Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Young Guns

It was unfortunate that the monthly staff meeting fell 2 days after Toby decided to steal a vehicle and say fuck it to the last two years of employment. It was his choice, I knew that, but it was still depressing. Unfortunately, this mode of so-called resigning was common.

Everybody was aware that he wasn’t at work and that something happened. They asked me but I held the party line: “He called in sick.” It was all I was giving them; it was all I could give them. They knew it was bullshit. Rumors were swelling and everybody had opinions.

In private, with certain staff, I would reveal a little more information: “He’s not coming back. He’s ok, but he’s not coming back.” For somebody with a very big mouth, this was not easy.

At the staff meeting , the inevitable came early. I knew it would. Nobody cared about my reiteration of phone policy, cleaning vehicles after use and the proper way to fill-out an accident report. They wanted to know about Toby.

“Greg, so what happened to Toby?” a driver asked. I looked at him, smirked, raising my eyebrows and said, “I’m sorry. Really, I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you. All I can tell you that he’s not coming back.” Revealing that he wasn’t coming back – information that was private at this point, was too much information. I stopped and tried to retract what I said: “Well, he might be back, I’m not sure. It’s not up to me.” I like to use “It’s not up to me.” It implies that decisions are made upstairs and were out of my control.

Instead of moving on and talking about a required Sexual Harassment training, I told them this:

“Do you remember Young Guns II? You know, the one with Keifer, Estevez and Lou Diamond Phillips?” I paused. They were still paying attention, holding out hope that this would somehow lead to more information. I continued, “The producers of that movie wanted to use Bon Jovi’s Wanted: Dead or Alive for the closing credits.” With the mention of Bon Jovi, I immediately lost them. They knew me well, having attended these monthly meetings. They knew that I liked to deviate from the business at hand.

Last month, after seeing Crass (band), the king of all dogmatic, anarchist punk bands, I answered all questions at staff meetings with: “Well, what do you think Crass would do?” Most knew the band so it went over well. At least I felt it did.

The time before that the first words out of my mouth were: “I’m not in a good mood. I’ve been listening to Shania Twain all morning.” It was a lie – not the Shania part, but the being in a bad mood part. I was in a fine mood and it was because of Shania. Her feminist anthem That Don’t Impress Me Much sparked rich images of 90’s girl power, which I relished and drank from. But fantasy was not enough. Before the meeting, I snuck into the meeting room and wrote That Don’t Impress Me Much” on a whiteboard. I closed the doors to the whiteboard (oddly, it had doors). At the meeting, I baited staff to question what I was saying. When one of them took the bait, I slowly got up, walked over to the whiteboard and dramatically opened the doors. I pointed to the song title and in my best No Scrubs TLC affect, wagging my finger, said, “That Don’t Impress Me Much.” My look was sassy and I was very proud of myself.

I continued on about Jovi: “They approached Jovi about using Wanted: Dead or Alive and he came up with a better idea. At this time, remember, Jovi was very into the western/cowboy/native thing, wearing Native chest plates and donning cowboy hats.” I said this like Jovi history was common knowledge. Some were paying attention, wondering where this was going, and the others were staring at the table.

“Jovi had a better idea, though. He told them that he’d write a new song that sounded exactly like Wanted: Dead or Alive.” I waited to see if they knew the song I was talking about. The story was coming to an end and I was excited.

“And that song was…Blaze of Glory!” Like most of my stories, it was met with blank stares. They’d forgotten what the story pertained to. I had to remind them.

“And Toby went out in a Blaze of Glory.”

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