LOL ...Boss DOES have a sense of humor! (although he hasn't much appreciation for mine) also I didn't know he moonlighted doing custom lettering on work vans.
Irascible ... you're right about "the clique" getting lots of slack with a blind eye to their hostility.
It's very easy to misinterpret flat words on a screen. What's meant as kidding sarcasm can look like venom. Fortunately stupidity is difficult to mask.