In the last exciting chapter of my wretched life, I had cut a fart in the office that was heard round the world. It set of a politically incorrect shit storm of biblical proportions, and had set me at loggerheads with my bubble-gumming 20-something hottie boss and the Office Gruppenfurher. Faced with a crippling work load, a management that did not appreciate my contributions to the workplace (or my bodily eruptions) - I quit.
When I got home at around 10:00 am I slammed a healthy dollop of medicinal scotch - and went to bed. I slept the clock around too - I am a farm kid and usually up with the birds but the workload and bullshit at the office had taken its toll. I slept in the next day until 8:00!
The phone started ringing almost immediately so I unplugged it and went outside to mow the lawn for the first time in what seemed like decades. I tried not to think about who was trying to call me. The new mower was one of the new breed of lawn mowers of the time - 6.5HP! It took every one of those horses to cut through the crop that had grown. Bliss is the only way to describe it - all I had to do was push a mower - no ringing phones, no flourescnt lights, no dingy cubicles, no idiot customers from Bangledesh speaking 'Chinglish', no crushing deadlines, no snivelling for extensions...just me, the mower and the grass! Afterwards the yard looked like a million bucks, so I hit the mower with the garden hose, scrubbed it down and put it away. It felt good to wipe down the mower. Damn...that yard looked good for a change too. I realized that I had not had a full day off in easily two months.
In the house the coffee pot had perked up and I was ready with my favourite battered tin cup. My cell was buzzing like an enraged hornet so I turned it off - and surveyed the mountains of dirty dishes in the kitchen and the pizza boxes strewn hither and yon. An hour or two later and the house was policed up too. After that it was outside to the front veranda where I parked my ass in a patio chair for a well deserved nap. That was a big mistake.
As I waited for sleep to come I thought about the whole bloody mess. I had not quit because of a fart, or because my idiot manager had placed bubble headed blonde over me as office manager...I was just plain burned out. And I had this beautiful house, two cars and monthly payments to make. The job market hadn't caught up with the economy which was only beginning to explode. Good jobs were still very difficult to get. Even with the lazy sun drenched afternoon I didn't think there is any way in hell I was going to get a snooze in.
Next thing I know, my chin is on my chest, it's late evening, and Leisure Suit Mary is on my veranda gently shaking my shoulder trying to wake me up. She had stopped by after work. And of course, she tells me that the management team wants to sit down with me and iron out the issues between us - tomorrow. "Fine," I said.
The next morning I dressed for the meeting: shorts, hiking boots and a tee shirt. After Mary left the night before, I loaded the Jeep with my tent and sleeping bag and camping gear. I swear, I went into that meeting with the best of intentions - a formal apology, a formal letter of resignation, some quick goodbyes to my friends - and then out the door to the foothills. I would find a job, I was looking for one before I found this one...and I was going to enjoy my unemployment come hell or high water. But the bastards were ready for me: they were sorry about the incident - everyone had frayed nerves! They laid the guilt trip on me - Leisure Suit Mary looked like hell hung over - she had been working wretched hours, had problems at home and was trying to take up my workload. And, the management was willing to make concessions: I would now work in the board room rather than the cubicle and handle projects only - no more of Jessie and her inside sales bullshit and drama. I would be able to teleconference any time I needed to. The boardroom had windows that let in sunlight! Like a dolt - I let myself be persuaded. When I walked out of the office I got a quiet round of applause from the other employees. Ugh. To me - it felt like defeat. Goddammit - I suppose now that it was. I had been stick handled.
So into the boardroom I go - where my stupidity was driven home like a hot iron up my ass - there were at least a dozen packages on the table and as many files beside it. There was at LEAST three months work on that table, and that is assuming 12 hour days and work on weekends. My heart sank as the Gruppenfurher thanked me again for being reasonable and left me to my work. I felt almost physically ill as I waded in...and lost my soul in details, minutae and folderol.
