How important is it?

Anonymity is an important principle of the Al-Anon program.  However, Al-Anon has made such a positive impact in my life I share my “membership” with almost everyone.  All my friends and my family know I attend Al-Anon.  The exception is that I do not share it at work.  At work, I try to hide my crazy as much as possible.

Growing up my Dad could not keep a job in part because of the disease of alcoholism and in part due to mental health issues.  And living with a single Mom there were always job and money issues there as well.  I’m always afraid that if I show my crazy at work I will no longer have a job and the saga will continue.

However, I must say I was tickled pink to see my bosses crazy this week.
Na Na na BOO Boo …. I’m not the only crazy one.
Not that I wish crazy on anyone, I just don’t want to be alone in my crazy.

My boss is usually the most even keeled person I have ever met.  He seems to lose his cool about once a year.  Lately though his agitation level has been elevated and has stuck around for a while.  I have never seen him cranky for more than a day and it has going on a few weeks now.

Well the other day, he flipped a gourd over bread.  Yes, completely lost it over a loaf of bread.

See I work for a very small company and as a perk my boss provides lunch.  Nothing fancy, but items like PB&J or ham and turkey on … you guessed it … bread.

There is a person who makes out the grocery list each week and a different person who goes to the grocery store to buy said bread.  The list maker reports to my boss and the shopper reports to the list maker.

Here comes the problem.  The person who makes out the list likes your everyday brands of bread, the cheaper the better.  But my boss likes bakery bread.   The person who does the shopping interprets bakery bread to mean, not brand name and comes back with store brand bread which he happened to find near the bakery.

The store brand bread is already half stale the minute he walks in the door with it so no one eats it.  Eventually, it turns green and the list maker throws it away.  This lasts for a few weeks, in an effort to make the boss happy by having “bakery bread” on hand, until the list maker gets sick of throwing away food and demands the shopper go back to buying the everyday brands of bread.

Now instead of my boss putting ‘my employees love cheap bread’ on his gratitude list he gets angry that the one or two times a year he actually eats lunch at the office there isn’t any bakery bread.  Yes, that’s right – he doesn’t even eat there.  So about every six to twelve months there is an argument amongst the three men over bread.  And each one argues the exact same points every time the topic comes up.

  • List Maker: “Bakery bread is more expensive and no one eats it”
    (they don’t eat it because it not truly bakery bread but I digress)
  • Boss: “I don’t care.  I pay for the bread.  Buy bakery bread.”
  • List Shopper: “I buy the bread he tells me I have to buy.”
  • Boss: “I don’t care.  I pay for the bread.  Buy bakery bread.”

In Al-Anon, I learned there can be more than one right and this is the perfect example.
Did I mention this is three grown men arguing over a loaf of bread?

I can see plain as day that what my boss is really asking for is artisan or gourmet bread.  This translates to …. buy me the kind of bread my wife buys.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking why don’t I just explain to the list maker and shopper what “bakery bread” means.  The answer is because I am working my program; they did not ask me to solve their problem and I am minding my own business.  No one is mad at me over bread and I would like to keep it that way.

The list maker did not grow up in an era of Great Harvest, Panera and Atlanta Bread Companies and the like and doesn’t have a clue that store brand and bakery bread are not the same thing.  The shopper grew up in a family of 10 kids on a tight budget and he has no clue the boss truly means bakery bread.  The boss only eats in the office once or twice a year; he doesn’t see that store brand is being mistaken for bakery.  So it’s a circle.  No one understands what the other is upset about.  And so they argue over bread.

I’m almost getting to the crazy part.  Oh, you though arguing over bread was crazy?
Oh no.  We haven’t seen crazy yet.

My boss usually has a very good sense of humor.  The company is too small for memos, but I have seen fake memos from my boss.  I can’t think of an actual example right now, but it’s usually a paragraph about anyone who does XYZ will be forced to watch YouTube videos of crying babies.  Or something completely made up.

But not this time, this time there was a full page memo.  Due to his already high agitation level, if it was supposed to be funny, the humor was completely lost.  It had a lot of paragraphs that included italics and several bold sentences.  And it explained in full detail his frustration over bread.  Then it was placed in the break room for everyone to read.

The memo included ….”Anyone who requisitions cheap bread or anyone who buys cheap bread with company funds shall be considered insubordinate and the money will be deducted from your paycheck.”

Ah, this kind of crazy just makes me chuckle.  I don’t have a clue what he pays for cheap bread but I just wanted to reach into my purse and say … here’s your two bucks and 87 cents.

The next morning, I stopped at the local Bread Company and I bought my boss two loaves of fancy, gourmet, artisan bread.  And I placed it on his desk.  At first he thought it was from our FedEx sales rep because sometimes FedEx has been known to bring us bagels.  But the shopper chimed in and said they were from me.  So what does he do?  He places the two loaves of fancy, gourmet, artisan bread in the break room.  It was very nonchalant as if he had already forgotten about having a canary over bread just the day before.  [And the memo was still sitting there.]

The kicker was, all the employees were too afraid to eat it.  They were like… I’m not touching ‘his’ bread.  So when leaving for the day I told him he should take the bread home and share it with his wife and kids.

A day later, his wife showed up to thank me for the bread.  I said they have this fight every six months.  She said, “I know.  I hear about it every time.”  She said, he probably didn’t tell you but the bread was very well received and very much appreciated.  (What I heard her say was … He takes his crazy home.  Oh how I love not being the only crazy one.)

Sometimes it’s the little things.  The boss-man likes good bread.   What can I say?

In Al-Anon the slogan is … “How important is it?”



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