CAPTAIN ABSENT AND ELSEWHERE BOY – Why There ARE Real Life Superheroes And Where You Can Find Them


 Are you good at your job? Yeah, me too. Frustrating isn’t it? I was brought up to believe in the ethic that hard work brings its own reward. Not hard work is its own reward, because only a low grade moron would believe that for more than a second. I scoffed at this “work ethic”  idea in my lazy, know it all teens of course. It would have been weird if I hadn’t. 

Then, when I eventually entered the job market, it made me realise that  it was true all along. Hard work really does bring its own reward. Sadly, as it turns out, the reward it brings is yet more hard work.  Spade loads of it.

At school, college and university, the more effort you put in, the more qualifications/grants/accolades you get out. No matter how high up the ladder you go. Not so in the wonderful world of work. There, the effort only pays off on the very bottom rung, where the sweat of your brow will earn you your first promotion. After that, all bets are off on the hard work thing.

You see, being good at your job means you produce tangible results. This simply does not fit in with modern working practice. So you get moaned at and criticised, while the lazy moron on the same department who does fuck all every day gets promotion. And the irony for you is that he gets promoted because of his laziness, not in spite of it. He does so very little and so produces no tangible results to criticise in the first place. In the bosses’ eyes, he can do no wrong. It’s difficult to do wrong when you’re doing nothing

The staff around this marvel of a man absorb all his work without even noticing, or certainly without complaining. Once his lack of accountability is established, all he has to do is look busy when anyone important is around, and who doesn’t do that automatically anyway? People like this are undoubtedly annoying, and rapidly becoming more so as the job market changes to accommodate them.

Twenty years ago, if you moved companies every eighteen months or so, you were a feckless misfit who couldn’t hold down a steady job. Now it’s actually expected of you. You’re “fleshing out your experience portfolio” or “taking the racing line around your career curve”. Or something else equally as wanky and meaningless.


Everyone knows one of these people via work. Everyone also knows a superhero, and I do mean everyone. That’s right, you the ordinary man in the pub, you know a superhero. That bloke at the bar, the one casually scratching his plums and then reaching into the free peanuts with the same hand, he knows one too. And that girl sitting on her own, desperately trying to get her body language to say that she’s waiting for someone actually. Yes, even she knows one.

You all know him because he’s the same superhero but lots of different people. Fictional superheroes have been syndicated in newspapers and magazines for decades. This real life superhero is actually physically syndicated into the lives of lucky individuals all over the world. He is…… Captain Absent.

In the wild, Captain Absent is the man who is coming to connect the electricity, deliver the washing machine or drop off that all important cheque. In these cases he will be alone, wherever he is – which certainly won’t be wherever the hell you thought he was going to be at any given time. In captivity, that is to say when there are people around him, he will always be tailed by his faithful sidekick, Elsewhere Boy.

Captain Absent and Elsewhere Boy roam the workplace, skilfully avoiding labour and responsibility as The Captain trains his young apprentice in the Deep Ways of Malingering. They may be the blokes who work in the stores or the CEO and Head of Product Development.

Try to find them, they’re not there. When you don’t want to see them, you can’t get rid of them. They take every one of their tolerated quota of sick days and treat them as stealth holidays. They get away with murder by slipping through loopholes. They seem Teflon and untouchable. This is because they are.

Captain Absent and Elsewhere Boy are superheroes because they possess a power denied by nature to the rest of us. It is not the ability to fly, bend iron bars or see through walls. No, the power is simply this: THE WORLD REALLY DOES OWE THEM A LIVING. If you have a problem accepting this irritating status quo, you could always try discussing it with your Head of Human Recources. Or AWOL Woman as she is otherwise known

© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013


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About thedailygrime

At that awkward age - too young to be a grumpy old man, but just acerbic and downtrodden enough to have an opinion. Read it here.

One response to “CAPTAIN ABSENT AND ELSEWHERE BOY – Why There ARE Real Life Superheroes And Where You Can Find Them”

  1. theunemployedgraduate says :

    I’ve thought of a comedy creation called IBS girl, whenever there’s a crisis you can find her in the disabled toilet. Nice post!

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