Don’t beat up your Boss – Punch the Air instead!

Newman Noggs and the Nickleby ladies by "Phiz"

Newman Noggs and the Nickleby ladies by “Phiz”

You may remember how I’ve said that it isn’t a good idea to beat up your boss. I also mentioned how Nicholas Nickleby did just that when he couldn’t take any more.

Nicholas could have followed the example of his friend Newman Noggs when he was similarly stressed by his employer.

Newman Noggs is one of the most eccentric characters in the book. Born and bred as an English gentleman, at the start of the story, we see him as a down and out, having come down in the world.

Employed by Nicholas’ uncle Ralph, as a lowly paid clerk, his lot is not always a happy one. Ralph Nickleby is a moneylender – and is also the stingiest, meanest miser in the City.

This is how Newman Noggs vents his frustration:

‘As the usurer [Ralph Nickleby] turned for consolation to his books and papers, a performance was going on outside his office door, which would have occasioned him no small surprise, if he could by any means have become acquainted with it.

 Newman Noggs was the sole actor. He stood at a little distance from the door, with his face towards it; and with the sleeves of his coat turned back at the wrists, was occupied in bestowing the most vigorous, scientific, and straightforward blows upon the empty air.

 At first sight, this would have appeared merely a wise precaution in a man of sedentary habits, with the view of opening the chest and strengthening the muscles of the arms. But the intense eagerness and joy depicted in the face of Newman Noggs, which was suffused with perspiration; the surprising energy with which he directed a constant succession of blows towards a particular panel about five feet eight from the ground, and still worked away in the most untiring and persevering manner, would have sufficiently explained to the attentive observer, that his imagination was thrashing, to within an inch of his life, his body’s most active employer, Mr Ralph Nickleby.”

See. That’s the way to do it. I wonder how Newman Noggs would fare in one of those air guitar contests.

No doubt if he had lived in the age of the internet, he’d have been able to vent his rage by playing such games as Whack your Boss!

Courtesy of Tom Winkler

Courtesy of Tom Winkler

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