No Fence-sitting Allowed, Part 1: A Second Open Letter to the Mysterious Mr. Phicks

Hello Mr. Phicks,

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SMOKING IS NOT COOL, and this is not a picture of the mysterious Mr. Phicks smoking. I really hope the guy doesn’t smoke. Really, nobody should smoke. It’s a filthy habit that kills people and makes their breath stink. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me last Thursday morning. Shortly after we hung up, I went on a crazy shooting rampage over at the new MetLife GTO Campus in Cary, NC.

Of course, not literally, right? Goodness, I’m autistic, for crying out loud, not a murderous psychopath. As I went to great lengths to explain in my recent 6-part series Mockery Not Glockery: Why I Must Become A Lone-Wolf Terrorist, I’m merely a SO TO SPEAK lone-wolf terrorist, by which I mean an utterly harmless, but perhaps intensely frustrating (some times, and for some people, at least) Frustration Artist.

It’s a metaphor, for crying out loud. Like when I say that I got gang-raped by a bunch of my former colleagues at MetLife, along with their slimy and unscrupulous Seyfarth Shaw attorney, and three employees of the EEOC. Of course nobody literally gang raped me. In street-talk I would just say that these people “fucked me over”. When one says that “so-and-so really fucked me over” one is not suggesting that so-and-so made sweet, tender love to me. No. One is saying that “so-and-so raped me” — you know, “figuratively speaking”, whatever.

Similarly, and to be absolutely clear: I’m using the term shooting rampage here strictly as a metaphor. Absolutely no guns were involved, no blood was shed, and nobody got hurt. To put it less figuratively, I only mean that I quietly and politely walked around “shooting” lots and lots of MetLife employees with my GoPro Hero5 Black action camera.

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This is a black-and-white photograph of my GoPro Hero5 Black action camera sitting on black velvet. It’s kind of hard to see. For a better image click here. Image Credit: There’s no actual image to credit, it’s just a picture of blackness.

It was a harmless “photo-shoot” (video-shoot, really), as they say. None of the people I videographed even knew that I was doing it. I’d show you some of the footage here now, but I actually got arrested the following morning (Friday) for committing this victimless “crime” and I’m thinking I should probably speak with my public defender before I release any of the video I “shot”.

I’ve been officially charged with misdemeanor Breaking and Entering, although I broke absolutely nothing and really just entered the MetLife buildings by “tailgating”, which is when you walk in through an open door behind the person who opened it. Anybody who works there can tell you how easy it is to do. MetLife currently has a worthless “no tailgating” building-security policy that burdens its thousands of employees with the task of checking badges of anyone who tries to tailgate. During the two years that I worked there I only ever witnessed one person who actually tried to follow that policy, and he eventually stopped trying because after annoying half-a-dozen of his MetLife colleagues that he just didn’t recognize because he was new, he realized nobody else was stopping tailgaiters and wound up feeling terribly foolish.

Of course, that terribly foolish-feeling person was me!

Hey, what can I say? I’m autistic. If one knows anything useful about autism, one knows that we autistic types like our rules. I was trying to follow MetLife’s “no tailgating” rule, and the way I see it, “no tailgating” means NO TAILGATING!!!

Except with MetLife (and companies like it) “no tailgating” seems to mean “tailgating is actually just fine”.

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I don’t really like to see people as being stupid, but sometimes we do stupid things (there’s a difference). For example, MetLife’s “no tailgating” building-security policy is a stupid rule that just confuses people like me while accomplishing nothing of value. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Is there a better word for that than stupid? Is there some politically correct euphemism that isn’t dangerously misleading? One that doesn’t foolishly suggest that a “no tailgating” building-security policy is perfectly fine in some circumstances? It’s like telling people “please set the building on fire” when what you really mean is “please do not set the building on fire.”

Stupid! MetLife has at least one stupid building-security policy. If my MetLife Shooting Rampage last Thursday afternoon accomplished anything useful, at the very least it proved to the company that their “no tailgating” building-security policy is stupid — and it did so without hurting anybody. Now they will fix it. If they don’t, I’ll just come back one day and remind them again.

Now, in case you’re wondering what all of this has to do with our conversation earlier Thursday morning, it was all partly a spontaneous response to something you had said to me during our conversation, and which I found a lot more disturbing than you may realize. Please note that I said “partly a spontaneous response”, because really I’d spent several months thinking about and planning this utterly harmless little stunt. But before we spoke on Thursday morning, I still had no clear intention to go through with it yet. I hadn’t decided  in advance to do it that particular day, and I certainly had no idea I would be doing it until shortly after we hung up.

