By Sean Phipps
There is a rumor spreading at my current place of employment in Athens, Tenn., that I am evil. Let me back up. There is a young co-worker of mine who is highly, fundamentally religious. I jokingly responded to her lunchtime request for a conversation about some “good news” with three words that would come back to bite me in the end: I’m not religious. What she heard instead, because she is insane, is “I am Satan.” Things have been going downhill between me and this co-worker ever since. I’ve been subtly trying to convince her that I’m far worse than non-religious, that I may in fact be a direct descendent of the dark master himself. Here are some ways I’ve helped convince this co-worker of mine that I’m evil.
Well, not really occult in the correct sense of the word. I’ve started bringing questionable reading material to display in my office. It’s not my style to be completely obvious about something, so instead of “The Satanic Bible” I’ve opted instead to display tertiary occult literature like “The Rise and Fall of Magic in Early Medieval Europe” and “The Occult History of the Third Reich,” just to add a little sugar on top. A friend has suggested I hang art from Austin Osman Spare, but there isn’t really anywhere to hang art and I doubt it would do anything but ostracize me from my already few friends at work.
The “Death” Stare
She already thinks I’m evil, so why not stare at her. This is something I do well and I use it to frighten adult mammals and submissive dogs. She doesn’t seem fazed thus far, which has me concerned. I usually try the “death” stare from a distance. When she catches my glance I’ll lock on her eyes and sort of squint a bit like I’m deep in thought. I’ve done this twice and both times she immediately turned away. I may stop this one. It could lead to an HR meeting and that's not my intention.
In the corporate world self-expression is often frowned upon. Still, there are a few ways to express your own individuality. A flamboyant hairstyle is one example. Unfortunately, I have very little hair and unless I want to go with the shaved Crowley look, there just aren’t a lot of options. Small accessories like a watch, ring, or cufflinks are also easy ways to express yourself. But 50 bones for a set of pentagram cufflinks is a little out of my price range for dramatic effect. You can also surgically alter your tongue so it’s more reptilian, or have bone fragments installed into your forehead for that “devil horn” appearance, but I’m not that flush and I’m also not a Satanist.
I think I would talk about goats on a daily basis even if I weren’t trying to convince a co-worker that I was evil. Sometimes I’ll talk about roasting them on a pit in the backyard as a sacrifice to Lucifer, but mostly I just talk about owning and loving them as pets and intimate companions. I keep two photos of my “horned goats” Altho and Kernunno in my wallet right next to my sister’s senior class photo. I display them often. This isn’t going over too well with the co-worker. I think she’s slowly coming unravelled. She has no idea how focused and sincere I am about this project.
Participation in All Holiday-themed Potlucks with Gusto
I believe that in order to be entirely convincing as a character you still have to play by the rules of society. Society is, after all, the playing field. That is why I try to make the most delicious dish at company potlucks. Are they satanic in nature? Absolutely not. This is an instance where simplicity and normalcy is key. Why would an “evil” person have the ability to make the perfect macaroni and cheese casserole? Why would the self-proclaimed son of the dark master of the underworld take the time needed to individually wrap and stuff 100 dates with cheese and bacon? It just doesn’t make any sense, which is why my plan is working.