It pays not to be logical. I have found this dictum to be helpful, most of the time. But my boss, who we shall be calling Mr A, has mastered the art of being so phenomenally illogical, that it is a treat to be in a meeting with him.
Only yesterday, when the Super-boss and his committee of sycophants had really cornered the boss, after having hounded him for hours, and were scenting blood, he came up with the following gem.
The scene – Committee room. Temperature – Quite high. Characters – four hound-like bullies, frothing at the mouth, one calm sheep (boss) and one alarmed lamb (me).
(The committee is into the fourth hour in its deliberations on improving the performance of our branch)
“Super Boss: (waving hands, eyes rolling, voice high pitch) It is amazing that not a single instruction of the headquarter has been followed, not a single target met and yet there is no emergency plan in place. What sort of a place is this?
Mr A: (In soft conspiratorial tones) Naming no names, it’s clear who we have to deal with. (pause)
Super Boss: What was that?
Mr A: Not here. We have to be ahead.
Super Boss: What do you mean?
Mr A: Mosquito nets, table tennis, political scenario. The works.
Super Boss: Are we talking about the same thing?
Mr A: Of course not!!
Super Boss: (trying to get over a sense of utter confusion, and trying to bring the conversation back on track) Do you have any plans for redeeming yourself even now?
Mr A: Of course sir. Definitely. Without a doubt. (and looking towards me with an exaggerated calmness) David….”
Bringing the attention to me at this juncture was not in the best of taste, and was certainly most uncalled for. I was now supposed to cull some sense out of the discussion. Rounding it all to something sensible, as it were. All eyes on me, I could only stammer, make a fool of myself and surrender. Mr A had once again succeeded in sabotaging any attempt to make meaning out of an official work.
Sometimes such tactics do require sacrifices of juniors, but that should not be held against these masterpieces.