When you work for a large company like I do, inevitably, there are going to be at least a few people that march to the beat of a different drummer. Over the years of my professional career, I have worked with "Not-Funny Comedian" guy, "Tries Too Hard to be Everyone's Friend" guy, "Tucks His T-shirts Into His Underwear" guy, "Idiot that Thinks He's a Genius" guy, and various people of that nature (and yes I have used those nick names in actual conversations with my fellow employees). But over the last few months, a new champion has risen to the top of my "Strangest Co-Workers Ever" list. He is known, by many here at the office, as: "Trench Coat Mafia" Guy.

We have to call him that because nobody really knows his name. Even one of my friends from customer service, whose office is about 15 feet away from "Trench Coat Mafia" Guy's cubicle, doesn't know his name.

My first encounter with "Trench Coat Mafia" Guy was in the break room. It was the beginning of the day, and I was filling my mug with hot water to brew some tea, as I do first thing every morning. Just to the left of the hot water supply in the break room is a table where there are always a few stock boxes of various chocolates that employees can help themselves to. As I'm filling my cup with hot water, this guy who's about 5'6", looks to be in his early twenties, has trim beard, and is wearing a black trench coat walks up and selects a piece of chocolate.

Whenever I see a person at the office that I have not met before reaching for a piece of candy in the morning, it triggers me to break the ice with the witty question: "Breakfast of Champions, eh?" Usually people react to this with a polite chuckle at my attempted humor, and that usually leads to an introduction and a welcome to the company or some sort of conversation. However, this guy just turned is head, gave me a blank look, and walked away with his piece of chocolate.

I have had several other encounters with him and every time I offer some good-natured standard office greeting, and I am unerringly met with the same blank look. He doesn't always wear the trench coat, but he wears it often enough that when I started to talk to other co-workers about his strangeness, and referred to him as "Trench Coat Mafia" Guy, they instantly knew who I was talking about. Apparently he doesn't talk to anyone. I am not sure what his job is because he is in a different department, but I think he responds to customer emails or does data entry or something that doesn't require talking.

Needless to say, he has cultivated a feeling of uncertainty amongst the rest of us in the office. Is he just a quiet guy, who happens to like trench coats? This is Southern California, there's no real reason for anyone to even own a trench coat around here. It only rains like two days a year. Is he just a guy that is not really dangerous, but enjoys intimidating the people around him with the stigma that has been associated with quiet people in black trench coats since Columbine? Is he going to come into the office and start blowing people away tomorrow? Who knows, but at least it makes for some interesting conversation around the water cooler.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
John's Gravatar I am more concerned at how you found out about

"Tucks His T-shirts Into His Underwear" guy
# Posted By John | 2/6/08 4:03 PM
Scott Bennett's Gravatar @John,

LOL!! The elastic band of his briefs were often visible above his jeans, with his t-shirt tucked into it. My guess with that guy is he had an unhealthy fear of his t shirt getting untucked and figured the elastic would hold the shirt in tighter or something.
# Posted By Scott Bennett | 2/6/08 4:31 PM
sal's Gravatar hah! that cracks me up man, you better make nice with him man, and continue making useless small talk... Cause one of these days...

Ever seen the Dane cook skit on making nice with the quiet guy!!?

# Posted By sal | 2/6/08 5:02 PM
Tom Mollerus's Gravatar Scott, this guy doesn't seem so much strange as scary! Funny references to the other office types, though. The strangest two I ever came across were 1) one fellow who would grunt with effort-- rather loudly-- while doing whatever he was doing in the bathroom stall; and 2) the woman (a developer, I have to admit) who would not only talk to herself but make herself laugh with her own jokes. I kid you not.
# Posted By Tom Mollerus | 2/6/08 5:33 PM
Ryan's Gravatar We have a similar guy working in our I.T. department who barely ever mutters a word. I walk by him in the hall, say "hey" and get no response. He's this way to everyone....

Some people are just THAT quiet I guess.
# Posted By Ryan | 2/6/08 8:55 PM
Scott Bennett's Gravatar Quiet people I can understand... this guy is more than quiet though, it's the blank expression on his face like he is just completely uninterested in you and has no emotion about anything. That combined with the black trench coat is really what makes him unnerving to be around.
# Posted By Scott Bennett | 2/6/08 9:01 PM
James Marshall's Gravatar Sounds like a Silent Bob Wanabee:
# Posted By James Marshall | 2/7/08 6:25 AM
Daryl James's Gravatar As long he's just aloof and not hostile. We've got a guy on our developer team who's relatively quiet, but then he'll get hostile when he thinks he's right about an idea (which is ALL THE TIME) - and the spookiest part is he can't look you in the eye when gets upset...he just looks up over your head at the ceiling rolling his eyes in a real Exorcist kind of way.
# Posted By Daryl James | 12/9/08 10:54 PM