February 17, 2018

I haven’t “weekended” in a while. A few thoughts about stuff goin’ on:

Of course, Florida governor Rick Scott is right: the director of the FBI needs to step down following revelations that the FBI was given plenty of heads-up about that high school shooter. The blood of at least seventeen high school teens is on the FBI’s hands and no one is going to do anything about it? The FBI’s priorities are totally warped. Had they been spending less time going after President Trump and doing the job they should be doing none of this would have happened. Time for the FBI to be disbanded. It’s corrupt from top to bottom, and people are dying needlessly because of it.

I wish Democrats were just as worried about the lives of babies killed out of the womb as they are about those killed by guns. Sorry, Senator Harris, but you’re a moron (no surprise there, being from California): murder is murder, no matter how you slice it.

Just my opinion, but most of this stuff going on nowadays is because of social media. What social media has done – and you can look at Twitter, Facebook, and sites like Twitchy – is to give nobodies an inflated sense of who they are and that their opinion matters. I got news for all you – it doesn’t. People can ignore or follow this blog – I don’t care one way or the other, honestly – but I never think that I’m any more than one guy with an opinion. It’s like they say, opinions are just like a$$holes – everyone’s got one. But when you start cultivating followers and think you have an audience that is waiting with baited breath on every nonsensical and moronic comment you think is important, then in my view that’s a problem.

…which is why the time has come to arrest anyone who makes any kind of threats of any kind against anyone on social media. Period. And I’m talking zero tolerance here. No one’s freedom of speech includes the threat to harm people.

What social media does is give all these attention-seeking wackos out there who are nothing but blackheads on the face of humanity a reason to play copycat and feel important by taking their anger out on the lives of innocents. There’s a sickness in this society, and you can blame liberalism for it. The idea of God and sin and boundaries and a culture of life has been replaced by soullessness, evil, emptiness, and a culture of death.

My generation of baby boomers have taken the whole idea of “if it feels good it must be right” and passed it on to the next generation to the extreme. This whole transgender bull$hit thing that’s going on is just one example of it. The whole idea of needing to carve out a unique identify for yourself because you don’t like the one God gave you is the ultimate sacrifice of one’s self on the altar of self-importance and narcissism. You look at what’s going on at the college campuses and wackos shooting up schools simply to make a statement about their own anger, isolation, and loneliness are all the same thing: it’s about the importance of how you feel about yourself and the hell with everyone else. It’s a sick society, and I hate to say it, but nothing better is coming down the pike. It’s evil, hedonism, and the individual self no matter how extreme that this country now celebrates.

…and you can’t eliminate Hollywood and the progressive-entertainment industry complex as a cause and effect. Hollywood loves gun control but has no problem with splattering blood all over its films. And you put impressionable young people and realistic video games in front of people with access to guns and what’s the logical next step?

It’s all very sad to me. You look at the state of this country and you realize it’s never going back to the way it once was. I’m glad I’m 62 because I don’t want to live in a world like this where I’ve got more sunrises than sunsets. It just bothers me that when I’m older and more decrepit and am inside some health-care facility and need my bedpan emptied that some pimply dope will ignore me because he’s texting his entire shift away on his stupid iPhone or whatever is around at the time, thinking that everything he’s tossing out on the Internet actually matters.

On a lighter note, watched Tiger Woods hack his way around another course today and miss the cut. Golf Channel might be afraid to call Tiger out, but I won’t: he’s got two-way misses off the tee and at his age won’t be able to grind it around a course for four rounds depending on his short game and his putter. Maybe on some wide-open tracks in Florida he can get away with that schtick, but not on most of the PGA TOUR event courses, and certainly not on courses where majors are played. And most certainly not with the reams of talent that’s out there.

And I can’t leave this post without thinking that maybe Bob Marley had the right idea: kick back, smoke a bone, and just watch the palm trees sway while thinking about your relationship with Jah.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:37 | Comments (0)
February 15, 2018

…being on a Beatles kick lately, if you want to just let loose you can’t do much worse than these:

Paul McCartney’s “Smile Away” from 1971′s Ram. Great song, great album. The bass line absolutely smolders.

George Harrison’s “Wah Wah” from All Things Must Pass. Total Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” production. That’s George on the slide throughout and Eric Clapton playing wah-wah guitar and sharing licks with George during the instrumental break.

