Good Day, Mr. Misery

Mr Misery picI am just reaching the apex of the hill I must scale to get home. I have just finished my run on a chilly morning so my body is steaming like a plate of dim sum. But it’s post-run, Friday, and there’s nothing in my immediate future but reading, writing, and coffee. My level of joy on a ten point scale would be 10 if I could eat carbs today, but even so still resides at a lofty 8.9.

And then I see Mr. Misery. No, that is not his real name.

Mr. Misery, the manager of my apartment building, exudes all the pleasantness and warmth of a prolapsed hemorrhoid. He is sour, negative, and his features are pinched into a permanent state of complaint. The only time I have seen him smile was when I slipped on ice and fell on my ass in front of him. Mr. Misery and I avoid each other, sharing words only when the direst building situation arises. And every time he speaks to me his voiced is laced with arsenic.

If you live in the Czech Republic, you know this isn’t unusual. The Czechs pull off grumpy and sour better than any cold-weather nationality. The trams are often filled with dour, severe faces even on a beautiful afternoon. If you live in the Czech Republic, you also know that this is not an accurate representation of the Czechs. You know that once you get to know some of the severe-faced, you find that they are lovely, generous, and warm people.

Often you have to be in the right frame of mind to accept this, and today I am. I put myself out on the 8.9 limb and greet Mr. Misery.

“Dobry Den, Pan Bída.”

He nods, then stops and squints.

This is probably because I have just greeted him with “Good day, Mr. Misery.”

Let me explain. The building manager currently glaring laser beams into skull has recently been the inspiration for the fictional, sour-faced building manager Pan Bída in my last book. That character is enormously based on this man, from his pompadour to his rodent-like maw. So it’s only natural that I should consider him and the fictional character the same man.

Oh yes, and I am an idiot.

Besides, Mr. Misery in not alone. I give nicknames to many of the secondary characters in my life. I really don’t know why, it’s an old habit. On Thursdays I see Captain Toupee, Kathy Curmudgeon, and The Breathalyzer. Every once in a while I see Professor Hot Pants and The One-Upper. The difference between these people and Mr. Misery is that I have never accidentally slipped and called the butcher Captain Toupee. And none of the others live three floors below me.

Calling Mr. Misery makes Mr. Misery slightly more miserable. He shakes his head and I let out a cough as though that will erase the last twelve seconds from his memory. Or better yet I can pass it off as a Czech language mistake; I meant to say Pan Frida.

In any event, I run away. My level of joy is down to a 7.1.

Mr. Misery strikes again. Sort of.

  1. #1 by greg galeone on October 20, 2014 - 7:53 pm

    Damo-I think that I saw that guy once. Maybe a bit of St. Norbert’s finest might help the guy.

  2. #2 by HokeyPokeyTrainer on October 23, 2014 - 9:15 pm

    That’s my thang too! Chipmunk, Squirrel, Bread-Face, The Black Guy, Early Bird, Hobbit Writer… Nick names are the best.

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