FROM BORN FRUSTRATED:
Years ago I worked at a medical health insurance company. I worked my ass off at this company, but I was lousy at politics. So, I would submit a groundbreaking idea, they would use it and never credit me. I would confront them they would play dumb and I’d rebel.
Somehow, in my young and dumb mind, I thought I’d win. Ultimately, after three years I was let go in a massive downsizing. Like a lot of young idiots, I had the mindset of, “They can’t let me go, they need me.” Sadly, we are all replaceable.
While the bosses were, mostly, douche-bags, I met lots of very cool people. And dated far more womenfolk than I should have.
One of the people I met in my years at the company was a Hispanic man named Louis. Louis, I believe, was from Spain and was impeccably groomed. Beard, hair, suit, you name it, he was a classy guy. Louis worked his way up in the company and ended up being the supervisor of the claims support unit.
Despite very different backgrounds, we hit it off. My sense of humor didn’t offend him much.
Anyway, I didn’t hang out with Louis much, as he was married with two pretty young daughters. He was usually homebound. Then one day after work he asked if I was going to the Happy Hour? Down the street from the job, there was a Red Onion (which I played a drunken game of pool with Kelsey Grammer) and every week someone from the job was throwing a party, someone’s birthday, someone’s last day, someone was getting married, somebody got a haircut . . . you name it, we drank to it. So, I was surprised when Louis asked. I said, “Yeah, I’m going, you?” He said, “Yeah.”
I didn’t ask Louis at the time, but I could tell something was up with him. The next time I saw him was at a house-warming party (it was really an apartment) for this girl Marlene (I think that was her name), who was the subject of much gossip herself for hooking up with a co-worker at a drunken Jacuzzi party a few months before. Anyway, Louis comes to the house-warming with his wife, who is a very nice woman, but very withdrawn. I got the impression she didn’t speak English and was shy.
Louis’ wife hadn’t left his side all night, nor did she talk. She nursed a beer and smiled and nodded. After a few hours, she startled us all by getting up and whispering, “Where’s the ladies room?”
Almost an hour goes by and someone asks Louis, “Where’s your wife?” Everybody headed towards the bathroom and all you could hear was a faint, “Help.” Turns out Louis’ wife used the restroom and went to leave and the doorknob fell off, locking her inside.
The next hour was spent trying to find tools or a screwdriver of some sort. Finally, after two hours the apartment manager provided us with a pair of pliers. Everybody took a crack and finally, we got the door open. Louis’ wife emerged very embarrassed and asked to leave immediately.
Over the next year, I would see Louis at almost every happy-hour thrown. I was never sure if it was that he was a cool boss and wanted to be “one of the guys” or that he didn’t want to go home. One of these happy hours I got pretty buzzed and let my supervisor know what I thought of him. He had been riding my ass for months, trying to fire me. But I did my job perfectly. So, he started writing me up if I came back from lunch one minute late. To keep my job I would bring my lunch and eat it at my desk. So, at this particular happy-hour, I plopped down next to him and asked him, “Do know how I’m able to put up with your shit day in and day out at work without walking out the door?” He looked concerned, and then shook his head, “No.” I continued, “Because I know that outside of work I could beat the fuck out of you, and there isn’t a thing you could do about it.” Then I smiled. My boss shot back his drink, then stood up and left. I took my drink and wandered off for the next person to talk shit to.
About a year after Louis’ wife got locked in the can, I invited him to a party at my apartment, I extended the invite to whoever he wanted to bring (I meant his wife).
Louis shows up to my apartment an hour or two late with a girl, I think her name was Ellen. I thought nothing of this since everybody at this company carpooled. Anyway, I gave them each some beer and showed them where the chips were.
I’m meeting and greeting for the next couple of hours when it hits me that I haven’t seen Louis in hours. I ask a couple of people if Louis had left. No one knew.
I wander around and walk into my room to find them dry-humping on my futon (Hey, it was the ‘90’s, OK?). They looked shocked; I left and shut the door.
They stayed in my room until almost everybody had left. Louis shook my hand and said, “We’ll talk on Monday.” I smiled and said, “OK.”
So, on Monday we meet in a conference room, he says, “I would appreciate your confidentiality.” I tell him, “No problem.” I had no intention of screwing his life up. But I did wonder, “What happened to the family man?” Over the next few weeks he and Ellen took every lunch and break together, so even without me telling, everybody kind of figured it out.
Once I got laid-off I never saw Louis again. Despite his romantic issues, he was a nice guy.