Ispit out a few super short stories from my window seat this morning.
Enjoy! : )
Whenever anyone at work approached Ron with their troubles, he would respond like this: “Do you play the lottery? You can’t win if you don’t play.”
We all liked Ron. He refused to play office politics. And when the corporate call centers centralized in Los Angeles, Ron was forced to leave his family behind in Portland. He still had a few more years to gut out before retiring. So he relocated, leaving his wife, friends, and dog to move 965 miles further down the coast to La La Land.
Ron and his wife had a plan. They would ride out the inconvenience of living separately to secure their retirement income. Oh yes, Ron played the lottery. A lot. I imagine he clung to the hope he might just get lucky. Because you can’t win if you don’t play. And if he had won “the big one,” he’d be happily back home with his wife in Oregon two years earlier than planned.
After Ron retired, he sent me a picture from Porlandia. His hair grew long, pulled back from his smiling face and tied into a ponytail. Ron was a closet hippie. And now he was happy being himself. Going home was like winning the lottery.
The Harvard Milkmaid
We define ourselves by our work. When you meet someone for the first time, inevitably the question that comes up is: What do you do (for a living)? Unless you went to Harvard or drive a Tesla. In that case, you’ll want to mention that first.
“Well, in my junior year at Harvard I took an environmental science course and discovered the importance of protecting our planet. So recently I treated myself and Mother Nature to something really special. You know what I did?” I shook my head, clueless where the conversation was headed. “I bought a Tesla. I call it ‘my sweet electric crotch rocket’ because it’s so freaking fast off the line.” He laughed, then he told me what he did for a living. “I’m an attorney that specializes in class action lawsuits.”
“So, basically you get rich soaking large corporations,” I said, “while members of the class get almost nothing.”
He just smiled and replied sincerely, “You wana see my green balls fly or not?”
He certainly had a good sense of humor. Wouldn’t you? While others give their lifeblood to the corporate cow, he milks it for all it’s worth. His profession? A milkmaid with an Ivy League pedigree, nothing more.
Cool car though – a real speedster off the line.
The memory of a young man named Kris, who visited our home to repair water damage caused by a leaky pipe, still haunts me to this day. I knew his father from serving on the city council. He owned a plumbing company in town. His son Kris worked for the family business.
Kris spent a couple of hours repairing the leak and masking the ceiling, then said he would return in the morning to finish the job. He seemed in good spirits when he left.
That evening Kris entered his family’s plumbing business and hung himself in his father’s office. My wife and I were the last to see him alive.
Kris was only 26 years old when he died. We only spent a couple of hours with him. In that brief amount of time, you could tell he was earnest, good-natured, and physically fit. He was also quite handsome. His life came to an end at a tender age by his own hands. That told me all I needed to know.
I don’t know the details or circumstances of his misery, but I do know that feeling. No one can talk you out of it except for the voice in your head. And that’s where the pain is coming from.
In the office, short-sleeved shirts are permissible, but tattoos must be covered with a flesh-tone elastic or nylon sleeve.
Just to fuck with management, a contract employee who felt put upon came in one day wearing hot pink sleeves. He claimed to be showing his support for breast cancer awareness.
After an extensive review that involved Human Resources, he was allowed to wear pink as long as his sleeves were light pink or peach.
The next day he came in with black sleeves and a white polka dot pink bow tie. He was fired for insubordination and a poor taste in wardrobe. Management said the polka dot bow tie clashed with his tie-dye shirt, pink suspenders, lederhosen shorts, and knee-high socks with Abe Lincoln’s image imprinted on them.
Gabe stood at the center of the call center floor.
I stood beside him when corporate security arrived to escort him out of the building. He removed one black sleeve, stuffed it into his mouth, then raised his hand as if to say, “Here I am.” One of the tattoos on his right forearm was a pink ribbon with the words “Find The Cure” in longhand script.
I hadn’t noticed it before.