Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And the People I Meet Always Go Their Separate Ways

Hey, I actually found a photo from last year that I haven't put up before. It's my friend K.'s dog. Oh, and I'm sure you all know better than to think it has anything to do with my post.

Today was office clean-up day at work. I have always had a problem with having too many pieces of paper and not really knowing what to do with them, besides leaving them in a big old pile. Okay, let me start that again...I have always had a problem with organization.

I tried really hard to get rid of old papers and put the ones I was keeping in some kind of order. Somewhere in the stack, I came across a handwritten note from one of my students. Up until two years ago, I used to train and supervise all the college students who answered the phones in my office. I really liked doing it, but as with everything else in my office, there was a lot of bullshit attached to it, and I wasn't getting paid to be a supervisor. So, after three years, I stepped down, and stopped doing twice the work, for half the pay. I'm real smart that way.

Anyway, back to the note. One of my students had written a very pointed joke about me on a piece of notebook paper and made me leave it taped to the bin above my desk. You've probably already heard it before, but here's what it said:

"I don't really believe him, but my doctor tells me I have this problem that's called, attention, deficit...Hey, let's go ride bikes!"

Apparently, I've been lucky to have students who weren't afraid to tell me what they thought of me. So, as I was cleaning the rest of my crap, I started thinking about some of the past student employees who were nice enough to put up with my shit.

The girl who wrote me that note and another guy named Cody, used to have contests to see how many phone calls they could say, "Just a moment" like Nina from Office Space.

Then I remembered Jonathan. I wasn't sure I'd get along with him at first, because he was a rich kid from Naperville and I thought he was a frat boy. As I was training him, I discovered he was a total spaz. He would get all nervous, and not be able to find the direct dial buttons he needed to press, and then flip the telephone the bird. He suddenly became my new best friend.

Jonathan would try to get me to go to bar crawls with him and the other students. I told him I refused to wear matching t-shirts just to go out and drink beer. He told me I didn't have to. I told him that I would get too loud. He said, he got loud too. I said, "You know how loud and obnoxious I am here? Well, this is me trying to be professional."

"Holy shit," he said.

One day Jonathan told me about this eighties party he went to and what kind of costume he wore to it. I was very impressed. Then he e-mailed me a picture of him from the party. He wore a mullett wig that looked like something died on top of his head. He also had an acid washed denim vest over a sleeveless t-shirt. He had a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other and his mouth was wide open. I was so impressed after seeing it, that unbeknownst to Jonathan, I made his photo the wallpaper for all the student computers. I wanted everyone else to be able to enjoy it too. I knew the minute Jonathan turned on his computer and saw his new wallpaper.

"Holy shit!" he said.

I was surprised he never tried to get even. Instead, he would serenade me every morning by singing, Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" really off-key. Oh, wait. Maybe he did get even with me.

After the tornado, Jonathan e-mailed me. He had quit the semester before, but he knew where I lived and figured out that our house got hit. He told me he wanted to help me however he could. He had friends, he said, who would be happy to move me and the girls if we had to get out of our house. He even asked if we needed money. This impressed me even more than the drunken eighties photo he had e-mailed me. I told him that I thought we were going to be okay, but that I was really touched by how sweet and generous he was. I asked him to give me his mom's e-mail address, so I could write her and tell her what a great job she did raising him. Here was his reply:

"Yeah. I'm not falling for that one. I'd have a hard time trusting you with my mom's address. I'm too scared of what else you'd tell her. I know how dangerous you can be with e-mails."


Lynnster said...

Oh, I LIKE Jonathan. This is an awesome story. Lots of laughs and then the thing about his reaction post-tornado is so touching and sweet and made me teary.

Isn't it funny how some of the most important people that ever cross our paths and our favorites are often the ones you immediately think you are not going to like in the beginning?! A few of my best friends certainly fall in that category.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

that's pretty funny/neat...I love that he sang Journey!! HA!

Now, about all those pieces of paper...I got those too, and need to do somethng about it!

Babybull40 said...

Jonathan sounds pretty cool..Nice of him to offer help to those who may need it.. I loved Journey.. they still rock in my book..

booda baby said...

Don't you love it?! (Okay, I do.) We get older and our peers and people in the neighborhood of peerage settle into a look that announces what we can expect. (Wish it wasn't true, but it sort of is.) But kids - THEY rock. They can hardly help dressing like the homes they came from, but that ends up having so little to do with where they're going.

It's too bad there was so much extra work in training them because it reads like you all made a good team.

Rachel said...

It sounds like your orifice is a lot funner than my orifice.
Jonathan sounds like an awesome kid and pretty darn smart. I can only imagine what you would do with his mothers email address.

Sarah said...

I love Jonathan too! That was hilarious. But I bet you *would* actually write a nice note to his mom. And then that's where it would get ruined. She'd be like, "Oh, sweetie, sounds like you were so nice to this poor TARAH lady at your job, I'm so proud of you." and he'd cringe and then want to get you back for making his mom so annoying.

Remiman said...

heh, heh, heh....smarthboy that Jonathon!

You just never know who'll turn out to be a friend, or where you'll meet 'em. ;-0
Maybe under a blazing red autumn maple tree.

Wavemancali said...

And so the student becomes the master.

evil-e said...

Good story.....

The unlikely tag-team combination.

It seems everywhere I have worked I have gotten along with the person voted least likely to interest me. My "wifey" at work is great example of that as well. She actually made me think I like kids.

I will have to bank the idea for a future post, thanks for the inspiration.

Churlita said...


I'm trying harder as I get older not to judge so quickly.


Just throw them all away. Most of the ones in my piles have been sitting so long, I probably can't use them anyway.


yeah, for a 20 year old kid, he had his shit together.

Booda Baby,

Yeah. It was fun. I just had political issues with others in my office about it, so it was easier to give it up.


A lot of the time, my office can be one of the unfunniest places in the world.


I didn't even think about that part of it. His mom would probably embarrass him for sure.


Meeting someone under a blazing red Autumn maple tree sounds pretty interesting. How do I sign up?


He was never able to snatch the pebble from my hand, though.


Be careful around women who make you think you like kids when you don't. It could be dangerous.

Brando said...

That was awesome, awesome, awesome about the photo. And a great post (as usual).

Churlita said...