John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth” and “I don’t Want To Be A Soldier” from 1971′s Imagine. Both feature stinging George Harrison leads, BTW…

McCartney’s “Give Ireland To The Irish” is a great piece of garage grunge that I wish he did a lot more of.

It’s kind of amazing to look back on the first years after the Beatles’ break-up and see the Fabs operating at such a high level. These were all great albums, easily in the top 100 of all-time.

…but now I’m starting to think about other songs that I think are worthy of blowing a speaker:

The Guess Who’s “Star Baby” from 1974′s Road Food, which absolutely rocks…

…as does “Heartbroken Bopper” From 1972′s very underappreciated Rockin’! Man, could Kurt Winter play some axe. Just as worthy as Randy Bachman, in my opinion.

…and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sweet Hitchhiker” from 1972′s Mardi Gras.

…And how about Badfinger’s 1970 smash “No Matter What”. Man, I just love that tune.

..and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” from Rumours goes without saying. It’s a bravado band performance with Mick Fleetwood’s drums, Lindsay Buckingham’s guitar solo, and Stevie Nicks’ harmonies top notch.

…and “Seven Wonders” From Tango In The Night” is as good as it gets. And the raccoon eyes featured by Christine McVie in the video are awesome!

…Pink Floyd’s “Sheep” from 1977′s Animals has one of the great outros ever with those David Gilmour bone-crushing chords.

…and Gilmour’s guitar intro to “Learning To Fly” is a great riff, no matter how you slice it.

And how could you not include Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” and “Powderfinger” from 1979′s Live Rust? Two absolute classics. The latter’s line, “So the powers that be left me here to do the thinkin’” cuts very deep right now as far as my dad’s situation is concerned. I live it each day.

Play them all loud and you won’t be disappointed.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comment (1)
February 14, 2018

So we’re just about halfway through February and I’m living dual existences. Last week it was Massachusetts and snow-covered ground and below-freezing temps (at least at night). This week it’s Arizona with the pool, the palm trees, and a dry winter that shows little sign of getting wet anytime soon. Next week it’s back to Massachusetts again, and this time I guarantee I won’t forget to bring my black leather jacket! It’s pretty bad when you show up in Massachusetts in mid-winter having to borrow a coat from one of your friends.

But isn’t that what friends are for? Thanks Paul!

We have it so easy here. I walked down to the mailbox at the end of the street Monday night in my bare feet, lounge pants and a T-shirt. No dirt, slush, or cold concrete beneath my feet. No need to grab a coat. Not even a passing thought about ice or falling on your ass. There was a breeze rustling the palms, and the waterfowl in the lake on the other side of our subdivision wall chattered under the gray skies. Just something you would take for granted if you weren’t careful. I don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.

Our feathery acacia bush on the west side of the house is always the harbinger of spring. It has its first blooms, so spring has gotta be on its way.

Visited the doctor today, he didn’t like the way I looked or sounded. He’s now got me on a new regimen of antibiotics and some kind of steroid, and I have to get my chest X-rayed. Lots of fluids and bed rest as well. Which is good, because I really can’t keep living like this. I’ve had the flu in the past, but the cough and shakiness have never lasted this long. All I can say is, while my relationship with my work has changed there’s still nothing like working out of your own home. It’s been hard to stay focused at work, and when I lay down in the afternoon for a nap it’s like I haven’t slept in days. If I was working out of an office I couldn’t do that, that’s for sure!

I’m looking forward to the Red Sox starting up. Although I don’t know much about their new manager, Alex Cora, just the thought of no more “Manager John” Farrell is enough to make me feel optimistic. Sure, the Yankees are loaded this year, but championships are seldom, if ever, won on paper.

