Old Friends 4 Sale, Part Six: The Yes Man

Disclaimer: This entire post is about something that happened in high-school, or post-high school. Names are fictitious but the stories are real. The main purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences, but at the same time, I am forced to play ‘catch-up’ with memories of the past. I’ve always been a fan of history, more of the stories than the names and dates. So, I think that writing them down is a way of dealing with them. All of these situations are far in the past, and if I met any of the people in these stories in real life, I would be civil.

Also, I’m thinking of doing an entire series like this, where I analyze and dissect interactions such as these. I think it would help me spot some of my own flaws, maybe help others, and possibly entertain others as well. What do you think? Too whiney? Or good entertainment? Let me know.

Other posts in this series:
Part 1: The Biatch
Part 2: The Wannabe Redneck
Part 3: The Necromancer and the Caliwhornian
Part 4: The Spaz
Part 5: Jay-Z
Part 6: The Bimbo
Part 7: The Psycho
Part 8: The Yes Man
Part 9: D-Bow and the Besh
Part 10: The Dominican Diva

I have already formulated an exceptionally long introduction to these torrid, dramatic posts here, in Part 1, so please read over it before judging. I could have copy-and-pasted it here, but that seems tacky.

Also, just a warning: some people, in the past, have accused me of ‘being dramatic’ or ‘living in the past.’ Looking over some of these old posts, and my old actions, yes, some of the things I said were long-winded, and yes, some of my words were hurtful. At the time, (and to a large degree, currently) I maintain that I tried my best to be a rational, good friend to them. Sometimes I blathered on in making my case, but I truly wanted to remain friends with most of these people.

If anything, I was a bit too passionate (which some people might synonymize with dramatic I suppose). I expected people to be rational. I tried to either help my friends avoid unpleasant situations or make them better people, and above all, I hoped they all valued friendship as much as I did. We were all young, mistakes were made on all sides, and I shouldn’t have set the bar as high as I did. Simply put, people aren’t perfect. These experiences helped me weed out a few rotten, false friends and made me a better judge of character; thanks to them, I know what true friends are, and have accumulated a small circle of ‘real people’ who I can trust and who trust me.

With that introduction, I bring you the story of

The Yes-Man

The Introduction

It was the summer before my senior year in college. I was young and still naive about many things. I was still developing myself, trying to interact with people on a real level, rather than the cold, distant person who I embodied for much of my existence.

To recap my previous posts, I was hanging out with a good group before that summer, colloquially known as “The Flea Market Brigade.” There was D-Bow, a largish baldy. We shared the same kinds of humor, a love of video games, flea markets, and the absurd.

There was Marmalade, D-Bow’s cousin. He was about two years younger, the nicest guy you could meet. Good with the ladies, good at soccer, kinda flaky but nice.

There was Chip, a muscular guy who loved beer, stories, spinning yarns, and just chilling. We usually met in his house, or his garage, where we could drink freely.

And there was The Hump, who needs no introduction.

After I graduated from college, I had no idea I would be doing. I had a few nebulous ideas: maybe the military? Peace Corps? I didn’t know if I would remain in my hometown, a mid-sized yet isolated American city, or venture out into the great unknown. Korea wasn’t yet on my radar at the time, but I was a little anxious. It could be my last real summer vacation, like, ever.

In essence, I wanted to explore. My town has a lot of history, and despite having every summer for the past twenty years off, I didn’t have the car, the motivation, the money, or the experience to explore my area. From my sister, I learned about a lot of interesting places to go. Museums, parks, abandoned buildings, swimming holes, hiking trails, restaurants, day trips, etc.

I wanted to do a lot of stuff, but there was a hitch. D-Bow, Chip, and Marmalade had part-time jobs and a lot of time. But they had a new friend. I only heard a legend about him; about how they got a keg, had a house party, and trashed his place. His parents heard that there was a break-in, despite the fact that the revelers randomly broke dishes and lawn furniture, with their new friend even emailing the furniture company, claiming “frost damage,” and receiving a new set of chairs (insurance fraud).

He was short, pale, with a big head. D-Bow often quipped that he looked like a pedophiliac, or a ‘Fetal Alcohol Syndrome poster child.’ With my sense of rationality, I couldn’t bring myself to make fun of him simply for his looks.

D-Bow hated this guy, and I didn’t understand it at first, but eventually it became clear.

He was a Yes Man, but only for certain people.

Everything Chip wanted to do, he wanted to do. Chip wanted to drink, he wanted to drink. Being my oldest friend, Chip wanted to go to Wing Night, so The Yes Man wanted to go, too. (It was during the Ooh-Ooh Bird! era.) I didn’t really have a problem with him; he wasn’t really a close friend. I’d just met the guy, but D-Bow was insistent. “Ghost, this guy is really bad!” he’d frequently say, desperately insisting with his eyes and tone of voice.

I noticed how he would always follow Chip, always believe Chip’s tall tales no matter what; but to be honest it didn’t really affect me.

Things turned ugly very quickly though.

The Incidents

Where to start, really?

D-Bow was constantly whispering in my ear about how bad it was, how he treated us like idiots and treated Chip like a god. The Yes Man countered, saying that he shouldn’t have to be everyone’s best friend, he should have one best friend and many good friends.

They both made fair arguments and I couldn’t choose between them. In hindsight, they were both shitty friends to even make me choose. The balance tipped when The Yes Man started treating me like he treated D-Bow.

An example: We all decided to meet. The Yes-Man wanted to meet me earlier and hang out, as I was unemployed at the time.

He lived much farther north than Chip and D. I follow his shitty directions, and end up parking in an empty lot, in full view of the highway, with car containing maybe $2,000 worth of stuff. My laptop, camera, and several other expensive things are trapped in my shitty GEO Tracker. After the gym, he gets on the highway…and forgets all about my car. We’re rushing to Chip’s to see a midnight movie premier.

“Um, what about my car?”

“Oh, I forgot. It’s alright, we can get it after the movie.”

I panicked, of course. My sister has told me tales of being locked out and easily jigging the door with a coat hangar or a pocket knife.

After arriving at Chip’s, I was able to convince D-Bow to immediately leave again to get my car, with the promise of a Dr. Pepper in return. The ride there was largely silent, at times punctuated by awkward snippets about what a crappy situation it was and the looming specter of what The Yes Man had done.

Long story short, we made it to the movie in time, and no one broke into my car in the meanwhile.

Another example: Before going on study abroad, I wanted to go to a local amusement park. It’s a nice, leisurely drive. I wanted to go there and spend some time with my friends before a 6:00 AM flight the next day. The plan was to get there early, then go back to my house for homemade pizza. I was looking forward to it greatly.

