How was your day at
work?" asks my wife, Fidelity, when I come home, hot and tired.
"Fine," I reply. "Sales
were good, the Gustafson contract was finalized, I met with one of the new
"Snore, snore, snore," she
says, cutting me off. "Cut to the latest gossip. Give me some
She is referring, of course, to the
continuing soap opera being played in my business, complete with a
star-studded cast of employees.
Itís one of the perks of my jobs.
With about 45 employees, I get to hear everything. I am the Don Hopleone
of what amounts to a family business.
And over the years Iíve listened to
some pretty juicy stuff. But Iím not prying, like Fidelity. The
employees voluntarily come to me with their sordid tales. Why? Because Iím
compassionate, wise and sincere?
Nah. Itís usually because they need a
loan to get out of some jam. They feel compelled to shell out details in
exchange for cash.
Because I had no red-hot stories to
entertain Fidelity at the moment, we decided to sit down and award our top
five employee soap operas. With hundreds of entries over the years, it was
not an easy choice. All of the winners are former employees and all
are true stories.
This goes to Doris, a single-woman in her late 30s, who Iíll never
forget bounding into my office one afternoon, huge smile on her face.
"Iíve got some good news and some bad news," she chirped.
"Give me the bad news first,"
"Ok. The bad news is Iím
"Whatís the good news?" I
asked, not without some trepidation.
Her smile got even wider. "Iím
going to have an abortion!"
Thanks for sharing that with me, Doris.
Congratulations go to Ken, who was one of my top managers. He came into my
office one day and sheepishly announced that U.S. Immigration officials
were outside and were hauling him away. It seems Ken was Canadian and in
the United States illegally.
He was carted off to jail. Of course, I
loaned Ken $2,000 to post bail. Of course, Ken jumped bail, fleeing to, of
all places, Canada. I never saw him or my $2,000 again.
Al is the lucky winner. Al was a longtime employee, in his early 60s,
thinking about retirement. A lifelong bachelor, he was a persnickety old
coot who would throw tantrums if his stapler was misplaced. He was, in a
word, incorrigible, and also, everyone assumed, very gay.
Well, next thing you know he decides to
go to Brazil for a vacation instead of his usual retreat to his sisterís
house 40 miles away. While in Brazil, he meets a widowed countess, falls
in love and returns to announce he is quitting to marry the countess and
move to Rio, where they are living happily ever after in her penthouse on
This began with a phone call from Robby, one of my favorite employees Ė
a good kid, but a little wild.
"I wonít be coming in
today," said Robby. "Iím in jail with a little problem."
That Robby, I thought. What a
character. Another wild weekend with his buddies. Probably got drunk and
was caught stealing hubcaps. A day in jail would do him some good.
"What are you in jail for," I asked
shaking my head at his merrymaking.
"Murder," he replied. "They
say I stabbed him but I didnít."
Three years later, Robby was acquitted
of all charges.
Tough to beat an accused murderer, but after much discussion Fidelity and
I selected Sarah, who was a quiet, unassuming and very solid employee.
One day Sarah asked to see me, which
was unusual, because she rarely spoke. "I have a problem," she
whispered, ever so meekly. "I need $2,000."
It had to be a sick grandmother or
something. Sarah was so sweet.
"I have another part-time
job," she blurted. "I place bets for people and I got
It took a few moments, but it dawned on
me. "Youíre a Bookie!!" I cried.
Little Sarah started to sniffle.
"Small time. But Iím getting threatening phone calls from the
bigger bookie. If I donít give them the money by Wednesday I think they
might break my legs."
Now thereís a grand prize