In Which My Old Boss Teaches Me To Maim

When I was in the second grade, my teacher taught me how to use my nails and scratch boys who weren’t leaving me alone.  In retrospect, that wasn’t a good thing to be taught. And I was horrifyingly good at it.  (Sorry, Nathan O! Still friends?)

When I hit college, I worked five jobs (FIVE!) in order to make ends meet.  Little jobs.  I did telephone surveys (sorry, world!), promo for the college, mentoring (sorry, sweet little girls that I must have warped!) tutoring, and I spent two hours a night cleaning the business building on campus.  My first boss there was a darling navy man.  And apparently my wide eyes and blonde hair made him think that I was going to be accosted at every turn.

After I’d clean, he’d spend the last 15 minutes of every night teaching me how to fill a sock with a roll of quarters, swing it over my head, and inflict bodily harm with it.  He’d set up targets and have me take them down.  He taught me to tie a knot in the sock so I could let it fly and knock things down across the room.  Nobody would be safe once my Hanes sock and I were in the ‘hood.  Then he’d make the geeky guy across the hall walk back to the dorms with me.  Probably so I could protect skinny El Geekster from the hoodlums that cased small Utah towns in the dead of night.  Safety first.

My boss was such a sweet, sweet man.  Every time I’d knock the dustpan off the top of the broom, he’d grin at me like I just did the greatest thing in the world.  Although I knew I’d never prowl the area with a white sock, and that every roll of quarters would go to feed the campus washing machine, I enjoyed the lessons. The last day that I worked for him, he patted my shoulder and told me that he trusted me to have his back in any bar fight.  It was delightful.

Do you have any old bosses that you think of fondly?

6 Comments on “In Which My Old Boss Teaches Me To Maim”

  1. I do!! I do!! I worked as a receptionist in a CPA office right after high school. The senior partner, Mr. Schwartz, who was about 70 years old, would come into the office every morning and pat his hand on my desk. This gesture meant he was ready for his coffee and I was to get it to him ASAP. Once I realized that was part of my job, I was shocked that even in the early 1980’s that was still considered “part of the job” and kind of resented the fact that I had to get his coffee. Anyway, after a few months, I learned that he really wasn’t demanding, that was just the way it was, and he was a very sweet, generous man. I had worked there about a year when I needed a new car because my 1974 Chevy Vega was seriously falling apart. I had saved some money and found a beautiful 1979 Mustang and wanted to buy it on credit, of course. However, I was $75.00 short on the down payment (it was a lot of money back then). My parents could not afford to lend me the $75.00 and I REALLY needed a new car. So, Mr. Schwartz said one day, “after work, I want to see the car you want to buy.” I did not understand why he would want to see the car that I couldn’t buy anyway. But after work, we went to the dealership, Mr. Schwartz looked at the car, wrote a personal check for $75.00, patted me on the head (much like he patted my desk every morning) and said “enjoy your car.” I worked there for about two years. Mr. Schwartz became one of my favorite bosses and I’m sure he never knew how much of an influence he was to me.

  2. Ha, thanks, David! “Lively” is a wonderful word. This boss made work very lively. 🙂

    Oh, Anon! What a wonderful story! It genuinely moved me. It seems like we focus on the crazies and weirdos and sickos of society, but there are so many lovely people like your old boss. Thank you for this! I wish I knew who you were. 🙂

    1. Hi Mercedes!! I am “Anonymous” – Lorraine Baxter. I don’t know why it came up “anonymous.” Oh well, thank YOU for your story and making me think of Mr. Schwartz again!!

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