Norm

July 7, 2017

This is about an old coworker. A guy I was hired by and hired to stand in for. I spent a couple of weeks in the industry I have worked in for a couple of decades filling in for a guy named Norm and everyone kept telling me, "Wait 'til you meet Norm". But I didn't think anything about it because I'd pretty much held all manhood cheap until it proved itself otherwise.

So two Mondays later it's almost lunchtime and I meet Norm, as he hangs up a phone call (on a landline!) and levitates above the partition between us. And the first words the motherfucker says to me are, "You ever do that, pretend to pick up your wife at lunch and do it?!" and I just stare at him like I'm on the wrong side of the glass at the zoo. And our whole relationship for almost a decade is that, one of us on the other side of the glass not quite hearing the other; we're the two strongest personalities in the room and it sucks for us and it sucks for everyone else and thank God there's someone above us who knows enough to keep us apart because we drive each other and everyone else nuts. I'm a perfectionist who doesn't want to be questioned when he fucks up and Norm becomes a project manager who files a ticket asking why you fucked up, then immediately phones to ask why you haven't responded about that then shows up at your desk to see what a fuck-up looks like while you're looking up how the Do Not Disturb thing works on the phone (seriously, land lines! like old black-and-white movies). So they kept us apart because we were So Different and it went fine and the only time they didn't keep us apart they shipped us to England and Norm was so NORM that it was almost an International Incident and that's about it for my memories. I left, he left, he went back and we saw each other a couple of times in the last decade.

And then last week he killed himself. And fuck me Norm. Because goddamnit I thought we were a lot different and it turns out we were the same. My mom would have called you "Bright Eyes" too because those eyes hide the same fucking poor impulse control, wanting to let someone else in on The Secret. Fuck, I know that secret too and it sucks and I never imagined someone who seemed way cooler knew it and I am broken-hearted that I couldn't have done better by you or anyone else who has those bright eyes that want to tell you it hurts but can't say so because it's An Imposition. This world is rough and for some goddamn reason it keeps getting rougher and fuck me if I will ever be ok with the idea of losing someone who could make it fun sometimes.

So if you're thinking of doing this to me too, fuck you, call me. Because I don't want to sit around for the rest of my life feeling shitty that I didn't do better by you too.

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Tagged: fuck