Sunday, February 20, 2011

Emotional Larry and Over-Wilma (#2 of 3 Trips down Memory Lane)

Nov. 2006 - From The Freaks I Meet blog oblivion...

Emotional Larry is one of my favorite freaks.
You can guarantee that no matter what the situation is you will wish like hell Larry WON'T show up for, he is always there - EARLY. He has limited capacities, which does not partner nicely with his anger control issues. He is his own study in frustration. Even his attire shouts at his complete and utter lack of personal balance. Most times, I see him wearing a tuxedo waiter's uniform with a fire department like coat over the top. As if he is going to a fire... to serve dinner.

If there is a group meeting, Larry is the first to light the torches, and create a riotous atmosphere. The boy loves an audience, even if only a conference call. Most meetings he attends are with retirees, potential volunteers or under-paid staff (me). Suffice to say, "adios potential volunteers!"; Larry scares them off the first 10 minutes. He brings up issues long past, wrongs that were never righted, and probably some things that occurred as a child, in a past life, or something he saw on an old episode of 60 Minutes. He is pretty torn up over these issues, and will utilize a full on 45 minutes of what COULD have been productive time to reassess loudly, "j-j-just what the HECK is going on here??", complete with wiping his nose after said statement.
His anger peaks about 25 minutes in, until he is spitting and occasionally swearing and can not calm down. He is so upset that he loses track of his already scattered thoughts. Just when you think he might physically attack someone, or throw a chair through the window, he crumples. You heard me people: Larry CRIES. The first time this happened it was very off putting, and I felt sorry for this entirely frustrated person, so wanting to help that he would be driven to tears. However, after the 10th meeting I learned the routine, so I knew to just wait it out - like a case of food poisoning.
After his tears subside, his gratitude starts. He is like your worst drunk girlfriend. He would hug you if you got close enough, which you won't.
This is definitely freaky behavior, but not as funny until you see it sprung on an unsuspecting member of your group. Most are used to Emotional Larry's outbursts, and will even try to shut him down. A new person will think you are a mean asshole (like I did), and pretend to be open to listening to the speech, the tears, and the gratitude - having no idea where it is all going. Watching their face is completely amusing to me as the spitting and cursing starts, then transforms into crying, and eventually, hugging. You can't buy this kind of entertainment.

Emotional Larry's less obvious and elderly sidekick is someone I like to called "Over-Wilma". She is completely overwhelmed and overcome by all of the drama, all of the time and just sits there wringing her hands, waiting for Larry to get done with his tirade. She is just as destructive to volunteers as he is, but is just more subtle. She appears as though her perfectly adorned facade of seasonal sweater, bobbed hair and eastern accent is just a thin, thin shell over the anxiety lurking beneath. She will calmly, yet anxiously wait Larry out, trying to break in once in a while to calm him, or add a supporting comment. Larry's ranting drowns her out, so she shuts up, perturbed, but her eyes are bloodshot, and slightly bugging out..there are several times when I was afraid she was having chest pains.
When the meeting is over, and you are gathering your things hurriedly to get the hell out of Dodge, she will approach you and quietly give the same speech as Larry, but more in a 20 minute complaint, rather than the ranting, that seems like one long sentence, as in iknowyouarebusyandyouarethebestpersonwehavehadyetbutwearejustsofrustraedandwhycan'twefindouthowmuchourbandannafundraiserbroughtinand................. You try to listen to this supercalifragilistic sentence structure while you rush to your car, because 10 more minutes in the room, and someone could get hurt. Seriously.
Looking back, this onelongsentence combined with chasing you to your vehicle could have been the cause of the chest pain. I kind of feel bad.

This duo could go on the road, if only they could get it together. I think they have a career in interrogations, using their act to break down even the toughest wills of international spies. The crying, the ranting, the onesentence complaining (don't forget the spitting and hugging), and the most steel faced secret holder would be putty in an interrogators hands. It could really be a useful tool.... except that the secret weapons have the attention span of gnats.

Oddly enough, I miss Emotional Larry and Over-Wilma. Though freaks, they have good hearts, and in their own screwed up way, really want to help. If only WE would let them ((cue Larry crying)).

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