Washington • We wish our departing colleague well. He worked very hard. And we should say, in his defense, he never stored any human corpses in the office refrigerator.
That he had a brown paper bag with a human head in it at home is, indeed, icky, but he never brought that bag to the office. All the brown bags he brought to the office contained office-appropriate substances.
They say he made leggings from a human corpse, but all I can say is, he never wore them at work. He just wore regular pants. He never dissolved his supervisor in a vat of lye. In fact, his supervisor only has good things to say about him.
When we heard what he had been accused of for definitely (definitely!) the first time, we were, of course, appalled and we express our deepest condolences to the families of all those as-yet-unidentified corpses. These are not activities we would ever approve of around the workplace, or I guess outside the workplace, but definitely not around the workplace. If he’d done them in the office, we would have spoken up right away and we would not have minced our words, as we are sorry to hear he minced several human beings.
I didn’t see it happen. I am not saying it didn’t (he is, though; you will have to take it up with him). From my perspective, he was a friendly, wonderful, smart man who was always willing to lend you a paper clip that for the most part did not look like it had been whittled from a jawbone. He once seemed a little upset when we ran out of toner but, for the most part, he was a charming colleague. If he sent threatening letters with human fingers in them, I guarantee he never used office stationery for this purpose.
Anyway, it’s a tough time for him. People trying to ruin his career, people ruining his honor, people coming to his house and making rude remarks about those flowerpots made from human skulls that line his windowsill. But I think he’ll still manage to get ahead, although not in the sense that he previously got a head. He always struck us as bright and promising, which, I am sorry to hear, is not how he struck those seven tourists.
We didn’t think it was a little weird that he was no longer allowed to cross state lines, and that no one knew the whereabouts of his last three landlords, or that one grizzled police officer had been following him for years in order to get justice for a grieving father. These things clearly didn’t impact his ability to do the thing he did at the office, which was naturally very important, and is not something we could have had anyone else do, I am sure.
On the rare occasions when we heard something at work that might have been a saw cutting through bone, it was kept to a low hum, and we all raised our voices to agree that these mild inconveniences were worth having him as a colleague, and that it probably was not a bone saw, and that if it were we knew he would not use it without good reason. That his seat-cover was made of a leathery substance with a strong odor struck us only as a harmless peculiarity. When we saw a pickled femur in the office wastebasket, he was the last person we thought of.
Certainly it was not that we did not think it mattered. I think Dave from accounting once asked him, “Hey, you’re not connected to that string of killings that crossed several states and spanned decades?” But he said “no” in his calm, reassuring voice that usually was telling us great and only slightly sexist jokes, and that was good enough for me. I’d think it would be good enough for anyone.
He worked very hard. He did a very good job. We wish him well. We hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him. We absolutely wish him well.
Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of “A Field Guide to Awkward Silences.” Follow her on Twitter, @petridishes.