Don't Be A Pierre M.

When I was a bank teller back in the 1990s there all kinds of characters who would come in to do their banking. It was a branch in the west end of the city where the clientele and residents were at the minimum (I'm guessing) 90% English speaking including Francophones. The West Island is one of the last bastions where English speakers can largely live in peace away from the politicized linguistic rackets. If you're making trouble there, you truly are looking for trouble.

Our branch was fully bilingual and diverse. There was zero justification to ever claim we deliberately offered poor service on the language front. How could you in Quebec? We're all aware there are self-appointed vigilante losers who anonymously snitch on business who run afoul of Quebec's petty and punitive language laws. God oh shit are we aware. It's insufferable.

One troll who did was a guy name Pierre. I won't disclose his family name because it's not really pertinent.

Pierre, to cut to the chase, was a linguistic nationalist and big asshole about it. He would come in and put everyone on edge looking to catch any of us daring to say 'hello' or anything else for that matter to him in English.

He was just a nasty, nasty person.

I too would see him and have a sudden urge to simply punch him out.

One day, he came in and walked up to the wicket where one of the tellers stood. She was an extremely docile, polite, friendly, thoughtful 18 year-old girl. She and her sister were simply a joy to be around. They were Mormons. If you've ever been around Mormons you know what it's like to be around their crazy niceness.

Poor girl. She never had a chance with a ferocious jerk off like Pierre ready to pounce on her.

Within seconds he was barking at her to the point she was shaking and brought to near tears. My boss had to step in and take over.

What was her crime?

She began filling out an English language deposit slip.

He was demanding to know why she did that given there are French slips. We were all stunned at the idea a grown man would make an issue of this so we were all a little taken aback. Unsure as to what to say besides it was habit and that she really didn't mean anything by it, he went off on her about respect - notice how they always demand respect while giving little of it themselves - and by that point she was just too unsettled to continue.

I mean, it was ugly and my blood was boiling. I wanted to take my hand and place in the back of his head to slam it down on the counter - multiple times.

Little Pierre asshole, you see, was a linguistic nationalist and no one was spared his wrath. He was the great defender of a language that quite frankly doesn't need his protection.

Another time, Pierre called the bank and I answered. Without missing a beat, he demanded to know why I said 'Hello before 'Bonjour'. I didn't engage and asked how I could help him. He persisted. I told him we were bank and didn't appreciate him making a political issue every time he dealt with us. He claimed he wasn't being political - like all weasels like this do - and I begged to differ and hung up.

I walked straight into my boss's office and explained to him the whole affair about this guy. I even presented to him a stern warning and menacing letter he wrote to our staff - on a stupid bank statement - about our lack of respect and professionalism. My boss thanked me and agreed it was not the sort of person our bank should do business with and would deal with it.

All Pierre accomplished during the time I was there was bring a young girl to tears, pen a mean-sprited letter - that I still hold in my possession - and make a total ass of himself.

Take a bow hero.

Moral of the story? I know sometimes we feel disrespected or not treated in a way we feel is appropriate or have to deal with uncomfortable occurrences  but for the love of God. Think about how you're conveying your concerns or disappointments.

If you believe in karma, there's that but then there's also the possibility you end up an inside joke or a pin up in the office kitchen subject to laughter and scorn. A metaphor for all this assholic in life. In my case, I held onto a letter.

Do you want that?

I know I don't and have had my moments of weakness but try to keep this tale in mind.

Don't be a Pierre M.

Be bigger.

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