I’ll admit to having watched none of the Winter Olympics, and I don’t plan to. Just watching the Yahoo! News of the day and everything being made political and anti-Trump makes me sick. The amount of disrespect to the Prez and his VP Mike Pence is a disgrace. Whether you liked or voted for Trump or not, he’s the President and the office should be respected. I never liked Barack Obama or his taxpayer-mooching wife, but I would never show either of them disrespect. That shows a lack of taste, class, and appreciation – all qualities our country and culture seem to have forgotten. Not to mention the lack of simple manners.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my generation, the so-called “Boomers” have ruined everything they have touched. You can look at the generation that came before us and, even with their deficiencies, had far more sense of proportion and dignity than my generation has. And we’ve not ruined just about everything we’ve touched, we’ve created a generation of spoiled monsters and precious snowflakes who don’t and won’t know anything about the values and traditions that made this country what it is because my generation has polluted their pointy heads will all this fairness, tolerance and social equality bullshit. Just my two cents’ worth…

A happy Valentine’s Day to all the lovers and loves out there, whomever and wherever you may be. A big HVD to my wonderful wife Tracey!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:06 | Comments (0)
February 12, 2018

Sure, I could be talking about that fab George Harrison hit, but in this case I’m talking about life as it is lived when it is lived. Was talking to my neighbor John who just took a boatload of cash in selling his house to move thirty minutes east of here to be closer to their grandchildren. He’s 66 and he’s telling me there’s really nothing good on the horizon – sure, he can play a little golf and spend some time with the grandkids, but his parents both had Alzheimer’s and he’s planning to call it quits as your everyday handyman next year because his knees ache and his back aches, and he doesn’t recover as quickly now as he did even a year or two ago.

“So what keeps you going?”, he asks me.

“I used to like my job but it’s no longer fun and the people I work for are a bunch of incompetents at best and two-faced assholes at worst.”, says I.

“So what do you do now?”

“Well, I got a great wife and friends who care about me, but otherwise I don’t know.”

See here’s the thing: when my mom was alive there were things to consider in everything you did. For her, family came first and making her happy made me happy. Now she’s gone and it seems to me that the whole bottom of my existence has been yanked from under me. Don’t get me wrong: in some ways it’s a burden off my back that I never asked to have put on me and never really liked. But making her happy made me happy – being the oldest that’s just what you do. So is having that yoke removed a good thing or a bad thing? It’s really neither. It’s just the way it is.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there’s a great emptiness that I can’t get rid of. Or the sense that at 62 years there’s not a whole lot of good that’s going to come down the pike, at least health-wise. I mean, I look at me right now. I can’t even get rid of this crap in my sinuses or in my chest that’s been nagging me for a month now. Granted, it’s a great way to lose ten pounds, but I’m tired of feeling like crap and I can’t go to the gym hacking my brains out – they’d look at me as if I had the plague. I have the worst nightmares, and I can’t even hit a dozen balls without wheezing. So it’s back to the quack tomorrow for the third time.

I’ve lost my desire for golf and can’t even stand to look at my clubs. There’s a little PTSD going on there, for sure – every time I pick up a club I think of being in Vegas and getting called by work, and I can almost feel my skin getting rashed and my speech slurred again. I just can’t deal with it right now. Can’t even watch it on TV without starting to feel the heebie-jeebies coming on. So I might just leave the clubs on the sidewalk, say the hell with it, and tell the Goodboys to go on without me. They’ll do OK.

Fortunately, I’ve found a great deal of solace in George Harrison’s Living In The Material World – a classic in every sense of the word – most especially “Be Here Now” and “That Is All” with its memorable lyric:

Silence often says much more than
trying to say what’s been said before

I guess the whole point of this post is that there is no point to it at all. It’s a warm night, the wind chimes are working overtime in the southerly breeze, and it was nice enjoying a pinot grigio while watching the clouds slide south to north overhead. I’m living in a state of limbo that I’ll simply wait patiently to pass. Is it a “dark night of the soul”, as my man St. John of the Cross called it? I look at the kinds of decisions we’re trying to make for my dad and see in them only the kind of decisions waiting to be made for me twenty years down the line. You think twenty years is a long time, but I can remember clearly what was going on in my life back in 1998 – we were getting ready to move to Louisville – and it doesn’t seem very long ago at all to me. Fact is, twenty years from now everything will be gone – perhaps more than I can imagine right now – and there will little point in any of it. But I’ll still soldier on.

Harrison was right in one very simple and straight-forward observation about life: all things, must indeed, pass. And, as he so eloquently sang, Beware of Darkness. Because that’s where it’s at right now.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:00 | Comments (0)
February 8, 2018

It’s been a long, hard slog since the last post. First I got the flu which has – as it has the past two years – into bronchitis. Then my dad got sick. We’re not exactly sure what happened, whether it was a minor stroke or pneumonia, or something else, but he ended up in the hospital and spent a few days in a rehab facility before being released last Sunday. He’s back to his normal self, thank you, but as a result I’ve spent the last week here in wintry Massachusetts, where I’ve been reintroduced the joys of snow-covered grounds, snow piles left over from earlier storms, and the obligatory streets and sidewalks covered with every form of sand, dirt, and grit known to mankind.

