down in Dog Patch, but an upper middle-class clan anchored in one of the tonier Gold Coast Connecticut enclaves.

    Who didn’t expect better from them?

    On the plus side, without the Mugwumps there never would’ve been a “Rex Merritt.” He’s their creation.
    Rational ordinary employers wouldn’t have sparked anything more than the usual salary or workplace gripes. If that. Were the Mugwumps an outright criminal band they would’ve given birth to several true-crime stories.

    Mugwump shenanigans rose to a stratospheric level of disbelief. Into ugly slapstick. Back then I often asked myself, ‘Did that really happen?’ It must’ve. No imagination could fabricate events so bizarre, so beyond bad fantasy. Real people committed those misdeeds.

    “Rex” came about because Mugwump conduct activated a modern self-preservation instinct. Mine. For our caveman ancestors it was fight or flee. For we of this cell phone camera era, it’s either gape incredulously or record madness.

    Since I’m a writer and not a videographer …

    Witnessing their self-destruction, no, chaos, while twirling in it strained my objectivity. Or strengthened my subjectivity. Of course had I been outside peering in the posts would’ve lacked back story matter.

    There’s much to be said for being inside the tent peeing out, rather than outside it peeing in.

    Had the Mugwumps been psychological experiment subjects, that family couldn’t have been better lab rats. For their responses. Sapped by ease, affluence, fewer and fewer restraints, and crippled through lack of purpose, they succumbed completely to the most mundane impulses.

    A part of me hoped some national security organization had spiked the family breakfast cereal with the kind of mindbenders that transform quotidian life into living Picasso portraits. This bunch really needed their crazy to have been inspired and funded by a mysterious, if not outright sinister, group.

    Like Fox News.

    I wanted Dana Scully to appear and tell me, “They’re out there. They’re really out there.”

    Yeah. That kind of irrationality and misbehavior.

    To be fair, let me admit my admiration of how Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp, the parent foisting Fox News on an undeserving public, has built his enterprise. Not the issues themselves, which are reprehensible, but the business end.

    Murdoch came from privilege. He could’ve sat on that and considered himself successful. To the detriment of intelligence, he exercised his ambitions. Rather than finding satisfaction in remaining a big muck in Australia, he extended his grasp and now influences worldwide audiences.

    Also, Murdoch’s been sure enough in his own skin to resist a blandishment that would make most of us rightly swoon. Rupert Murdoch declined a peerage. Good or bad, there’s much to be discussed about his decision. None of which excuses his company’s odious spew.

    Now back to loons and nuts.

    Mugwumps’ misconduct remains inexplicable. Along with indefinable. Not to mention incredible. Let’s add insane, too. Through my posts I could only report, not clarify. Nor answer “why.” Just observe. Then speculate.

    Months after Mugwump the company dissolved, disintegrating a lot of jobs with it — mine first and foremost included — I reviewed what I’d written earlier. Thanks to employers discovering they can squeeze more blood out of fewer turnips, I’ve joined an involuntary legion of Americans with plenty of time on our hands.

    Rereading those dispatches, I saw immediacy had been limiting. Only later does reporting become history. Well. I certainly have extra hours now.

    So I went over the five posts directly dealing with Mugwump prevarications, as well as a peripheral pair of, oh, let’s call them sidebars. The diversions tended towards color and relief. The ridiculous stream needed mercy breaks now and then.

    After straightening out stooge-slapping usage errors, I then augmented the original texts with tidbits prior haste omitted. Remember? I was working then. Unlike today I didn’t have the luxury of lengthy contemplation. Or time to seethe.

    The seven narratives have been packaged under the rubrik Green Venom. It is a modern evocation of, well, I don’t know what really. The workplace as Octagon? I doubt few, if any, of us have been subjected to the utter disregard of recognizable conventions such as the Mugwumps displayed.

    And I do mean display!

    These are someone else’s precocious darlings whose efforts at being charming/grabbing attention/creating distraction became full-blown embarrassments. But rather than curtail them, their parents either encourage or ignore the capering.

    The Mugwumps in a nutshell.

    One more thing. The most important factor. The “kids” aren’t affection starved adolescents, but needy infantile 50-year-old losers. Like the Mugwumps.

    Please read and enjoy what Green Venom offers.