Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Man Is A Hero To His Valet


Long ago I was employed by a massive corporation in the business of manufacturing fabulously expensive, mediocre products that were virtually obsolete before installation had been finalized. Within it was a department, enigmatically referred to as Human Resources, consisting exclusively of individuals thoroughly unqualified for meaningful employment. One day, desperately casting about for ways to justify its existence, the HR Department announced Bring Your Daughter To Work Day.

With uncharacteristic esprit de corps I chose to participate in this disingenuous exercise. She was eight at the time, and very like me. At one point my manager; let’s call him Chumley Throckmorton, called her into his office. Chumley was a lovely man, painfully sincere, unassuming, and a subscriber to that delicious myth that it is possible, and desirable, to please everybody.

He told her to sit down in his visitor’s chair. She did. Looking at her and exuding all the gravitas he could muster Chumley said, “I just want to tell you that your father is the funniest man I have ever met.”

My daughter’s legs did not touch the industrial grade carpeting on the floor of his cramped office and she swung her feet back and forth thoughtlessly, contemplating the ubiquitous baseball memorabilia.

Finally she looked Chumley dead in the eye and asked, “Get out much?”

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