The Yes Man offered to drive. He then politely asked if we can bring booze. It’s not allowed in the park, but I begrudgingly said yes.

Around this time, The Yes Man had begun de-emphasising Chip. Apparently one of Chip’s tales was too tall for The Yes-Man to see over. On a family trip to Maryland, The Yes Man believed Chip when Chip said that he owned a few houses down there. (I mean, come on!) When this falsehood was uncovered, he called out Chip, they had a big fallout, and The Yes Man moved on to his next target: D-Bow’s cousin, Marmalade.

Anywho, it’s me, D-Bow, Marmalade, The Hump, and The Yes Man. We finally get there, stopping at a family restaurant and a random flea market on the side of the road. I’m really amped up and happy to be there. We enter the park, and that’s where everything goes downhill.

First, The Yes Man demands that we chug our beers in the car. This makes me uncomfortable for a few reasons, not the least of which are the moving and spinning rides. Yet, I wanted my friends to have fun, so I complied.

Instead of buying ride tickets, we bought day passes. The Yes Man claims he bought mine (he later claimed that he also bought lunch, which is a lie), but I think it was D-Bow instead. In short,

  • Ride tickets are pay-as-you-go, BUT
  • Day passes are unlimited and last all day.

I posited that this wasn’t wise. We had to leave early in the evening, as I had to catch a plane early the next day. Why not just pay per ride and leave early? Heck, the tickets don’t expire and we can use them next time.

The Yes-Man responded that, hey, we’re having fun, why don’t we stay until it closes? Ten PM?

I was flustered. On one hand, I was glad that they were having fun, but very worried about my flight the next day. I eventually talked it down to eight. Angry, I refused to confront him there due to our mutual friends (and the fact that he was driving, after all).

Rushing home, I didn’t even get to my house until 10:30. I was pissed, but there was nothing I could do about it. It would have been useless to confront anyone, because that would cast a pall over their summer and my monthlong trip. I resolved to let the issue wait until I returned.

When I returned, I wanted a real trip. I wanted to make up for what had happened on that day. I wanted a fun event where there were no deadlines, where I could have more control over what happened. So, I made an event on FB. Surprisingly, I could still find it. It was quite spartan but got the message across.

I’ve edited out most names, other than Chip and D-Bow.

This is where it all began.

Ambitious, definitely. I wanted to go to three flea markets, an amusement park, and finish the day with a drive-in movie.

It’s probably no surprise that so few people were able to attend. The second comment is from Chip. The Yes-Man and D-Bow helped him move, and The Yes Man cancelled going the day before. He was supposed to be D-Bow’s ride to my house, so D-Bow couldn’t go either. It was a forty-minute drive (in the other direction) to his house, and he didn’t want me to pick him up.

In hindsight, the initial trip was my idea (and goodbye party), but The Yes Man wanted to change it to be about him. When I made an event that was more geared towards my style, he backed out.

The final incident occurred after Chip became supremely pissed. The Yes Man had tried to confront Chip and Mama Chip about Chip’s pathological yarns and he was unceremoniously cut off from Chip’s life.

I was at college at the time. By this point I was tired of all the drama. Whenever I wanted to do something, I was shot down, or worse, ignored. I firmly believe that friends should help each other and do things together. Yet, every single thing we did that summer was something that The Yes-Man wanted to do. Feeling excluded, I resolved to make the next summer different, which led to more problems with D-Bow. But more about that later…

Now that Chip (and D-Bow, who had been harboring animosity towards The Yes Man for some time) were cut off, The Yes Man began calling me. Frequently. Whereas he had merely viewed me as a supporting actor, now I became the key to getting back into good graces with Chip and the gang. I offered what advice I could and tried to be polite, but secretly I was angry for being used like that.

In the meanwhile, The Yes Man was working on Marmalade as well. Creepily, he referred to Marmalade as his ‘son’ and bought him a brand new video game, far removed from any holidays, birthdays, or celebrations. He then bought himself the same game and a brand new video game system system, just to play it with him.

The Yes Man even quit his job. His reason for doing so (official reason, mind you, that he gave to his former employer) was that he “wanted to spend more time with [his] son.”

Learning about this, I was angered. I told The Yes Man that his real problem was promising to do things, and then backing out at the last minute. I sent him a long, drawn-out email, with a list of everything he had done wrong. I told him that it was unfair of him to ignore everything I say, and then pretend to be my friend simply to be friends with other people.

The tipping point came when I said that I myself had a few problems with his behavior. He said that, “Yeah, I can’t wait to talk to you, improve your friendship, etc.” I knew he was lying as soon as he said that. I called him at the appointed time (that he appointed) and he said, “Hey, yeah, I’m going to work now.”

After my email, I was accused of ‘living in the past’ and ‘focusing on trivial things.’ He accused me of bullying, forcing my friends to do what I wanted to do. He was angry, and said that I tried to make that day at the amusement park “all about me.” (To be fair, that day was my going away party.)

However, these things weren’t trivial to me. They were all, in fact, important to me, but because they weren’t important to The Yes Man, he declared they were trivial.

The Aftermath

The Yes Man eventually did make up with Chip and became friends with him somewhat, but by this time, Marmalade was his big target. The Yes Man promised to give Marmalade his old car and continued to shower him with money, gifts, and affection. It was during this time that he quit his second job.

Creepy.

It wasn’t destined to last. One day, Marmalade’s girlfriend called him. The Yes Man angrily asked Marmalade, “Who was that?” Most of us now believe that he was somewhat jealous of Marmalade’s girlfriend and the attention that she stole from him. Marmalade, sick of The Yes Man slighting his girlfriend, said, “Oh, my Mom.”

To save money, both Marmalade and The Yes-Man were on the same phone plan at the time. The Yes Man checked his phone records, saw that Marmalade lied, and was passive-aggressively furious. As the owner of the account, he cancelled Marmalade’s cell phone service. To add insult to injury, he pulled all of this one Marmalade’s birthday. Marmalade was furious, and The Yes-Man, seeing what a hole he had dug, repeatedly apologized, even going as far as to buy Marmalade a full-size trampoline the day after the incident.

However, the damage was done. Marmalade’s girlfriend was never a fan of The Yes Man. One ultimatum from her, and it was over. Marmalade repented, told D-Bow and I that he was a completely different person around The Yes Man. Chip and The Yes Man drifted apart, and I haven’t seen or hear from him since.