During this time, my dear (and the legendary) Auntie Marge – who would on occasion toss up a comment or two at this site if a post tweaked her interest – passed away. She’s wasn’t in the greatest health when my mom passed away back in June of 2016, but mom’s passing hurt her deeply and brought a great sadness into her life. Not sure what there is over the other side, but I’d like to think Mom would have been waiting for Auntie to cross over so she could greet her with a big hug. Of the two sisters, Auntie was the one who was the most gregarious and artistic, almost larger than life to us kids when we were growing up. I remember her writing poems about the Red Sox in 1967 and the Bruins in 1970 and seeing them published in the Lowell Sun (which I thought was very cool). Auntie also served as the creative muse behind a decade-plus of Masonic Lodge variety shows back in the late ’70s and ’80s. There wasn’t a movie from the forties to mid-fifties that she didn’t know the entire cast of, or a popular sing from that era that she didn’t know who the artist was. She helped start and run a travel agency and went places around the world that her parents could only have dreamed of. It’s sad to see her pass, but she lived a full and good life, and that’s about all you ask for these days.

Of course, being here in Massachusetts during Super Bowl week was kind of fun, and being able to watch the SB with my dad was fun even if the Pats lost.

Today, Dad and I are going to focus on exploring the next stop for him, living-wise. He’d like to downsize, so we’re checking into various options that might be available to him in the near future. Tomorrow I’ll be hopping a flight back to Phoenix where I hope to be put on another antibiotics regimen to get rid of this damned bronchitis. But I won’t be back for long – in less than two weeks I’ll be back here for Auntie’s wake and funeral; by that time we might have a better idea of what Dad’s next plans are.

And, of course, work is work. The “Great Crisis”, by and large, has passed but there’s all kinds of residual stuff going on, and there are some work relationships that will never be the same. But that’s OK, that’s someone else’s problem, not mine.

Hopefully there will be less distance between this and the next post than since my last one. We’ll see!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 06:27 | Comments (5)
January 24, 2018

…and so that’s how it’s all going to appear to end up. The bigwigs have moved on to the “next big crisis” and making other people’s lives miserable, and my team is left having to support a solution that will take months to plug all the holes in it. I suppose that’s just the way the business world works, but being one who has never had to swim with the sharks at that level, it astounds me that anyone would be willing to do that kind of work on a daily basis.

I’ve had the flu this week – and maybe that’s a good thing, for it’s forced me to take some time off – but I can feel the tension leaving my jaw muscles and allowing me to talk near normally again. I’ve been doing some internet searches on PTSD symptoms and speech is one of the motor areas typically involved. What’s kind of scary is that you never get 100% of the way back, but I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.

It’s just kind of demeaning to be faced with the reality that you can’t handle everything, that when the going gets really tough you discover that (for all intents and purposes) your body folds like a cheap bridge table. I know there’s some kind of an inner defense mechanism involved because it’s almost as if life before December 4th never existed – it’s almost as if my psyche doesn’t want to relive the stretch of weeks that followed. When I was at the PGA TOUR Superstore the other day I actually had to force myself into the bay to hit 7-irons since the last time I had touched a club was when I was in Vegas just prior to being yanked down to Pensacola and “The-Client-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless”. Clearly something has changed inside me as a result of those weeks of nonstop stress. I’m still trying to sort it all out, and maybe it’s just something that requires the healing that time and distance brings.

Enough about this stuff. Hopefully with the next post it will be back to your regular scheduled programming.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:25 | Comment (1)
January 20, 2018

Hard to say whether things at work are starting to retreat from the Will Riker “Red Alert!” status of the past seven weeks or not. I equate the current state of things to a California 5K acre brushfire that has been 95% contained but can reignite into an inferno at any moment. Have we got a handle on things at the Client-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless? No. And there are still landmines galore planted all across the battlefield? God yes. Enough for the next three months.

