I know most of the time he wears black mid-top Converse sneakers or brown penny loafers. And I know he’s a he.
But who is he? I don’t have the foggiest notion. However, I do know what he is: the Phantom Jacker.
Let me explain. I ride my bike to work every day, and when I get to the office, I need space to change into my work clothes. I swap my bike shorts for khakis in the handicap stall of the men’s bathroom. Sometimes somebody is in that stall. No problem. Sometimes there’s a certain somebody in that stall for a lot longer than necessary. But why?
Maybe he loves his morning dump. Maybe he just wants some peace and quiet for a little bit. Maybe he needs this calm moment before the storm of work — although at my office a storm of work is akin to standing up and walking all the way to the coffee machine.
I used to wait in the bathroom, and I tried to do so patiently. I’d do that annoying cough like you do when someone’s talking during a movie. Eventually, the time clock clicked, so if I didn’t want to be late, I’d just rush out, take the elevator to another floor and find a different bathroom to change in.
Also, if you can believe it, I use the restroom for restroom purposes from time to time. But who’s almost always in there? The Phantom Jacker.
How do I know? Well, he always wears the same two pairs of shoes and there’s a reason he’s called the Phantom Jacker.
He’s not pooping. He’s not just sitting there texting or updating his fantasy football team.
Let’s just say there are certain sounds a man makes that other men know are reserved only for “Private Time.” Kind of a squishy, um — never mind, you can probably guess what he’s doing in there.
He flushes the toilet to make it appear like he’s doing something he’s supposed to be doing, only he’s not using tissue paper … yet. One time, his headphones were turned up too loud, and he wasn’t listening to a podcast. If he was, I want the name of it. When I’ve interrupted the Phantom Jacker’s “Me Time” so I can use the bathroom for actual lavatory purposes, he quits biting his lip and attempts to do an under-his-breath curse on me as well as any of the other bathroom occupants.
I’ve attempted to use my detective skills to figure out who this guy is. I tried holding my goods until he finished so I can see him leave, but I almost pooped and peed my pants waiting in vain. He’s not a public performer. I’ve waited by the drinking fountain for him to come out of the bathroom but got bored and left. I considered investigating everyone’s shoes, but I didn’t want to snoop on my normal coworkers.
The most important question is: Do I really want to know who this weirdo is?