Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Moral Dilemma: Doing What's Right.


During the summer of 1990, I began working for a now non existent company called Stewart Sandwiches as a route driver. The money and the benefits were substantial enough to make the decision to leave the other McJob I was at(a well known storage company) a particularly easy one. As I said, the money was good and having tangible medical benefits(as opposed to being constantly promised them)was a definite improvement. Plus I enjoyed the job. Except for having to put up with the owners, Dick and his wife Shelley,two people who should have put an end to their wretched excuse of a marriage a long ,long time ago.

Not a day went by during the four months I worked there that myself and the other three people who worked at Stewart Sandwiches weren't subjected to their petty bickering and naked animosity. One time, Dick was so infuriated by an insult hurled at him by his shrewish wife that he gave her the finger in front of everyone. Their rancor extended to Dick arriving at work driving his beloved black Mustang while Shelley drove her white Lincoln Continental.

Whenever she deigned to stay home during one of her moods,Dick would be in high spirits. No wonder, he didn't have to argue for eight hours incessantly with Shelley. And since the wife was away, Dick felt free to regale us with stories about the twenty five year old mistress he was screwing on the side. One time he was bold enough to bring her by and show her off to us! Dick was always going on and on about how young and pretty she was,unlike Shelley. And we were treated to blow by blow descriptions of their sex life,while Dick nudged whoever was closest to him in the ribs all the while winking and giving a thumbs up.

Now,I will confess that Shelley was not the nicest person that God ever let draw breath. She was bellicose and rather short with people. I imagine that being married to her was no slice of heaven;more like a long,torturous tour through Dante's Inferno. But Dick once told us point blank that he was staying married to Shelly because it was "Cheaper to keep her"; that a divorce would put a serious crimp in his finances. So,while he remained unhappily married to his wife, Dick would sneak off to get some loving with his girlfriend, whom he kept in a nice apartment and provided living expenses for.

Whenever she would broach the subject of Dick leaving Shelley and marrying her, he would paint a false picture of financial ruin incurred should divorce become a reality. Naturally, his girlfriend not wanting to kill the goose laying her golden eggs agreed that their current arrangement was indeed mutually beneficial. The matter,at least for the moment, was dropped. Dick was successfully juggling a sham marriage and a torrid love affair at the same time,while myself and the other three employees heard endlessly about his double life . Dick was quite proud of himself. Behind Shelley's back, Dick would refer to her as " Shelley Stank Vein" and" Mama Ugly Vein" because of a rather predominate vein which ran the entire length of her leg, incurred during the birth of their only child,a son named Bob.

Out of curiosity, I asked why he didn't take her to a plastic surgeon to get the supposedly disfiguring vein fixed. Dick replied he felt this was throwing good money after bad and why waste money on that middle aged shrew when it could be better spend on his younger, prettier honey? I may not have liked Shelley in the slightest, but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. Her husband,in my estimation, was a slimy,ball-less weasel.

By September of that year, the recession was upon America and Stewart Sandwiches was feeling the effects of it. Sales became sluggish at certain stores, so the routes were trimmed as the accounts who weren't doing sufficient business were eliminated. Unfortunately, someone at Stewart Sandwiches was going to be laid off. Three guess's and the first two don't count as to who the unlucky person was. If you guessed me, then put a little gold star next to your name. You know the rule, last hired/first fired.

As Dick told me the bad news, he assured me that I would get an excellent reference from him. He then shook my hand and wished me good luck. This was during a very bad recession however,so jobs were hard to come by. I lucked out and procured a posit on as a collector at Barklays Bank,a financial institution attempting to rid itself of millions of dollars of delinquent accounts while trying to find a buyer for their white elephant(I 'll go into detail about this story at a later date). The upshot was, this failing bank expected each collector to rake in no less than ten thousand a week or they were shown the door. I was shown the door after a month, so it was back to pounding the pavement in search of gainful employment.

Around Christmas time of that year, I received a call from Dick at twelve midnight. He was in quite a predicament, one of his own making. It seems that his wife Shelly suspected he was cheating on her and she in turn threatened divorce in which she stood to take him for half of everything. Dick wanted me to verify his story of spending time at a local tavern and lie to her that he and I spent evening in this establishment knocking back beers and playing pool. I felt this was simply asking too much of me and that I shouldn't get involved in a situation which was not any of my business. Never the less, I asked Dick if I could take a day or two to think it over and then give him an answer. He unexpectedly roared at me," Tell me now, Goddamn you! Shelley'll put my ass into a sling if you don't come through for
me!"

Now, I felt bad for Dick, but I was at a moral crossroad: do I lie for him when I know this is the wrong thing to do? I mean,was it my job to help Dick maintain he and Shelly's cardboard cutout of a marriage? Or do I tell Dick no and risk offending him? He didn't allow me the time to think things through, but I knew in my heart what the answer was. The right answer, that is. I said I wouldn't lie for him and that my conscience was more important than his double life. Dick shouted at me before hanging up," I'll fix you, sonofabitch! I'll fix you!" I thought to myself," What can he do to me? I don't work for him anymore." Talk about famous last words!

For the next month or two, I must have applied to fifty to sixty places for a job and noticed I was getting nowhere. Then, during a second interview for the position of liquor store manager, the owner informed me that when he called Dick for a reference,he was told," No comment at this time." No comment at this time? Whatever happened to my excellent reference? Needless to say, I didn't get the position. Yes, this is how Dick, that miserable,gutless, cheating pile of crap got even with me for not lying on his behalf. If it weren't for the fact that I would have gotten arrested for assault, I would've kicked his candy ass up and down the street where his business was located. Instead, I took it on the chin. But from that day forward Dick and I were enemies.

A few years later, I heard rumors he and Shelley moved to Florida in order to save their comedy routine they called a marriage and opened up another business. Other rumors surfaced that Dick snuck his girlfriend down there as well and was still carrying one with his double life. Whatever the truth is,all I know is that I stuck to my guns and did the right thing,despite the consequences. In the end, that's all that actually matters.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did the right thing. What a mess.

11:05 PM  

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