Still, at some point there is only so much that can be done. While this is the absolute worst I’ve ever been involved with by a long-shot, it’s not my first rodeo in the healthcare IT arena. At some point, the client and the vendor have to decide whether all the work that’s been done to date is worth it. I’ve been on both sides of the fence in similar circumstances and I’ve told the vendor to pull their crap out. I’ve also been on the other side where we and the client decided there was no going back so you keep pounding away at what’s been implemented and try to make the best of it.

I think the jury is still out on this.

But what I’ve found this past week is just how much I rely on music to keep me from getting too far in the weeds. The other day in the middle of a long work session I put on my “Tropical Breezes” music collection and the first song that came up was Bob Marley’s “Exodus”. And it made me laugh – here I was, deep in Babylon, and seeking my own exodus. It made me feel good.

The next song was Jimmy Buffett’s “Banana Wind”, a whimsical instrumental where Jimmy intones at the start, “Meetcha at the end, meetcha at the end.” As in, like, get through this and we’ll all meet together at the end. And while I was still there slogging away at my work session, I could feel my stress level begin to drop.

The next song was Kenny Chesney’s “Flora-Bama”, and it made me think of the other side of life – one very different from the one I was living – but also knowing that the Flora-Bama and the “Redneck Riviera” is just a short drive away from “The-Client-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless” where I was immersed in stress and misery just seven weeks ago.

It’s amazing just how much of a healing force music can be.

Today I hit the PGA TOUR Superstore to spend my Christmas gift certificates given to me by Tracey. Bought a couple of boxes of Wilson 50 orange balls, a box of Callaway Supersofts, a couple pairs of gloves and another bucket hat in case the one I have falls apart. The Cobra bay was empty, and there were a bunch of left-handed 7-irins of all kinds in a golf bag nearby, so picked out five different brands and just hit 7-irons in the bay for 20 minutes. Felt good. I was pretty rusty but my weight transfer was good from the start.

To quote that superb late-era Pink Floyd tune, I can feel myself coming back to life.

Of course, it could all change and go to seed at a moment’s notice, but I choose not to think about that right now.

I should add that I’m still employed, but my relationship with my company and my immediate boss will never be the same. Folks can disagree with one another about “stuff” and I’m fine with that. But I won’t be disrespected in front of others – especially my peers – and that’s something I can neither forgive nor forget. There’s a part of me that actually wishes I had gotten my walking papers, forcing my hand and enabling my next career with Visiting Angels or something similar. But money is the universal language, and it’s worth another few years at what I’m making to put up with what I hope is just this bump in the road. But you reach a sort of rubicon where once the cord of loyalty is broken, your perspective changes. Mine has.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:01 | Comments (0)
January 15, 2018

…about work, that is. Time for just a normal Great White Shank post.

I hate Skype. Spent an hour on Sunday morning trying to get it to work so I could Skype with our old friend and frequent commenter Jana. First Skype wouldn’t recognize my account password. Then it wanted to merge my account with my Microsoft account (I pay monthly for Office). I wasn’t crazy about that but said OK. Then it wouldn’t recognize my “merged” account password. Then after I merged it again it said it couldn’t launch. I uninstalled it from my machine and will just give you a call, Jana, on my dumb phone some night.

I remember when I was down in Pensacola last month one of the executive VPs of the company mentioned my dumb phone. I responded, “smart guy, dumb phone.” He didn’t smile. Oh well.

This is why I’m glad I’m living in Arizona. I don’t miss it.

But this is a great link. And there are restaurants from my Massachusetts days that I do miss. Check, Augustine’s in Saugus was one of them. Good Italian food. They had someone playing Italian favorites on the organ while you ate. Check, The European in the North End. The pizzas were huge and very good. I remember they also served the chianti slightly chilled. And boy, do I miss The Winery on Boston’s Lewis Wharf. Great Bloody Marys and a location on the water to die for. It was my “go to spot” when I wanted to impress chicks on a first date. Took my Goodboys pal “The Funny Guy”‘s now-main squeeze there when we briefly dated a gazillion years ago. (Who says “Goodgirls” don’t get around?) Oh…and of course, Mel and Murray’s Delicatessen and their “Harvey’s Special”s (black pastrami / onion/ Swiss grilled until charred and then placed on a bulkie roll with a slice of tomato). I still make ‘em every once in a while, but they’re never as good. And of course Jimmy’s on the Mall at the Burlington Mall. The best Steak Teriyaki in the world with a knock-out rice pilaf to boot. So good I used to refer to it as going to church. I wasn’t as crazy about Luigi’s in Bedford as Dad and my dear mom were, but they sure gave you a ton of food. And, of course, The Hilltop in Saugus goes without saying: “27, 279, 63, 314 for Sioux City, 19, 205, 134 for Carson City!” Those were the days!