In the short term, The Yes Man made it much harder for me to trust Chip and almost ripped D-Bow’s family asunder. The last time he was mentioned, Chip merely said, “He doesn’t come around anymore” to which I replied, “Good.” The Hump said that he saw him at a bar, and despite the fact that The Yes Man never had an issue with The Hump, The Hump was ignored. Apparently The Yes Man still looks like a molester though.

What I Learned

Basically, I should have just left him alone. If I ignored him or just listened to him there would have been far less drama. Instead, I wrote him a long, damming email. Truth is, people won’t change unless they want to. If you tell someone he’s being an asshole, he’s just going to scream at you. He’ll only change his behavior if he recognizes that it’s wrong and wants to change himself. My email was futile.

The Yes-Man was pranked repeatedly by D-Bow and Chip. Due to the email, I was blamed, and The Yes Man threatened me with legal action via a friend-of-a-friend, allegedly ‘just to scare me.’ I’ll admit, it worked a bit and it was a concerned for some time. If I had never confronted him so completely, he would still be out of everyone’s lives, due to his own asshattery, and I would be sans some stress.

Now, over two years after the incident, the statute of limitations has expired. Since The Yes Man has not gone to the police, he cannot press charges against me or my friends, and I can feel comfortable telling this story. I learned to leave these people – especially the seemingly unhinged ones – alone, and not to provoke them.

Ride Along!

I am bored.

This may be a surprising statement, given my lack of postings. Well, I took the Military Aptitude (ASVAB) test, and passed with a perfect score. During the physical test, I said that I had a benign heart murmur.

HAD.

Seven years ago, to be exact. It went away after a month.

Due to this, I have to provide the original documentation, get an EKG, get a whole mess of paperwork, the whole nine yards. The Air Force Recruiter got pissed, so I am talking to the Navy now.

Anyways, I decided to get a part-time job, mostly out of boredom. Simply eating, sleeping, and going to the gym just hasn’t been cutting it for me lately.

My aunt showed me an advert regarding a “free tax class” at Liberty Tax Services. I decided to stop there, but found out that the tax class was finished for the season. Instead, he said they had marketing positions available, and I said I might be interested.

If you live in an area with a Liberty Tax office, you might think of this.

You might be thinking of the statuesque greeters, who are paid to stand outside of every single office and wave to passerby. You would think that this is the position disguised by the “marketing” label, that this minimum-wage job would be the offer I was being given.

But oh, it was so much worse.

Later that night, I was offered a chance to go out with one of their marketers, allegedly to see if I would be interested in the position. Having nothing better to do, I accepted.

And thus began the ride-along.

I went to the tax office and was immediately asked to don a statue of liberty costume. Now, if they needed someone for the night shift, that was OK. I would not to opposed to waving at cars for a few hours each day out of boredom.

Unfortunately, here is a description of the job that I was to do:

“Drive around in the Liberty Tax van to local area businesses. Hand out coupons and candy to people, and try to convince the cashiers/bartenders to stock some coupons on their counters. The coupons are $50 off, and $50 for the referrer, but the referrer must write their name and phone number on the back of the coupon.”

In a statue of liberty outfit. Luckily I picked one with a full frontal face mask to conceal my identity (I claimed that I picked it to keep my head warm).

I met “Jane,” the other “marketer.” Her first stop, predictably, was a bar which I frequent on wing night. In the eternal words of Jane, “The owner of this bar is friends with the owner of Liberty Tax, and we had our after-tax party there last year. It should be an easy one.”

Jane immediately proved her worth by parking in the wrong lot, which is supposed to only be used “for fire company events.” She missed at least two signs on her way in before finally turning the massive van around. When she finally figured out where to park, she made at least two wrong turns. There is an alley between that bar and another bar. She walked down the alley and between the two, made a left instead of a right, and started peeking in the window of the other bar, wondering why ours wasn’t open, wondering why the lights weren’t on, didn’t we just drive past this place, weren’t all the signs on? I pointed behind me, to the brightly lit, familiar place we had passed on the way in.

At the first bar, the bartender (who I’ve never met, thank god) said that we weren’t allowed to solicit there. We left, and Jane was confused!

“I don’t get it! The owner is friends with the owner of Liberty! Why don’t they just take our coupons? Why did she say that the LCB (Liquor Control Board) doesn’t allow soliciting? Why did she say that? They are friends, it doesn’t make any sense!”

Of course, a logical person would wonder how the bartender is supposed to know about this relationship; and if they were friends, why wouldn’t the owner do it himself?

At the next bar, the owner immediately told us that she “wasn’t interested” in what we were selling, but accepted some coupons. She also asked if I was 21 (I’m 26).

After we left, Jane commented, “I can’t believe she asked me if I was 21! Do I look like I’m under 21?? That hasn’t happened in a long time!”

Of course, I was being asked the question, but Jane couldn’t comprehend it.

After this particular bar, Jane told me that she wrote down the name and location of each place, along with a brief note about it. With that particular pub, Jane also wrote a “2” in a certain column. I asked her about it.

“Oh, we give each place a rating! Like, “one” means that they would do ANYTHING for Liberty, and “ten” means that they are the most horrible people in the world.”

She had a two in every column, and under that particular bar, she wrote “happy to see us.” She even had a two under my bar.

At a pizza place, she grabbed a few menus. She told the cashier that they might order pizza from her someday, so that both businesses would benefit.

As we were getting into the van, she told me that Liberty gives out little gift baskets with local coupons in order to help area businesses and develop good faith. Now, why wouldn’t they tell the businesses that from the get-go? This was one of many contradictions that I witnessed that night.

Jane would constantly comment on how dark it is. “Why is it so dark? You would think they’d put more lights here.”

It was seven o’clock at night. And she forgot to turn on the van’s lights at least twice.

At an Italian restaurant, she again peeked in the window.

“There are too many people here! We don’t have enough candy for everyone…”

I imagined going table-to-table at this restaurant, dressed as Lady Liberty and trying to shill candy like the homeless do in Korea.

Jane was at a loss for words, until she cheerfully decided that she simply wouldn’t tell her boss that we stopped there. Thank god!

She made sure to grab a few menus on the way out.

We were about to drive past a beer distributor, and I told her about it.

“Really? I didn’t know there was one here. We market this area pretty heavily, so that’s good to know.”

“Just make a right at the next light,” I said.

She made the right. On her left-hand side, right in her field of vision, was the distributor, with a big green “BEER” sign lit up on the front of the building.

Jane drove right past it. I had to tell her about this, and she had to turn around.

“When I train people, I usually wait until they’re ready to give out coupons,” she continually chirped.

“Training,” I thought. Wow. I thought I was just doing a ride-along.

