Fiction Gallery: Burt Roddick, dreams of being James Bond
Do you know Burt and Barbs Roddick?
Burt Roddick is usually grumpy about something at all the meetings he regularly attends. On the surface it seems that he wants to be fussy about some vital details. Whereas most people have learnt that this is just his way of keeping attention on himself as one who needs to ask questions and therefore avoid any real intelligent input.
To anyone else, this behaviour by Burt is recognised as being pedantic, not very helpful, or simply that he is unpleasant.
Just being grumpy is actually good behaviour for Burt Roddick. He is far better known for being an in-your-face bully and for being obnoxious if you dare to disagree with him. This rude behaviour happens often as most intelligent people find they easily differ with the reality that is Burt Roddick’s world.
Normally he comes into the meeting room sits down and grumbles about the cost of taxi fares, or that the taxi was late or the driver was not polite (to him?) and that the airfare was expensive, the service was not good (for him?) or anything that costs money.
Before the meeting commences, Burt Roddick will always try to lobby those who are coming to the meeting. Most Board members know that it is more peaceful to avoid sitting next to Burt. It isn’t just his unpleasant and uncivilised nature, or stale breadth that people avoid, it is that if you express your own views it is most likely that Burt will very quickly let you know that he does not ‘appreciate’ not being agreed with or supported.
Burt Roddick’s wife, Barbs, will usually host people at their house before an important meeting in order to ensure that Burt has the numbers for his favoured agenda item. Unfortunately because both Burt Roddick and Barbs are so tight with their money , they are renowned for inviting people around but not producing enough food for a meal. People always leave hungry.
Once the meeting starts Burt Roddick always reads the newspapers he has brought with him. The amazing thing is that this rude behaviour is not questioned. It may amaze new comers to the meetings but they soon realise that if Burt Roddick is occupied reading his newspapers than it is less likely that he will pay much attention to most items on the agenda. Burt Roddick has little interest in others, so for most meetings he has little interest in the issues unless they impact directly on him, his values (and they are not high) or on his colleagues.
Once either Burt and Barbara Roddick have a disagreement with anyone, that person can guarantee that they will be subject to a flood of vexatious accusations and queries. Some of this will be redirected through other people but most likely through a flood of pointless and time-wasting emails. Usually the emails contain all sorts of questions about pedantic points that have become important to Burt and Barbs Roddick.
Over time Burt Roddick has had to change employment about every three to five years. Most of the time it is because he is ‘moved on’. Eventually it seems the people around Burt Roddick realise that his bullying of those he disagrees with is not appropriate. It has also been noticed that too many decisions that Burt Roddick has been involved with, often favour his colleagues outside the organisation for which he was working at the time.
Burt Roddick possesses a particular style of being serious and concerned with ethics, whereas his own practices would not survive scrutiny by any normal legal or moral processes. Burt is not a nice person. Actually to spend too much time with Burt Roddick can be both an uncomfortable experience (not just the stale breadth) but can also be boring as his interests and real world experiences are very limited.
Once he was a director of a state arts section.As happens, Burt had challenged people just once too often in his normal obnoxious manner. In this case heavy politicians became aware of this unacceptable behaviour and soon dear Burt Roddick was spending more time at home with Barbs.
Both Barbara and Burt Roddick resent having to pay for anything that they consider should be paid for by an employer, or in fact by anyone else they can pass costs onto. This applies to attending any conferences, any professional development, any meetings costs, in fact just about anything. To go out to dinner with Burt and Barbs is a test of how much they can get you to pay for them.
They are always quick to be seen to be part of partnership initiatives. But both will then make sure that when any fund-raising is undertaken, that they will have a reason why it is not possible ‘just at this moment’ or that they have suddenly had a reason to discontinue in the partnership.
The most amazing thing is that Burt is seen by Barbs and their friends (yes there a couple out there) as being a hero within his profession. She thinks that others rely on her Burt Roddick for leadership. Whereas the truth is that most people who have to deal with Burt Roddick have taken the easy path, they have avoided being bullied, and so they have made noises that they sort of agree and then quietly moved away from him – and his stale breath. The more unwise and unpleasant option is to disagree with Burt, knowing this will lead to being harassed by Burt.
There have been times when people do take what is seen as the hard option. This can be fun as when he does get into his bullying and grumpy state, if you can put up with his in-your-face way of bullying you, and can stand his stale breath, it is amusing to watch his face turn a strange bluish colour. This purposely setting out to annoy either Burt or Barbs Roddick is a form of extreme sport. It is not recommended and is most likely not covered under any professional insurances.
Given that so many others have a different view of Burt Roddick as a bully and someone who is hard to get on with for any length of time, the image by Barbs of her Burt being a ‘James Bond’ hero like personality is somewhat puzzling.
Knowing Burt Roddick does has a positive. The experience does prove that within our world there are in fact parallel universes and disconnected realities.
But then again, there is that constant stale breath!
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
This post is part of an ongoing series of fictional characters being developed for a series of stories, yet to be titled.
Paul Costigan, 17 January 2014