I thought it was just my weary imagination playing tricks on me. There was a happy, chipper voice out front. "Good morning, Beautiful!" the voice said to our fat, potato faced HR/Receptionist fattie, "You are a vision of lovliness and radiance in this otherwise dreary and shabby office!" it declared, and the fattie giggled like a school girl as the voice continued to chat her up. OMFG.
I knew that voice!
"Say, Gorgeous, I'm looking for a short, ugly stupid guy by the name of Glen Filthie - is he kicking around? Never mind - I see him...!" and in walks Lounge Lizard Larry. I had worked two years for Larry when I got out of school. He was my boss and mentor during that time and he became something of a second father to me. "What do you want, you fucken reprobate?" I asked. Gawd, I was happy to see him!
"Why Junior - how nasty! I'm hurt! But - I'll get over it! I hear you're looking for a job, and I just happen to have one for you! Let's go, we'll talk about it in the truck..."
That is how Larry works. That man could walk into a room full of people with differing goals, resentments and agendas, take charge, get them all going in the same direction - and make it a pile of fun in the process. "We'll have to talk about this later, Champ," I said, "I'm up to my ass in snapping alligators..."
So Larry sighs in resignation (that is always a dangerous sign) - and says firmly "Junior, we can do this easy, or, if you insist on being stupid, we can do this the hard way. Either way - you're coming with me...NOW."
So I start losing patience too (that means violence or hilarity is about to ensue). I tried to be reasonable. "Larry - seriously, man - fuggoff!! I'm working here! After work we'll go down to the pub and sink a couple pints..."
And that was as far as I got.
In his youth Larry was a nightclub manager and a formidable bouncer. Even in his 50's he moved like a cat! By contrast, I was never an athlete, I suppose - but the next thing I know, he's spun me around, had his arm across my throat and he's starting to choke me out! At first I clumsily tried to pry his arm off my throat - as the blood started pounding in my ears. I started to panic and vainly tried to punch his head behind me but I couldn't connect. I was slipping into unconsciousness as I tried to stamp down on his foot - but he had me in some weird sleeper that allowed him to increase the pressure on my throat and lift my feet off the ground. Things were going black and I felt myself sliding into a warm, unthinking cloud of semi-conscious murkiness...
Through clouds in my slipping mind I could barely hear the women that had come into the board room. The HR/Receptionist fattie was clucking and flapping. Jessie was there demanding and explanation...and the last thing I heard was Larry himself: "Not to worry girls! I'm only kidnapping and assaulting your trained zipper! NYUK NYUK NYUK! Excuse me, Tits, while I take this trash out to the truck! No need for alarm - I'll revive him later and he'll be in touch with his resignation later this afternoon..." As the final blackness settled down upon my soul Larry was still cackling with delight. "Wave bye-bye to Tits, Filthie! Bye bye!!! Bye bye!!!!' I felt my leaden arms being waved...or flapped for me.
And with that, I went bye-bye.
True to his word I started breathing again when I came back to consciousness in Larry's truck. "Fucker," I said. I grabbed his smokes and helped myself - something I knew that drove him nuts. "You awake now Junior? Good! First, we're going down to the car lot to pick out your new company truck. Did I tell you that you would be working in sales? You'll love it! After that you'll meet the company CEO and the VP - please try not to embarrass me with your stupidity..."...and on we went, with Larry's gums flapping at 100 MPH.
God loves cowards, fools and little girls and he showers them with gifts in the form of good friends. I must have done something good in a former life, because Larry was one of the best men that ever starred in my life. He got me my first real job and my second one too. At a time when corporate North America was losing its friggin marbles and threatening to take mine - Larry showed up like the cavalry and saved my sanity. I am done with the mealy mouthed denizens of the diverse and vibrant work culture, and the unproductive clot headed cnuts of the equal opportunity employers. I don't buy their mealy mouthed bromides and dogma and if they try to intimidate me with social justice, they will get the pointy end of my wit for their troubles and the muzzle of my rifle if they want to gt stupid about it!
Larry himself is an evil saint, and I will devote a chapter of this humble blog to him later on next week. Please make a point of stopping by if you can. If I don't hear back from you today - have a great long weekend and be sure to get out and catch the autumn leaves.