I made an excuse about having to get back. The owner and workers said that I could start next week. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that no, I do not want to walk into area businesses and give them coupons for a tax service that has horrific reviews. Overpriced, have to PAY FOR the “free tax classes.” Come to think of it, I may have dodged a bullet there.

Should I have taken this job? They could make it much better in every conceivable way.

  • The marketers could dress professionally.
  • They could type out the name of the business on the back of the coupon, instead of making them do all the work. This would also give them an incentive to give out the coupons.
  • They could speak directly to the owners, instead of dealing with workers who don’t deal with the management of the business.
  • They could offer a FREE COUPON CLASS and have the owners make coupons for Liberty to give out.
  • They could use a tablet to track what businesses were visited, when, and whether they accept coupons. That way, they could hit those businesses every six months instead of spraying and praying with coupons. In addition, their records were all jumbled together in manila envelopes, and I get the feeling that “Jane” would end up going to the same businesses repeatedly and wear them out.

I’d rather work at Wal-Mart for a while.

And you were expecting a movie review.

Sorry, but I would have much rather seen that, too.

Old Friends 4 Sale, Part Eight: D-Bow and the Besh

Disclaimer: This entire post is about something that happened in high-school, or post-high school. Names are fictitious but the stories are real. The main purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences, but at the same time, I am forced to play ‘catch-up’ with memories of the past. I’ve always been a fan of history, more of the stories than the names and dates. So, I think that writing them down is a way of dealing with them. All of these situations are far in the past, and if I met any of the people in these stories in real life, I would be civil.

Also, I’m thinking of doing an entire series like this, where I analyze and dissect interactions such as these. I think it would help me spot some of my own flaws, maybe help others, and possibly entertain others as well. What do you think? Too whiney? Or good entertainment? Let me know.

Other posts in this series:
Part 1: The Biatch
Part 2: The Wannabe Redneck
Part 3: The Necromancer and the Caliwhornian
Part 4: The Spaz
Part 5: Jay-Z
Part 6: The Bimbo
Part 7: The Psycho
Part 8: The Yes Man
Part 9: D-Bow and the Besh
Part 10: The Dominican Diva

I have already formulated an exceptionally long introduction to these torrid, dramatic posts here, in Part 1, so please read over it before judging. I could have copy-and-pasted it here, but that seems tacky.

Also, just a warning: some people, in the past, have accused me of ‘being dramatic’ or ‘living in the past.’ Looking over some of these old posts, and my old actions, yes, some of the things I said were long-winded, and yes, some of my words were hurtful. At the time, (and to a large degree, currently) I maintain that I tried my best to be a rational, good friend to them. Sometimes I blathered on in making my case, but I truly wanted to remain friends with most of these people.

If anything, I was a bit too passionate (which some people might synonymize with dramatic I suppose). I expected people to be rational. I tried to either help my friends avoid unpleasant situations or make them better people, and above all, I hoped they all valued friendship as much as I did. We were all young, mistakes were made on all sides, and I shouldn’t have set the bar as high as I did. Simply put, people aren’t perfect. These experiences helped me weed out a few rotten, false friends and made me a better judge of character; thanks to them, I know what true friends are, and have accumulated a small circle of ‘real people’ who I can trust and who trust me.

With that introduction, I bring you the story of

D-Bow and The Besh

The Introduction

D-Bow was a good friend. He went to school with Chip, whom I had known from intramural soccer in my elementary school days. I first met him on Christmas Eve, around 2003 or so, when he planned a movie night at his house. He was zany, over-the-top, ridiculous. He had my exact style of humor. I was a little shy at first, but eventually I began participating in his antics. Dancing through the aisles at Wal-Mart. Making random noises in parking lots. Screaming out of car windows. Riding on the children’s ride at Toys R Us. Harmless fun really.

Our crown jewel were the flea markets. We would go there and find the dumbest items to buy. D-Bow had a system where he’d walk up and give the weirdest item he could find a random name. Example: How much for the red-haired baby terrifying machine? (a clown). Often the vendors would ignore this ridiculousness, but sometimes they played along. He’d ask prices for cars, dogs, and chairs, even (especially) if the vendor was sitting in them.

The best experience was the sombrero weekend. It was a hot, sunny Sunday when we pulled into the Circle Drive-In Move Theater/Flea Market. Vendors were everywhere. Immediately, D-Bow bought a sombrero, and proceeded to dance around the flea market, buying Thai bathrobes and wearing them in the heat. Those were some of the best memories of mine, actually.

The Besh was D-Bow’s fiance. She seemed alright.

The Build-Up

What could lead us to part ways, you might ask?

Truth be told, there were many underlying issues between D-Bow and I, but I downplayed them in the name of our friendship. I did try to talk to him about it, but he ignored me. Come to think of it, when I tried to bring it up, he immediately asked me if I was gay, then told me it was OK if I was. I suppose that was his way of avoiding the issue.

Here’s the big one: During my senior year of college, I was uncertain of my future. Military? Peace Corps? Tortuga? I didn’t know if I’d be leaving my hometown for good. In fact, it might have been the last ‘summer vacation’ that I ever had! For the previous twenty-two summer vacations, I’d lacked the time, car, motivation, company, or knowledge to explore. After talking to my sister, I wanted to go everywhere.

I wanted to go to parks, museums, small stores, abandoned buildings, swimming holes, train yards, historical sights, restaurants. I wanted to experience my area, rich with history but largely bereft in modern times.

There was a problem, though. Everyone just wanted to keep drinking, like they were still in college.

In fact, during the previous summer, D-Bow had avoided doing anything that I wanted to go. When I wanted to go to a state park, he kept saying maybe until the last minute, then declining in the eleventh hour. Our good friend was forced to move to Texas, and I wanted to visit him. He was all for going, until I found a flight and a rental car place. I asked for money for his flight reservation, and then he started the delay tactics. He kept saying, “Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know if I have the money for that.”

Later that month, he promptly bought the limited edition version of the PS3 game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (in case you don’t know, it cost over $100 and included night-vision goggles). Money clearly wasn’t that big a problem for him.

That summer, I figured it would be better to put my ideas on the table beforehand. I made a Facebook event, with a laundry list of what I wanted to do. Wading through countless college spam events, even today I found it, feeling nostalgia tinged with regret. Before I post my list, read and reflect upon the following excerpt (italics added for emphasis):

I know that summer is a busy time, people have work, and it’s generally a difficult time to plan things out. I just want everyone to know, if you don’t want to go to one of these events, you are not obligated to do so. If you have no time to go, tell me ahead of time. I won’t hold it against you if you aren’t interested or can’t make it, but I will be a little upset at you if you
(a) say you’re too tired the morning of (Chip),
(b) say you’re too drunk (name redacted), or
(c) last but CERTAINLY not least, refuse to give me a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer (D-Bow).

