By Judy Berman
The smell of hazelnut coffee still makes me queasy. It is a reminder of an ice queen who once ruled where I worked years ago.
Clueless, out-of-touch, manipulative, narcissistic, sadistic and just plain bad bosses can be found anywhere.
Take the one where a man collapsed at work. His boss stepped over him as he lay on the floor, and she strolled to her office. One wag said that the boss’s only concern appeared to be whether the employee had turned in a report she was expecting.
Some bosses are human stress factories. One bragged that he loved to keep employees off-balance.
When he learned that one of his minions was applying elsewhere, he sabotaged that employee by passing on a bad job evaluation to the prospective employer.
These examples almost make Dilbert’s pointy-haired ignorant boss, and the harmlessly deluded and insensitive boss in “The Office” (Michael Scott, as played by Steve Carell), appear sympathetic and wise.
If these examples sound remotely like the situation you’re in at your workplace, take heart.
Things could be so much worse.
Be glad Dan Hedaya (as Anthony Castelo) is not your boss. He’s the low-rent mobster in Newark, New Jersey, that Danny DeVito (as Harry Valentini) and Joe Piscopo (as Moe Dickstein) work for in Brian De Palma’s movie, “Wise Guys.” (1986)
Their tasks are to go start the boss’s car while fellow goons inside take bets on how long it’ll take for a bomb to explode.
Frank “The Fixer” Acavano (played by professional wrestler Captain Lou Albano) drives Harry and Moe to the racetrack. He tells Moe to place a bet on a specific horse.
Harry knows that the boss has been losing money on the horses. He persuades Moe to gamble on another instead, and they can take the winnings for themselves. The boss’s pick comes in first, and they wind up losing $250,000 of the boss’s money.
Needless to say, Castelo is – to put it mildly – disappointed. Still, he rejects a remedy offered by “The Fixer,” the mob’s chief enforcer.
“Let me waste ‘em, Mr. Castelo!” Acavano urges.
“Do we really hurt them by killing them?” Castelo asks.
“It’s a good start,” sagely concludes Frank Vincent (as Louie Fontucci).
Castelo’s solution is to have Harry Valentini and Moe Dickstein “put to the test … by having them kill each other.”
“The Fixer,” Acavano, will whack whoever survives.
When the two guys are tipped off about the plan, they steal Acavano’s prize Cadillac and go on the lam to a casino in Atlantic City. There, they run up charges on Acavano’s stolen credit card.
Harry hopes to visit his Uncle Mike and persuade him to bail them out so they can repay Castelo. Things do not go according to plan, and the mob is hot on their trail.
Moe Dickstein writes a farewell letter to Castelo that stuns them all.
This screwball mobster comedy is a primer, a how-to on turning the tables to get a little justice.
Just have a plan in place before you head out the door. Then, you can mail out that “take this job and shove it’ letter with a smile on your face.
Have you had a bad boss experience you’d like to share? Keep the comments PG please.
Movie Trailer: “Wise Guys” (1986) stars Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7TKTypiIjw
Main Photo: Wise Guys – Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo and Cadillac http://www.listal.com/viewimage/685116
Photo – Dilbert – Pointy-haired boss in comic
Photo: Wise Guys (1986) – Screen shot – Danny DeVito and Joe Piscopo on the lam, making a call to Uncle Mike