Can or Should

by Nic Olson

The story of how my day yesterday was ruined by a very pleasant man doing his job properly begins nearly two years ago.

To shorten a lengthy tale that has likely already been told, I will simply say that I no longer trust salesmen or lawyers (or anyone that wears a suit everyday), blondes, people that drive BMWs, the well-dressed, or people that just look untrustworthy. This is all because of a call-centre job which tormented me as an employee for four weeks in downtown Montreal.

A young professional entered the store and I was a tense mess immediately after he left. After he left I doubted his sincerity. He was an impostor, I told myself, a man wearing fine clothes, complimenting the store and eating the cookies, all in order to take advantage of me. I can’t tell the difference between someone genuinely being nice and someone that knows how to be nice in order to fuck your life up. This man, apparently, turned out to be the former. I am still unsure.

My frenzy saw me e-mailing several sources to follow up on the happenings of last year. The legal proceedings have come to a close. Settlement out of court. My dreams of being flown into Montreal as a surprise witness have been quashed. Things are settled, life is normal, but my mind is perpetually skeptical of this. An anxiety, something new to my repertoire of issues, keeps tugging at my sleeve. A non-issue pricks me in the finger and my mind imagines that my entire finger was cut off. And then worries about the other nine fingers.

It stressed me out because if the young professional had been an agent of evil, then I missed my chance to strangle him and yell in his face until his morals became clear. It stressed me out again because if he came back I wouldn’t know how to express my hatred for him and his ways of earning money. It stressed me out even further that I assumed he was a sleazy thieving salesman even though he was not.

A negative day for an already negative man becomes a desperately painful sight.

For some reason, as if it were the remnant of a long night of dreams, this phrase kept repeating itself in my head. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” I was thinking about owning cars and eating meat and taking advantage of people and pummelling salesmen.

The story of how I lost my mind because of an issue that solved itself ended yesterday.

It is still nowhere to be found.