You see the part where I say that people have different interests, and might not want to go? You see where I say that I understand if a person doesn’t want to go, but just don’t want my friends lying to me? The part where I say that the last thing I want to hear is people being flaky? Good, because apparently D-Bow did not see that.

My magnum opus.

D-Bow ignored this event. I repeatedly asked him to look at it, but only after physically giving him my computer and pointing at the screen did he read it. Over the phone, he claimed that “Hey Ghost, I can’t wait to do all of these things with you!” Just by the tone of his voice, his false enthusiasm, I could, sadly, tell that he was lying.

Later, friends told me that he kept complaining about me behind my back. “Hey guys, I can’t believe the Ghost is making us do all this stuff!” Reading comprehension is obviously a failure for him.

Let’s take a closer look at the list. To be fair, some things were done:

  1. Go to a particular ice cream stand.
  2. Go to a particular diner.
  3. Go to a flea market.
  4. Go to the Northeast Fair.
  5. Visit a certain town that we’ve never been to.
  6. Go to the Moxie Festival.
  7. Go to Warped Tour.

Let’s look at what we didn’t do:

  1. Have a party at my farm.
  2. Visit two State Parks, both within an hour’s drive.
  3. Give blood.
  4. Go to an amusement park/a drive-in movie. (I ended up doing this, on my birthday, with only one friend.)
  5. Do something for my birthday. (Same as #4 I suppose.)
  6. Go to two bars. (One of which was very close to his house.)
  7. Go to a punk rock club (Which later closed before I had a chance to go there.)
  8. Go to a different amusement park.
  9. Eat at a particular restaurant.
  10. Have a movie night.
  11. Mortal Kombat: The Drinking Game!
  12. Play soccer at a local, weekly open-soccer event.
It’s useful to examine what we accomplished from that list. On the list of accomplishments, the first four were extremely easy ones to do. In fact, the first three were things that D-Bow was interested in doing anyways. The fourth and sixth I did by myself, and the seventh one we did due to a fortuitous coupling of good bands, which we both liked. The fifth one, visiting a new town, was something that we did together as well. D-Bow kept putting it off, though, so I didn’t think he was serious; when he called me, the day before the Moxie Festival, and said he wanted to go, nut I was hesitant to even leave my house. It was a two-hour drive, and I thought he might just sit on his ass and put off going, later (of course) claiming that he had actually made an effort. I waited two hours, during which he had to literally convince me that yes, he was actually being serious, and yes, he actually wanted to go and was waiting for me.

The reason this made me mad wasn’t the fact that he didn’t want to do things, which I can totally understand. It wasn’t the fact that some things were left undone, which I can also understand (it was a long list).

It was the fact that he lied to me. He kept hyping it up, saying how he wanted to do everything on the list. Whenever I tried to actually make a plan, he would suddenly, at the last minute, lie and excuse his way out of going. As evidenced by my the pre-Moxie trip, I wasn’t entirely sure if he was serious half the time.

I’m OK with having a difference of opinion. I’m OK with people having different things that they like to do. But I didn’t want to spend my last summer at home either drinking and playing video games or drinking and playing beer pong. It wasn’t my style. Real friends, in my opinion, should be able to compromise. They should maybe do a few things they don’t want to, in the name of friendship. I went to plenty of parties with him, but he never returned the favor.

Bottom line: I couldn’t trust him to be honest with me, and I felt that he was using me simply to enhance his good time.

I could have let everything slide, but the one event that I really wanted was the amusement park trip, on my birthday no less. The park in question is cheap, nearby, and has the best food out of any amusement park in the US (literally – it’s won the award for the past twelve years). I estimated that it would cost about twenty bucks in tickets (the park has free admission, so if you really want to save money, you don’t even have to go on any rides), ten bucks in food, and another ten for the drive-in movie (six for the ticket and more for popcorn or whatnot). All told, it would be about forty bucks for the whole day.

The day before the event, here is what I found in my inbox:

“Ghost, I would really love to have attended this, but unfortunately I do not have anything close to enough funds. I truly hope that you understand my personal situation with a wedding, apartment, in between jobs, and struggling to buy food for dinner, furthermore my fiance is working 6 am to midnight just to save money for our endeavors. I will have a paycheck wednesday and hopefully we can do something fun and crazy before you leave. If anything changes with this schedule of events or we decide to do something closer to home please let me know. I truly hope you understand.”

I had offered to cover him for that day. He got paid on Wednesday, and could have sent me the money, so I didn’t understand why it was a big deal. I really wanted my friends to go with me, but only one did. The Hump had work, which I can understand, and Chip was at school, which is also a valid excuse. But it was my birthday, for crying out loud.

This excuse really caused me to look at him differently. He was playing the victim card and I didn’t like it. In fact, after I left for Korea, he posted on his Book of Faces that he had purchased “a huge TV, a brand new refrigerator (full of Dr. Pepper), a very extensive cable package (according to my friends, this includes the NY Yankees channel), and wireless internet.”

Of course, all of this pales in comparison to

The Incident

He and the Besh were getting married in October, two months after I left for Korea. I planned on going. I got the tuxedo fitted. Something might happen, I thought. Maybe a problem with the job, maybe an accident, maybe I could convince them to let me take a vacation (it wasn’t in the contract, but maybe if I was a good employee they’d let me take a few days off).

Of course, in Korea this is quite hard to do.

I couldn’t get vacation. I almost failed training and went home in disgrace. If I had failed, then I most certainly could have gone to the wedding; it was a close one.

If I wasn’t planning on attending, I wouldn’t have paid almost thirty bucks for the fitting. The only problem was, my job wouldn’t give me time off. I was thinking of a way to tell D-Bow when The Hump messaged me. “Hey, going to the wedding?”

I told him that I was trying to think of a way to tell D-Bow, but knew he would ‘piss and moan’ about it. I told The Hump that I could not take any time off of work, and as such I could not attend his wedding. Since I had no free days, I would be spending the money on a new laptop instead (mine had broken). The Hump wanted to let D-Bow know ASAP so he could change his plans, and showed him the message.

Keep in mind that if I had the time off, I would have been there. The lack of time is the real reason I could not attend.

And all hell broke loose.

D accosted me on my FB wall. To paraphrase, he said ‘The Hump is a real man, and you have a small penis. Enjoy the laptop, you’re a horrible friend.’ He seemed to believe that I was trading his wedding in for a laptop.

