Ask Zahzah – The Flying Paperclips

My boss keeps throwing things at me whenever he is angry, which happens a lot.

It started with light weight office stationary items such as pencils and paper clips.

Lately he started throwing heavier items.

Last week he threw a black stapler at me which hit my forehead and required stitching and medical treatment.

What shall I do?

Sent by: Confused/injured at the office


Let’s put things in perspective here so we get straight to the facts and avoid jumping into conclusions.

Firstly, if you were paying real attention at your work-space you would have seen that stapler flying towards you and you could have easily ducked away from it.

Secondly, you did not include all the facts in your letter; mainly whether your office colleagues are also having stuff thrown at them by your boss.

If that is the case, your boss is an equal opportunity thrower. Translation: there is no discrimination involved and you have no legal leg to stand on.

In layman’s terms; you have nothing to complain about.

Regardless whether you have a legal leg or an artificial one, you should always act as a real team player and get along with the flow.

Thirdly, if you believe you were singled out, assuming you can prove it in a court of law; we need to examine the compelling reasons that forced your boss to escalate his throwing choices from paper clips to staplers.

Did the paper clips throwing start as an innocent male bonding attempt on your boss’s part?

Was it part of some Human Resources exercise intended to raise morale, build team spirit and generate happiness inside the work space?

Or was it perceived as a disciplinary action in response to some major fuck-up on your part that damaged the company severely?

I am in the dark here until I receive further satisfactory clarifications.

Fourthly, I will assume for argument sake that you made a typo in printing your letter and that your boss was perhaps, at the time of the alluded throwing incidents, a female.

If that is the case, I need to dig deeper into your attitude towards her, assuming you are a male of course.

Usually female bosses are known to yield to mild momentary lapses in temper during certain days of the month, at which time you are well advised to lay low, remain silent, and refrain from disagreeing or provoking as much as possible.

Fifthly, and most importantly, being a boss is very demanding and very tough.

Your boss has pressures from above, below and from the sides.

He/she carries much bigger corporate responsibilities, unlike what you seem to carry – evidenced by the fact that you are not a boss. Look at the big picture and try to find out why your boss felt the need to throw things at you.

What is the message that he/she is trying to convey to you?

How is it related to your performance or attitude or both?

Try to put more effort.

Show up in the office during the weekend.

Ask for more responsibility and more work in general.

Get along with your boss.

Suggest doing extra activities, like washing his/her car occasionally when he/she is too busy.

Maintain a positive attitude and keep smiling.

Eventually your boss will appreciate you and he/she will end up throwing a bonus towards you instead of a stapler.


Artwork done by: Nawal Zahzah


Words of Wisdom

I have a great relationship with my daughter. When she occasionally irritates me, I mention calmly that I spent a fortune on her diapers and I do not expect to be paid back with what went into them.

Mystery of the Russian CD

This piece is best read with slow Film Noir Jazz music in the background

My name is Suede. I’m a private eye in Dubai.

This city is waging a noisy war on Guinness World Records – from high buildings to high heels.

I was cooling mine after a tiring fact-finding chase in Dubai Mall.

I felt like screaming out loud: what is it with dames and shopping?

Was Master Card named after Masters & Johnson?

Does the card’s name invoke subliminal messages about master & slave in limitless S&M situations?

Nothing matches the aphrodisiac power of a newly issued unscratched card with a heart-warming high limit and a mouth-watering zero balance.

Suddenly my cell rings.

I glance at the screen.

My trained eye zeroes in on the number while scanning any possible link with potential debt collectors.

The number looks fresh.

It is not my tailor in Satwa asking me to pick up the 12 shirts I ordered and have yet to collect.

It is not Raj, my assistant from Kirla, complaining about non-existent traffic jam from his low-rent residence in the outskirts of Sharjah.

I pick up – my way.

Talk to me.”

A Feminine voice is on the other end – very feminine – to be precise.