To be continued…

[Note: when Part 2 is published, I’ll post a link to it here.]

 

Agenda: A First Open Letter to the Mysterious Mr. Phicks

Hello Mr. Phicks,

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Even though it makes it seem cool, this is not intended as an endorsement of smoking. Nor is it a picture of the mysterious Mr. Phicks. Image Credit: Pixabay

Thank you for accepting to continue our conversation later this morning. I realize that now that I’ve given back your client’s laptop, this is all basically volunteer work for you, so I want to do want I can to make it worth your while. Toward that end I will sketch out here an agenda for our meeting, although I hope you will see this purely as a recommendation and feel free to modify it or even just to set it aside in favor of other discussion points that may be more important for you.

  1. For training and quality assurance purposes, I would like to record our conversation and possibly to post either the whole recording or segments of it on my personal blog at autistickish.com. I also wish to write about our conversation and to post what I write there as well. I believe our conversation presents a valuable learning opportunity, not just for the two of us, but for others as well, and I would like to make this opportunity publicly available to others. Please let me know if you have any questions, concerns or reservations about my doing this. In order to protect your anonymity (if such a thing is necessary), I have assigned you the pseudonym “Mr. Phicks” and will refer to you as such during our conversation and in my writing.
  2. I’m attaching two documents which I hope to discuss with you. The first is the EEOC mediation agreement I signed on April 24, 2017 alongside MetLife’s contracted Seyfarth Shaw attorney Frederick “Fritz” T. Smith; and the second is the Settlement Agreement that MetLife has asked me to sign last March, 2018 in exchange for $37,000.00. Please note that I have not yet signed the settlement agreement or received any money from MetLife.
  3. Please note as well that in the EEOC mediation agreement MetLife makes at least the following two promises which remain unfulfilled due to the fact that the company fired me for being autistic before they had a chance to fulfill them:
    1. That I would be assigned a new role within 1 to 3 months;
    2. That MetLife would work with my Autism specialist to determine the correct Reasonable Accommodations I needed in order to be successful at my job.
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I know Mr. Phicks is a busy man, but this is not a picture of him looking at his watch. Image Credit: Pixabay

My hope is that the above 3 items will provide us both with plenty of opportunity for an illuminating exchange, but please feel free to suggests other topics you might wish to cover.

I look forward to speaking with you.

Best,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”

 

 


Image Credit: (embedded brick statue) Pixabay.

 

 

 

 

Why I Gave Back that Laptop I Stole: Introducing, Mr. Phicks

Turns Out, Kindness Is My Kryptonite

laptop_with_other_objects_323x210Remember that laptop I stole from the most recent company that fired me for being autistic? Well, I decided to give it back.

I know, right? What happened? Did my civilly disobedient cyber-crime actually work? Did I get cold feet? Did the FBI raid my apartment? Did I succumb to torture? Am I now writing to you from a prison cell?

Uh…no, none of that happened. What happened, basically, is that some guy — let’s call him Mr. Phicks — called me up, explained that he represented my most recent employer (the owner of the laptop),  and then asked me kindly to give back the computer.

Then I pretty much just said “OK”, and gave it back to him.

For the most part, that’s what happened. I’ve left out a few details in that telling, but at the end of the day, that’s pretty much the size of it.

Now, the missing details can all be packed into that word kindly that I used to describe how Mr. Phicks asked me to give back the computer. He asked me kindly, by which I mean that he seemed genuinely concerned about me and my troubles and sincerely interested in understanding my tale of woe — including all the stuff that happened with MetLife. We actually spoke for about a half-an-hour, during which he really listened and expressed a genuine interest in helping me. He was warm, friendly, honest — i.e., he was kind to me. He was a really nice guy about it, and in the end I found it impossible to refuse his request to give back the laptop.

Turns out, Kindness has an effect on me something like Kryponite affects Superman.

And how do I know he was being sincere? Well, at first I didn’t, but I decided to take a chance and trust the guy. He assured me that if I gave back the laptop, it did not have to be the end of our conversation. He said we could certainly continue our conversation and that he’d be happy to help me explore other solutions to the problems I need to solve.

And I decided that the opportunity to talk things over with Mr. Phicks was much, much more attractive than going to jail for stealing a laptop, so I accepted his offer and returned the laptop.

Well, that was a couple of weeks ago, and now tomorrow morning we are scheduled to speak again. I have no idea what to expect from the conversation. Maybe nothing will come of it, but maybe something will.

I’m really curious to find out. 🙂


Image Credit: (olive branch) Pixabay