OAKLAND, CA—Friends and colleagues of copywriter Timothy Gibula confirmed Wednesday that the anxiety-ridden 36-year-old is right to feel ashamed of every single thing he does, considering that all his acquaintances are, exactly as he fears, actively judging him at all times.
Validating every feeling of remorse and social anxiety the man has ever felt, sources close to Gibula told reporters his perpetual anguish over his words and actions could not be more justified, as all of his missteps—ranging from minor lapses of politeness to his overall slightly disappointing career trajectory—are immediately perceived by those around him as evidence of his inadequacy as a human being.
"Tim's the kind of guy who is forever second-guessing his behavior, as if the people in his life are constantly scrutinizing every single move he makes, and he's completely correct about that—we are," said Paula Ramirez, a coworker who admitted she can barely look at Gibula without a medley of his most embarrassing moments replaying in her head. "Anytime he's been petrified at the thought of social interaction or obsessively reexamined something he's said, his fears have been entirely reasonable, given our nonstop monitoring of his behavior."
"In fact, no matter what else I have going on, I always find time to think about Tim, whether it's a tiny faux pas he's made or one of the major failures in his life," Ramirez continued. "I barely find time to do anything else, really."
Friends and colleagues said that, just as Gibula suspected, each and every one of them is able to precisely recall numerous shameful instances in his life, from his introducing himself to someone after having already met them once, to at least three occasions in which his zipper was left down after exiting the bathroom, to that one time at the office holiday party when Karen was waving goodbye and he went in for a hug instead.
In addition, hundreds of slight acquaintances who may have only encountered Gibula once or twice claimed they were able to draw clear conclusions about his entire personality from the fact that he still can't afford to drive anything better than a 2004 Hyundai Elantra, and that he's in his mid-30s and still not in any sort of long-term relationship.
"Sometimes if Tim's not around we'll all just spend an entire afternoon picking apart everything about him, whether it's his taste in clothing or his political opinions, which are inarticulate and vague at best," said Ted Staley, a friend who went on to mention that virtually any moment Gibula opens his mouth is a moment in which his whole character and reputation are on the line. "The other day someone pointed out that it looked like his hairline may have receded a bit, and we laughed about that for hours."
"My favorite part is getting to hear about a humiliating thing he did that I wasn't there to witness firsthand," Staley added. "It's important to me to be kept in the loop of how badly he's fucking up."
According to former classmates, even as a student Gibula was, justifiably, always feeling humiliated, and the stupid things he regrets having done in high school and hopes are long forgotten are in fact freshly remembered by all who know him.
"Others may try to convince themselves that, given all the time that has passed, no one could possibly recall every minute and embarrassing thing that happened years ago to someone else, but Tim clearly knows better," ninth-grade classmate Will Anderson said. "To be honest, those few times his mind has wandered back to that high school dance where he sat alone awkwardly as everyone paired off couldn't possibly match the number of times everyone else thinks about it. Hell, I haven't seen Tim in almost 20 years, and not a day goes by I don't think about that dance and what a loser he was."
At press time, every single person who has ever known Tim Gibula is laughing about the way he throws a ball.