“Mr Suede?”

The entire ice in the world melts instantly in front of my own eyes.

“This is he, in flesh and blood.”

“I need to see you.”

Am about to blurt: you ain’t got the slightest clue how much I need to see YOU.

I stick to my thin-ice professionalism.

“Now is fine.”

She shows up in few.

She is hot, slim and fucking elegant – with a punishing relentless cleavage.

She is just few plastic operations away from knocking Haifa off her well deserved fuckability throne.

We both stand up top greet her. My cat, Rummy, and I.

You need to pat something in the presence of such beauty.


“Talk to me.”

I manage to utter three words while struggling to swallow the remaining 69 ones that specify in shameless detail the dirtiest talk ever known to man that I crave to hear miraculously from her lips.

“Well, it’s my husband. His name is Jean-Luis.”

“The tri-lingual media marketing whiz?”

“How do you know?”

“My business – Dubai is small after all. Keep talking.”

“He has changed. We’ve been together for 5 years. He never missed a birthday or an anniversary. He was always romantic, charming and quick with doing the dishes…”

“Cut to the chase.”

“Our life was straightforward. I always knew where he is, whether in the office or at the nightclub. Lately he became absent-minded and withdrawn. He keeps his I-Phone silent and doesn’t return my calls for hours, I got him the phone on his…”

“Spare me the details.”

“Anyway, I suspect he is having an affair behind my back.”

“Should he have it any differently? Just kidding – Keep on.”

Phew – that was close.

She continues.

“I found a Russian language learning CD in his closet. I also found a scribbled note. Here it is: it says, I love L…the rest is undecipherable.”

“Leave it here. I charge 50 bucks every TV half hour – which is around 25 minutes, give or take – plus expenses. I start today. I will get back to you in few.”

“Do you mean few days, few weeks or few months?”

“It’s any of the above. I cannot be rushed.”

She leaves and I am left sweating and panting as if I ran 30 miles backwards in high noon.

I put Rummy back on the floor.

I named him after Rumsfeld – being as grouchy and grumpy but with no taste for weird word games.

No need for patting now.

No time to waste.

The dame needs to know.

I need to pay for the 12 shirts.

I call Raj.

I dig my contacts.

I map Jean-Luis’ recent moves in the last 6 months.

I visit all the shisha stores he likes to hang at.

I chat with all the waiters for anything suspicious.

I trace all his online activities.

I hit on few risky You-Tube videos. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except your run of the mill MILFs seducing their young daughters’ clumsy high school boyfriends.

I rule out foul play, money laundering or child molestation.

I check out all the Satwa and Karama tailors and obtain few clues.

He was heavy on tailored suits, linen shirts and fancy fake shoes.

Did that pull him down?

I tie all the knots.

I get the whole story figured out.

It is time to meet the dame again.

“Got news, where and when?”

“I will be right over.”

I plug Rummy ahead of time.

The doorbell rings.

My heart sinks.

My eye winks.

She dashes in.

Her perfume fills the air.

Rummy feels the tension and jumps back to the floor.

I jump right in.

“It’s not what you think.”

“How, tell me, what’s going on?”

“Your husband lost his job recently in seasonal media restructuring. The investor who bought the channel decided to fill the air 24/7 with dancing female teenagers along with SMS tickers  promising the chance to talk to the girls live. It’s a well known cash cow scheme that works all the time. So the investor fired everyone and kept the technicians.”

“Why didn’t he tell me?”

“Pride, image, who knows? Media guys are full of…this.”

“So he is not seeing anyone? What about the Russian CD?”

“He wanted to pick up the language as he is considering a real estate sales job targeting wealthy Russians who buy real estate here like you and I buy socks, well, not the same socks.”

“What about the phrase, I Love L…?”

“That was a breeze. He was trying a fake Montblanc and he scribbled: I Love Latte.”

artwork done by Nawal Zahzah – Adventures of Naz