July 9th, 2005


Shall we try to be big about this?

Nahhh. Well, sort of, maybe.

I've had a couple of calls recently from places I applied when I was looking for a job. I was really kind of pissed at these people because they are all (as far as I can tell) a bunch of rude cowards. They don't return phone calls. If you call them, the receptionist says they are out and your call is never returned. You never know what happened. Did they select somebody else? Why? Did they decide not to fill the position? Or restructure it so that it could be handled by existing employees? What happened?

Anyway, my first impulse is to leave them hanging like they did me. But I think I'll call them back. Partly because it's the civil thing to do. But partly because when I talked to the first lady who called it was so much fun to be offered a job and say, "Ehhhhhhh... I don't think so."

I have thought about this a bit and have decided that I simply do not want to reenter the work force without a degree. And even if I continued the evening/weekend thing, I'd be two to three years finishing it up. Nahhhhhh. I'm going to get this done.

. . .

I did have lunch with some ex-emplociates a couple of Tuesdays ago. It doesn't sound like anything has changed at the Workplace of Tomorrow. They hired two fresh-outs (guys who just got their degree) who have no experience whatsoever and are really kind of dragging the place down while they come up to speed, or refuse to, as the case may be. They consider most of the tasks they are assigned beneath them. One of these is the nephew of one of the managers, so it is also a crime against the state to tell the truth about what you think of his abilities and work ethic. Infallibility runs in the family, you see. Just made me all the happier with my "ex-associate" status.

Also got a call from one of the guys I'd worked with there for many years. He has been assigned one of my unfinished projects. He couldn't find some of the drawing files. In reality he's just lazy. He doesn't want to have to actually learn the system and do stuff. He's a fairly high level engineer whose always had "people for that," that is, assistants to do the grunt work. I told him what to look for to get started, but I'll be damned if I'm going to hold his hand through it. I'm thinking $2000/day would be a nice consulting fee if they really can't figure it out. I could get through another term at school on a couple day's work. Dream on. It's a little surprising that nobody has looked at this stuff for over two months. Sounds disorganized to me.

I need to just forget the place. I guess I should remember why I left, though.

My Autobiography. Chapter 348.

As a result of one of my early entrepreneurial spasms, I once owed a lawyer lady several thousand dollars I didn't have. Being "your own boss" can be very expensive; avoid it all costs unless you are already rich. It was a sore spot because my ex-partner should have been paying half, but he and his wife were the types who thought you could just disappear and forget about all of the promises you had made to people you had done business with. Business partners are to be avoided at all costs, period; already being rich won't help. Man, between the lawyer, the IRS, my parents and a few odd suppliers, it took me two years to work my way out of that one. I did, however, pay everyone in full in the end.

I don't think Lawyer Girl thought she would ever see her money, but I called her one afternoon to tell her that I could pay her about half of what I owed and was sending a check. She was thanking me profusely for my diligence because she had been taking some heat from her partner for taking on deadbeat clients like me when I blurted out, "Ouch! God dammit! Jesus!" completely destroying the otherwise Rockwellian moment.

A few weeks before, I had rented some ski boots (being poor and over my head in debt was no reason not to go skiing in those days) that felt good in the store but tore my feet up on the slopes. Both big toes had turned black and ugly and I knew I would lose the toenails even if the toes themselves did not turn gangrenous and fall off. Anyway, the nail on one foot had grown out enough so that as I was walking back and forth on the shag carpet in the living room talking to her on the phone (I was a pacer in those days), the mangled nail caught on the carpet and the momentum of my stride ripped the toenail very painfully right out of my foot. Then, of course, it proceeded to bleed all over the rented carpet, serving only to enhance my wounded-animal demeanor.

I explained the situation and apologized for the interruption. She apologized for laughing and that was it. I trimmed the other toenail, even though it hurt like hell to do so, so that it wouldn't happen again. However...

A few weeks of painfully slow toenail growth after that, I called her up again to get the exact balance on my account so that I could pay her off, had almost exactly the same conversation, pacing back and forth on exactly the same carpet and ripped the other toenail the rest of the way out. When I said, "Owwwww!" the first words out of her mouth were, "What? You tore off your other toenail?" "You guessed it." I don't think she ever really believed me. I imagined her heaving a huge sigh of relief when she hung up the phone, thinking how lucky she was to have actually collected a bill in full from somebody whose idea of social interaction was to fake losing toenails over the telephone. I seemed so normal and unassuming otherwise. It's always the quiet ones who turn out to be so weird underneath.

I had always sort of had the hots for her, but for the lawyer client relationship and all. And the fact that she was a lawyer and I was, at the time, a few miles the other side of poor. I just let it go. I saw her in a bar a couple years later holding hands under the table with another girl. It made me feel better to know that I'd probably never had a chance with her anyway.

. . .

I'm going to be arrested for the senseless murder of another Saturday afternoon if I don't get my shoes on and my ass in gear.