In my last blog post I told the true tales of some of the weird people I have worked with. Well, there's more. I still seem to be attracting them.
Like cancer-boy, for example. Not his real name, but how we now refer to the youngster who pretended to have cancer to get time off work. Classy! Let's call him Adrian (again, names have been changed so that they don't stalk me after they have been rehabilitated, paroled or released into supervised care).
Anyway, Adrian decided he was working way too hard on Facebook in his edit suite so he decided that he needed to rather Facebook at home. So he invented, wait for it... Cancer. And not just any cancer, mind you. Non-Hodgkins freakin' Lymphoma, nogal! Surely that would get the odd day off?!
Not talking about the odd day off
But we're not talking about the odd day off for a spot of chemo here, or a visit to Wigs-R-Us there; we are talking about weeks and weeks of languishing "in hospital" undergoing "tests", being subjected to revolutionary "new treatments", and "recuperating" from heartbreaking setbacks (or as I like to think of it - time at work). And all this with his family, apparently, moist-eyed, around his hospital bed.
Now I ask you - who wouldn't give time off for cancer? Okay, maybe Helen Zille or Joseph Stalin, but I am cut from kinder (more gullible) cloth it seems.
As Adrian got into the swing of things and read up more about cancer on the Internet, he would feed us more and more convincing information. But that was not his coup de grâce.
Oh no, when Adrian wanted a couple of weeks off from his exhausting office-bound Facebooking, he did not simply call in sick. He came in, wrapped up warmly, set the aircon in his edit suite to "Dante's Inferno", broke into a sweat and then staggered into my 2IC's office, red-faced, sweating and feigning delirium. She immediately called me. I took one look at the poor dying swan and insisted that he go home (and it wasn't just because I fear the CCMA, I actually cared!)
But here was the skill of this artful little deceiver - he "insisted" that he stay at work to finish a project and that he would be... "cough, cough"..."okay"... "splutter"..."I... I can't let you guys down..." ... "cough, pathetic chough, wheeze". Oscar-winning stuff.
With real concern, and tears in our eyes (literally,) we refused his magnanimous offer to soldier on as the cancer ate away at him and it was WE who insisted that he go to hospital and get well.
Faint whiff of...
I even had my PA take him straight to casualty (he actually went!) and then, we heard later, that he was admitted to a hospital - but in Pretoria for some odd reason. Hmmm...
For some reason, my 2IC and I had the faint whiff of BS in our nostrils.
We discussed it and decided that we were both horrible people for doubting Adrian's life-threatening illness, that we were cold and heartless and probably going straight to hell.
So, a few days later, to make ourselves feel better, we decided to send a hamper of chocolates and goodies to poor, withering-away Adrian... (okay, to be honest, the smell of BS had increased, and we knew it wasn't coming from our PR department... they were too busy Facebooking).
My 2IC Wilma telephoned poor, cancer-stricken Adrian and asked what hospital he was in... stunned silence.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the whole thing unravelled and Adrian's complex web of carcinogenic and pathological lies came crashing down. We fired his ass and never heard from him again.
We did hear from his creditors, though. Seems we weren't the only ones to fall for his charms.
New, frankly disgusting, low
"Despicable," I hear you mutter (and I hope you're not referring to my writing), but wait for it, here's something that takes this whole revolting tale down to a new level. When dear Adrian started running out of new symptoms and had had one too many relapses, he stooped to a new, frankly disgusting, low.
You see, what I didn't mention was that one of the reasons Adrian wanted more time off was because his wife was having a baby and Adrian wanted to spend some quality time with the family at our expense. (Adding those baby pics to your Facebook page takes time, you know!)
So when the little one was born Adrian, still "riddled with cancer" milked us for further tears and sympathy by telling us the doctor had squashed the baby's head with the forceps and that it was literally a vegetable and would need special care for life. I KID YOU NOT!!!
Perhaps now you can understand why we have so little sympathy for this virtually psychopathic little conman. It's one thing lying about cancer (and to sustain that lie for nine months despite putting ON weight and not losing a hair!) but to implicate an innocent little baby, that's just evil.
I really must go back to psychometric testing of new staff members, and a little bit of post-interview exorcism wouldn't be amiss either.