And then there’s Mr. Lafontaine.
If I could compare him to a 20th century comic book character, I would compare him to the Batman.
Not just any Batman — I speak of the Batman from the 1990′s — after the Bane saga.
You know the one — inspired by the gritty 80′s, he was unbeatable. He always had a contingency plan for every eventuality conceivable.
Not even Superman could touch this guy. Batman, a mere mortal, was the most powerful living hero in the DC universe in that era. Undefeated. Undisputed.
And, boy, was he tough to work with. He’d make all his little sidekicks feel like crap. He’d chastise them for making a poor decision in battle, even if he had offered zero guidance beforehand!
How can anyone criticize a young sidekick for not knowing what to do when they weren’t trained for that eventuality?
I guess if you’re the mighty Batman, you can criticize. After all, he had no real mentor (unless you count Ra’s Al Ghul retcons). He was self-taught. He made blunders on his own. He survived. He learned. And he rose … to become the greatest hero of them all.
And yet … he wouldn’t allow his sidekicks the same room to make the mistakes that he made.
I wonder how Batman would’ve felt had he been the sidekick….
But … that’s just it, isn’t it? He never would’ve played the sidekick, the Robin … he wouldn’t prance around in bright colors … he would’ve gone out on his own.
Just as Mr. Lafontaine did. Perhaps that’s why he’s so critical of me. He wants me to learn my new position, but he also wants me to leave … to go succeed on my own, the way he did.
He migrated from Venus after the Mobile attack, searching for … whatever it is that guys like him and Batman search for after terrible tragedies.
Unlike Batman, he didn’t don tights over his space suit. He chose the entrepreneurial route … stumbled … fell … recruited useful sidekicks who shared his vision … and eventually rose … to become the greatest businessman on the outer system.
I guess if he wants success for me, I should be happy.
But I’m not.
All I want is a steady paycheck to feed my family. I need to keep the air on, keep the shielding up on our station, soy food … you know, the essentials.
I try my best to please Mr. Lafontaine, but it just isn’t enough.
Take today, for example: he lectures me that I cannot make mistakes, as he pointed at a part that I had built correctly.
You see, I had made a minor error on the wiring, but I caught the mistake and fixed it. No harm, no foul, no inventory lost, everything’s kosher, right?
Not to Mr. Lafontaine.
You see, he wanted to know:
1. Why I made the mistake in the first place (it was four weeks ago — excuse me, but life is not a game show. If you want to send me a vmail asking me why, and give me 30 minutes to remember, then I can answer you’re lousy question)
2. Why I didn’t write a three paragraph commentary as to what happened (pardon me — but I fixed the mistake? So, it doesn’t exist anymore? Why am I being judged/criticized/deconstructed… besides, there was a one sentence footnote in the database that indicated the wiring was corrected)
“Three years ago, you were new,” he said. “But not anymore. These mistakes shouldn’t even happen. You have to figure out what you have to do — if it’s something we have to change in the system, fine. But figure it out, so this doesn’t happen again.”
Hey! I just figured it out!
Oh, well. I guess we can’t solve that one, right Mr. Lafontaine?
Knowing him, he’s figuring out a strategy for me right now….