Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sweet irony

So, yesterday I had to return the pants my buddy left in my truck.

Hmm...that came out wrong. Let me explain...

One of my TRUCK BUDDIES who HELPS ME WITH LARGER PROJECTS left his CHANGE OF CLOTHES in my truck. I'm referring to Stu, whose picture and bio you may now view on the staff page. Stu works for the organization I worked for until recently. Despite his traitorous allegiance to said organization, from which I was laid off with about a dozen others, I still value him as a trusted partner and buddy.

Anyway, he left his work clothes in my truck, so I kindly offered to bring them by the old office.

The receptionist let me in without much more than a glance. (So much for security--I'm, as Limbaugh says, a harmless, lovable little fuzzball. But I am a former employee who was laid off with no more than five minutes of notice). I ran up there, met Stu in his office, and dropped off his clothes. We "duded it up" for a minute, as my wife says, and I headed back toward the front door. That's when I heard the voice of the organization's president.

I paused. This guy is like many men who've built an organization up from nothing--in his case, with just a rented closet of an office and a rented computer and VCR. Now it's a $12 million dollar organization. He's brusque, intimidating, no-nonsense, and the object of scorn for quite a few people in Washington on the other side of the political fence. In other words, a kind of guy I can respect, but one who it's no fun to work for. While in his employ I was a writer. Not a particularly good writer, but not particularly bad, either. But this man is a relation to one of Washington's celebrated literati, a man known and respected for his mastery of the English language. In fact, my former boss studied under that giant. Once, my boss called me into his office to rip something I wrote to shreds. He did, however, leave one paragraph which he said was "quite good."

Anyway, I heard this man's voice and I paused. But then I caught myself and thought "What the hell am I nervous about? What's he going to do me?"

So, I just walked around the corner into his view, said "Howdy," and started down the stairs. He and a vice president were joking around, and as I passed by he yelled down the stairwell, "Anybody who gets me a bailout gets a bonus!"

To the man I could barely ever muster a few feeble words while looking at my feet, I said, "I don't think the government gives bailouts to organizations like this!" (That would have been funnier if I could elaborate on the character of the organization).

He was somewhat confused about how or why I was in the building, but I don't think he recognized me. "I'll give you a bonus if you get me a bailout!"

Funny. "I'd rather have a salary, if it's all the same to you," I said.

He snickered and I went down the stairs.

Hey, I thought it was funny.

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