The Besh was worse. She stated that I had ‘ruined her wedding’ and that she “hope[d] [I] would never make it back to the States.”

I sent what I hoped was a lengthy, reconciliatory email. I basically said, “Hey, I’m sorry. I was stressed, I really wanted to go (why else would I order the tux) but I couldn’t get any time off. That’s the real reason, man. The laptop I mentioned just as an aside.”

D’s response was brief. This was the totality of his response: ‘Don’t take this out on The Hump. Maybe it’ll all blow over, probably no time soon.’

I broke off all contact.

The Aftermath

Surprisingly, a few months later, D emailed me again. A few pleasantries and then he got into the meat of it. He was sorry. He acted childish and wanted to apologize. He overreacted, it was inappropriate and he felt guilty that it happened. I ignored it.

Half a year later, another email. Pleasantries again, then another attempt at contact. This whole incident made him think a lot, He’s trying to be a better person. He handled it wrong, he wants to talk about it. If you don’t want to talk, that’s OK, because what he said was unforgivable. Again, ignore.

At Christmas I got my first vacation in over a year. I headed home to see the family. Chip said that D-Bow said hello, so I decided to send him something. It was tricky, but looking back over the Besh’s post on my Facebook, I managed to find a postcard from my area (not as easy as it sounds) and wrote: “Hey, I made it back to the States! Hope you are well and have a great holiday!” I sent it out from the post office closest to their house.

The Hump wanted me to leave a Darko Milicic bobblehead on his porch (a popular flea market penalty), but actually going there was too much of a stretch for me. I didn’t want to seem threatening or creepy, just joking. The Hump did it anyway, and D thought it was me, only to have his hopes dashed. Long story short, he sent me another message.

Hey Ghost,

We got your Holiday card today. It put a massive smile on both our faces. I heard that you were in the U.S. but have since left. I hope that you and your family had an amazing holiday. I saw The Hump today, he said that you might be possibly coming home for good in 50 weeks, and sounded like he already couldn’t wait to see you again. I miss you like crazy, and I get the urge to just email you random shit or bounce intelligent questions off of you all the time, and I just miss our friendship more than any email will really say…  Stay safe over there, and if you ever want to email me, or anything, please never hesitate to do so. I miss you..
D
PS- Do you know anything about a Darko flea market penalty on my door step? lol someone put a Darko figure on my door and the first thing that I thought of was you and the epic travels to the fleas. Hope all is well man..
Since then, I’ve been talking to him a bit. He’s been married, moved out of his parents’ place, and even has a kid now. A lot has changed, but after exchanging a few emails, I decided to meet him next time I’m home. Just lunch. I made it clear that things might not ever be the same, and (sadly) we both agreed that the golden days of the flea markets might be behind us.
What I Learned
The biggest thing I learned was that if someone doesn’t want to do something with you, and they’re lying to get out of it, I can’t get upset about that. Truth be told, his past behavior of making excuses had colored my feelings towards him, which led to my snappy reply to The Hump, which led to the FB posts…etc. etc.
Yes, genuine people and genuine friends should be honest, and say if they don’t want to do something. But some people just can’t do that. Maybe they’re afraid of hurting feelings, as D-Bow claimed (long-term I the lies hurt more). In any case, it shouldn’t cloud your judgement. When the FB thing went down, I was in shock, but not overly saddened. I kinda saw a schism happening already. I tried to talk to D-Bow about it a few times but he blew me off. Rather than trying to make him change, I should have just accepted it.
He should have been honest with me in general, and I should have been honest with him about the wedding sooner. We’re both to blame in some aspects, but in this second-to-last entry, at least I didn’t overreact, this time, at least I didn’t jump the gun and spew verbal diarrhea at him online. I simply let the situation cool and tried to move on. And you know what? It worked out!
Over time, rationality will prevail over emotion. But short-term, emotion is hard to overcome; just weather the storm and you’ll be fine.

David Choe on Dating Koreans

Don’t kill the messenger.

I recently came across this article, in which David Choe, a Korean-American artist, describes Koreans (himself included) as “undateable.” In his words,

[Korean women are] overbearing; jealous; unreasonable; like, unrealistic about life; demanding. … But also the men too. If you’re a woman, I would never recommend dating a Korean guy.”

I have met plenty of “cool” Korean women, but they usually have grown up abroad or lived overseas for an extended period.

After dating C, I can see Choe’s point. There’s a culture, obsessed with smartphones and dramas, which emphasizes last-minute planning; making excuses to protect someone’s feelings (which, or course, has the opposite effect); and generally creates unrealistic expectations about dating (most notably that the man should bend over backwards to appease the woman).

Once, I volunteered for the Seoul 48 Hour Film Festival. They were doing a meet-and-greet, party event, where I planned on helping out. On Friday after work, I went there. C texted me midway there, saying that she was waiting for me outside of my apartment. We talked, and I was under the impression that she was going home.

She did not give me a straight answer and, in retrospect, her response was ambiguous. I said I would come back, and she said, “It’s alright, I’m going there now.” I thought she meant her home.

About an hour later, she asks where I am, then gets pissed off and refuses to respond. I hop in a taxi back to the subway station near my house, then walk in the pouring rain for fifteen minutes to meet her. And, of course, it was still my fault.

I’m not a mind-reader. And eventually I got sick of being the only one who was making any effort in our relationship.

But that’s a story for another day.

Up next, pictures from Canada.

Farewell, Korea

I still think South Korea is the better one, though.

Well, that’s all, folks.

I finished my job in late May, traveled to Hong Kong, Thailand, and Japan, then back to Korea to pick up my bags, then two days in LA, two in Philly, a week in Maine and New Hampshire. I’ve been back home for three weeks now.

All of my friends have jobs, with varying schedules, and I’m the only one with free time. Well, that’s assuming that helping my father fix up the farm (twenty years and counting) isn’t a full-time job, which it basically is. Free labor for room, board, and medical, can’t complain too much about that deal.

The hiking and outdoors stuff I wanted to do is a passion not shared by most of my friends, although they might give it a shot if they had the time off. I guess it beats the daily drudgery of self-drugging with drinking in Korea, though.

C, my longtime girlfriend, has been contacting me less and less. Even in Korea, we only met twice a month. Often she would cancel plans with me to ‘go to her friend’s child’s first birthday party’ or because ‘her father called and wanted her to help him move’ or because she had ‘private tutoring.’ I set her up with Skype, and she was supposed to call me yesterday. However, she flaked. I haven’t heard from her in two days, and I’m not stupid enough to miss the hint.

