Do My Empty Threats Mean Nothing To You?Commentary • Opinion • ISSUE 42•35 • Aug 30, 2006 By Greg Swanson Lately, I've been getting the impression that you're not taking me very seriously. Yesterday, you barely even looked in my direction when I told you that when I'm through with you you'll wish you'd never been born. Well if you believe you can just tune out Greg Swanson's warnings, you've got another thing coming. So you better wise up, or I swear to God I'll eventually live up to my promise to make your life a living hell.Do you think ultimatums like these grow on trees? I put a lot of energy into my low-voiced intimidation, and I don't appreciate when you don't give it the respect I think it deserves. Do you know how hard it was to tell you I'd never speak to you again for the fifth time? How about showing a little regard for the guy who could take you for everything you're worth and run you out of town? And I could if I wanted to, believe me. I absolutely could.I'll ruin you. I've thought long and hard on just how to do it, too. Any day now you'll wake up and this pretty little fairy tale you call a life will be nothing more than a memory. And when that day comes, you'll realize how wrong you were to ignore my many, many warnings. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even six months from now. But mark my words, you'll be sorry.If you don't start taking my ambiguous but menacing threats seriously, prepare to suffer the consequences. They aren't likely to be the ones I mentioned in the threats, but believe me, after a few more weeks of my covert glares, finger-wagging, and incoherent insults muttered under my breath, you'll be begging for mercy. And I won't stop there. You won't be able to hide from the ranting, inconclusive e-mails I'll write but never send, not to mention my merciless campaign of unfounded accusations. What do you think of that, you Nazi-sympathizing child pornographer.In case you've forgotten, I'm the guy who could have told the boss about your little $12.77 "accounting error" last quarter without batting an eye. Do you think I lost any sleep over reminding you daily that I could, in all likelihood, get you fired? Not a wink. And I'd choose not to rat on you again given half a chance. In fact, if I can get all the employers in the area to agree to it, you'll never work in this town again. So the next time you think about shrugging off my half-hearted attempts at intimidation, just remember: I've got your ass in a sling, hypothetically.So go on, just keep pushing me. You're on my list, bucko, and the thing about my list is that no one ever gets off. You could be on my list until the day you die and not even know it. Of course, you will know it, because I'll routinely remind you that you're on my list. And there's nothing you can do to stop me. Unless, of course, you'd like to be moved all the way to No. 1 on the list. No? I didn't think so. Neither one of us wants that, believe me.Maybe you don't know how important I am in this office. Maybe you're even more ignorant than I thought, and you don't realize that I pay a lot of lip service to some fairly important projects around here. If everything goes as planned, I'll be receiving a lateral promotion this spring, and when that happens, I'll have a lot of connections in some pretty comparable positions, so you'd be wise to start kissing my ass now. You'd hate to come in to work one day to find, oh, say, that your desk is all rearranged, wouldn't you? Or that your thermostat was cranked up to 80? It would be a real shame if your salad disappeared from the kitchen fridge. Wouldn't it? Now do I have your attention?You know, the real shame is that it didn't have to be this way. When I first met you, I actually thought we might be good buddies. I tried to be friendly by offering you plenty of compliments and kind gestures. They may have been nonspecific and unemotional, but that's no reason to turn your back on me the way you did. But now, it's too damn late for apologies, so you'd better just shape up and start paying heed to my passive–aggressive criticism. Or else.