I don’t know how I feel about leaving Korea, exactly.

On the one hand, I miss Korean food, a reasonable income where I could save some paper, my friends and girlfriend. I liked my students, had no problem with my boss, and everything was peachy.

On the other hand…

…well, my girlfriend often changes her mind at the last moment. My vacation to Thailand? I took it because she said she was going to go to New Zealand for ‘maybe a year.’ Then her plans changed. She doesn’t want to live in Korea forever, but remains a servant to her family and her boss, who downgraded her vacation from two weeks to one Friday. I had expected her to visit me…

Like her planned vacation, her mind often changes at the last moment, and she is incapable of planning ahead. She wants to travel, but can’t plan for it. She always ends up giving money to her father or her mother, and is in a state of perpetual debt.

I wish she would just go back to being a nurse, not put up with her boss, get her international nursing license, and move abroad. Although perhaps it’s too late.

I won’t miss the racism.

Yes, racism. I know it’s less obvious than it was in the Deep South, but it exists.

Try taking a subway with a Korean girlfriend, with the murderous adjeossis (old men) glaring at you for thirty minute blocks. Try speaking English on the subway, and being told to “learn Korean” or “be quiet” – then witness a drunk adjeossi screaming his lungs out, and nobody bats an eye.

Try being a foreign woman in South Korea, with the public gropages, or having drunk men try to drag you away at night. Try listening to the cops, who will ask you to forgive the attacker to ‘save face’ for Korea.

Try reading the papers every day, where unqualified reports about “unqualified foreign instructors” abound. Try being accosted by intoxicated men at night, or even stabbed (as my friend The Soldiers was) because you are dating a Korean woman.

Often in Korea, this racism manifests itself as nationalism. If an ethnic Korean who teaches English is caught with drugs, the headlines scream, “Native English teacher selling drugs.” In Korean society, Koreans can never be totally guilty of anything, and are brainwashed into hating Japan and loving Samsung at an early age.

During a debate on American soldiers in Korea, every group wanted them to leave. One girl said that they shouldn’t be in Korea, because ‘they’re not pure-blooded.’

I won’t miss the culture.

Specifically, the drinking culture.

Korea has a problem with drinking. Like Russia, hard alcohol is incredibly cheap, and Korean social/corporate culture encourages near-daily benders. I used to take a two-hour walk after work, and once I ran across three passed-out adjeossis. On a Tuesday night. Not even in the bar part of town. One was alone, one had a friend trying to help him, and one was being assisted by a cop.

I went into work at 3:20 once, to witness a younger man passed out in the stairwell. At 3:20. In the afternoon.

The students were set to arrive in a half hour.

Luckily, the handyman was on duty, and he took care of the guy. Dude’s head was between two banisters in the stairwell, and at first I thought he was dead.

(Student walks in late)
Me: So Sally, why were you late?
Sally: There was a man lying on the floor of the elevator. I think he was drunk.
Me: Oh….

I remember going on a ski trip once. It was sponsored by a local bar, who promised that it was “all-inclusive.”

We left at 8:30, got our gear, and hit the slopes around 1:30. No breakfast, no lunch. I opted for evening skiing, so I didn’t finish until 7:30.

I trudged back to the pension, where everyone was already proceeding to imbibe. The bartender kept wanting me to drink and drink, but after a gut-bereft day of skiing, I was ready to eat dinner and pass out. The “ski trip” was really just a drinking trip with skiing on the side.

Most group trips I’ve taken in Korea have been along the same lines. Maybe it’s just foreigners who finished college and wanted to continue college.

Back home, I’ve done a few small roofs. Today we’re cleaning out under the porch. We are going to put a screen up to keep the leaves out, and maybe fill it in with concrete or gravel.

Next week we are going to tear down an old shed and former smithy that’s rotting apart.

I’ve been trying to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s a bit less fun by myself. Perhaps I need some new friends to share my goals with.

I’ve also gotten back into soccer. Twenty bucks a week, which includes the Gatorade, gas, and fee. I’m quite out of shape, but I want to be the best I can. When there’s less work outside, I hope to go back to the gym, this time without a job so I can make my own hours.

I want to be the best I can be. Korea was fun, but there was no advancement in my life. I was spinning my wheels, doing the same thing for years at a time, with a girlfriend who claimed to love me but whom I saw less and less as our relationship progressed.

It was time to start fresh. I still have hope that C changes her mind, but at this point I’m prepared for the worst.

Old Friends 4 Sale, Part Seven: The Psycho

Disclaimer: This entire post is about something that happened in high-school, or post-high school. Names are fictitious but the stories are real. The main purpose of this blog is to chronicle my experiences, but at the same time, I am forced to play ‘catch-up’ with memories of the past. I’ve always been a fan of history, more of the stories than the names and dates. So, I think that writing them down is a way of dealing with them. All of these situations are far in the past, and if I met any of the people in these stories in real life, I would be civil.

Also, I’m thinking of doing an entire series like this, where I analyze and dissect interactions such as these. I think it would help me spot some of my own flaws, maybe help others, and possibly entertain others as well. What do you think? Too whiney? Or good entertainment? Let me know.

Other posts in this series:
Part 1: The Biatch
Part 2: The Wannabe Redneck
Part 3: The Necromancer and the Caliwhornian
Part 4: The Spaz
Part 5: Jay-Z
Part 6: The Bimbo
Part 7: The Psycho
Part 8: The Yes Man
Part 9: D-Bow and the Besh
Part 10: The Dominican Diva

I have already formulated an exceptionally long introduction to these torrid, dramatic posts here, in Part 1, so please read over it before judging. I could have copy-and-pasted it here, but that seems tacky.

Also, just a warning: some people, in the past, have accused me of ‘being dramatic’ or ‘living in the past.’ Looking over some of these old posts, and my old actions, yes, some of the things I said were long-winded, and yes, some of my words were hurtful. At the time, (and to a large degree, currently) I maintain that I tried my best to be a rational, good friend to them. Sometimes I blathered on in making my case, but I truly wanted to remain friends with most of these people.

If anything, I was a bit too passionate (which some people might synonymize with dramatic I suppose). I expected people to be rational. I tried to either help my friends avoid unpleasant situations or make them better people, and above all, I hoped they all valued friendship as much as I did. We were all young, mistakes were made on all sides, and I shouldn’t have set the bar as high as I did. Simply put, people aren’t perfect. These experiences helped me weed out a few rotten, false friends and made me a better judge of character; thanks to them, I know what true friends are, and have accumulated a small circle of ‘real people’ who I can trust and who trust me.

With that introduction, I bring you the story of

The Psycho

The Introduction

The Psycho was my former manager at Dairy Queen (DQ). He was shorter than me (and I’m only 5’8″), stout, and balding. According to DQ’s rules, there needed to be two certified DQ managers, and one had to be present at all times.

Suffice to say, there weren’t.

The other manager, “G,” was just the assistant manager and worked in the mornings. The Psycho should have been working on the night shift every night (according to Dairy Queen’s regulations), BUT he also happened to be the manager of Arby’s and a McDonald’s, all three of which were owned by the same guy. As such, The Psycho was often absent, usually only showing up for big-picture stuff (system updates, changing the specials menu, etc) or to create the schedule. The night shift was often staffed by “shift leaders” rather than the manager or the exhausted assistant manager.

The owner’s duties consisted of driving through the drive-thru once a day and ordering a chili cheese dog.

I’ll get to him some other day.

Few people liked The Psycho.

He had gone to a Backstreet Boys Concert with a girl who worked there, and there were rumors that they were “seeing each other,” to put it kindly. Creepiness aside, he could often be abrasive and dickish about the schedule. He drove this Hummerlike vehicle, and whenever he pulled into the lot we would jokingly go to a “Code Blue.”

You know what they say about guys who drive big cars, right? Overcompensation much?

Despite all of these things, I got along with him. We both liked classic rock and had something to talk about. I always said hello and was nice to him, which I guess was more kindness than other employees showed. More importantly, I would do whatever the management asked of me, which was, again, more than I can say of some other coworkers. I would take out the trash, clean the bathrooms, hose out the dumpster, whatever, all without complaint.

My last summer at DQ, I worked from 10-6 from Monday-Thursday, and 10-2 on Fridays. It was the perfect summer schedule.

One summer day, The Psycho had two tickets to see Bon Jovi playing a free show in Central Park. He didn’t want to go, he said, because he had no one to go with.

“I’d go,” I offered, “but I’m working on Saturday.” (This was one of the few times my weekly schedule changed.)

“Who put you on Saturday?” he wondered aloud.

“Well, I think you did,” I joked.

We ended up driving to NYC and seeing Bon Jovi. We didn’t eat all day and were gone for about fourteen hours. After he left the DQ parking lot, I tried to nap in my car. It was too uncomfortable. I ended up driving home, and due to exhaustion don’t recall most of the journey.

The Build-Up

I’m not going to cut any corners here. This one was partially my fault.

I had begun taking certain liberties at work. For instance, there was one guy who didn’t like me, so I used a stinkbomb on him while he was washing the dishes. It was a small capsule that you crush, and it smells like rotten eggs for several minutes.

I had also begun staying later than requested. For instance, many times I would deliberately stay until 7:00 or so. Truthfully, DQ was most busy at lunchtime and at nights, and when I stayed later, it was always because we had started getting busy and the night shift hadn’t arrived yet. But personally, I wanted to get over forty hours, at which point I would be making time and a half.

The Psycho began to get annoyed by this. I was much too comfortable with my job, and I was basically doing as I pleased. This put a strain on our relationship.

The Incident

During Wing Night, some of my coworkers had the bright idea to make a few prank calls. I had gone one a singular date with a girl at work, so I called her and claimed that she had won two tickets to see The Jonas Brothers. She got really excited, and I strung it along for as long as I could. “You were randomly entered because you’re in the fan club.” “You can show ID and pick them up at the ticket office.” Etc, etc. She was TOO excited and kept talking, until finally I exclaimed, “I can’t do this!” and hung up.

Next, one of my friends wanted me to prank call The Psycho.

I refused. I told them it was a bad idea.

Really.

You may think I’m lying, but I’m not.

I didn’t have any problems with him, and didn’t want there to be any.

Well, they decided to do it anyway. They got another friend, gave him the number for Arby’s, and called.

In the phone call, my friend talked to a (slightly perplexed) employee, and told him that The Psycho was wanted “for arson,” and that he should call the police as soon as The Psycho shows up.

Unsurprisingly, due to my previous prank call, I was blamed for this one.

One night, a bird died on the patio of DQ. I went to my house, got a shovel, and buried it. Then I went inside to get a soda, and was confronted.

The Psycho went on a rampage, all but accusing me of making the call. When I said I didn’t, he just said, “Oh, well if you know who did it, make sure you warn them. I don’t know who would be stupid enough to do that, because I’m a psycho.”

Gulp.

My coworker asked the owner about this, but the owner didn’t know anything about the situation. It was just a personal vendetta. Things became more and more uncomfortable at work, The Psycho would barely talk to me and give me weird looks. I began to dread the Code Blues.

During winter break he “forgot” to put me on the schedule. I told one of the assistant managers that I probably wouldn’t come back in the summer as I would be studying abroad (which was true). I left DQ and The Psycho and moved on with my life.

The Aftermath

I never talked to The Psycho again.

I returned to DQ a few times. Most of the people who worked there were my friends, after all, and the other two managers (G and J) liked me. G misses me particularly, because I would always help her out and come to work if someone called off. J even offered to talk to The Psycho, but I didn’t want him to stick his neck out there for me.

Whenever I went to DQ, I would look for that Code Blue in the parking lot. If I had some other business, I would do that first and hope that he left before then. If not, I would go in anyway.

Subtly, I mentioned to a colleague that he could simply bring in that Arby’s employee, who could hear my voice and verify that it wasn’t me. However, said colleague informed me that he was “positive” it was me, so there was no point.

Years after I left, he was still giving me the cold shoulder. Once I surprised him in the drive-thru, and he rolled his eyes and flew up his hands in frustration at my appearance.

Most of my friends have moved on, but I still try to stop by from time to time to see G. I’m waiting for The Psycho to blow up on me again.

What I Learned

I learned a lot from this episode.

  1. Always be polite and professional, especially with your boss.
  2. It doesn’t matter if everyone likes you – if your boss hates you, that’s the rub.
  3. No practical jokes unless you’re certain that someone can handle it.
  4. Perhaps most importantly: Never get a reputation as a nitwit, because peoples’ minds (especially egoists) are impossible to change.

I did make a mistake, but I never admitted any involvement in that incident. I didn’t want my friends to get in trouble, most specifically my coworkers. Well over two years have now passed, and both The Psycho and my friend have remained in the state without criminal charges being filed or police being informed. As the statute of limitations for impersonating a police officer is two years, my friend cannot be charged with this crime at this time, and thus, I feel comfortable relating the story.

Whew! Two more left to go! They are mostly finished, just need a bit of polishing. I’ll be uploading them on a slow day.