News you can use, I guess…

If the Democrats want to choose the DACA “kids” (to use their term, the reality is altogether different) as the hill to plant their flag on and shut down the government, I say let them. These clowns are insane.

I miss Dennis Wilson and his music so much. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins does this (at the time) unreleased gem more than credit. Sure he was a drunk, sex addict, a general all-around hellraiser, and, ultimately, a disruptive force in the Beach Boys, but while Brian Wilson was the band’s creative muse, Dennis Wilson was its soul. And when he died the band went with him.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:43 | Comments (4)
January 14, 2018

Forced myself today to actually do something that didn’t involve work. Sure, my boss was expecting some documentation that I’d hadn’t had a chance to get to for the better part of three weeks but I hadn’t taken a look at the pool for the better part of six weeks so I spent a half-hour just skimming the bottom and sweeping the sides in the fresh air and it felt good. Got a nice text from my Goodboys pal Killer yesterday that helped raise the spirits as well.

I got the documentation piece out of the way and set the table for the stuff that has to get done by our India team while the rest of the company is off tomorrow. I won’t take the day off – there’s way too much stuff on my plate to ignore – but there’s only so much anyone can reasonably do at this point. Like I said in my last post, Tuesday or Wednesday could get very interesting, but that’s all going to take place (I think) above my pay grade. Although, after the last few weeks it’s hardto distinguish pay grades any more. I figure a week from today I’ll know a lot more about my future but I refuse to worry about it. At this point in my life you just have to deal with everything as it comes.

Our annual touch-base with our Edelman Financial guy went really well: we’ve made a lot of progress over the past year, and that’s for sure. Were we in the situation we were in last year at this time I’d be really worried about my job, but we did a good job socking savings away and getting all our investments where they need to be.

This is a big week all around: by uts end we’ll have a better idea of where my job stands, where Tracey’s recovering shoulder stands – at this point it’s not near where it needs to be in order for her to return to work – and we’ll find out where things associated with “The-Client-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless” stands. It’s gonna be interesting!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:10 | Comments (0)
January 13, 2018

So yesterday I get a phone call while I’m on my, like, sixth web ex meeting in five hours. I didn’t recognize the area code so I punched the button to reject the call. Nothing unusual there, happens all the time.

I’m on the web ex and see an e-mail come across. It’s from the CEO of our company. Not an area VP. Not an executive VP. Not even a senior VP. [Heck, I've talked with each of those roles multiple times over the past few weeks. It used to freak me out, now I just take them as if some fellow lowly PM living in some sh*thole (thanks President Trump! :-) ) were calling me.]

This was an e-mail from CEO asking me to “follow up on his voice mail”. Like, the CEO. The top banana. The head honcho. The top dog. The big fella. Numero uno. And it’s not an e-mail to all employees with his tribute to Martin Luther King day or about our Q4 earnings. It’s an e-mail to me. Like, personally.

I waited until my web ex was over and gave him a call back.

He seemed pretty personable, said something to the effect that “you guys” (I’m thinking he wwas referring to the part of the services organization I work under, but who knows?) “…usually” (I picked up on that right away) “…do a great job with our clients…” and then began to pepper me with questions about what was going on down in Florida at “The-Client_Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless”. What could I say? I’m just a dumb project manager who six weeks ago few people in the company knew or even cared about. Now I’m on a call with the CEO.

Keep in mind here my company isn’t some crackerjack store down the block – we have 7,500 hundred employees worldwide. And while (I think) he’s kind of a hands-on kind of CEO used to rubbing elbows with major hospital and healthcare network CEOs and lobbyists in Washington, somehow, at around 1 PM EST I found myself on his call list.

I told him my version of what was happening down in Florida, no more no less. He didn’t ask me for my feelings about things, and I didn’t tell him anything beyond that. He asked me why the myriad of issues we’ve been working weren’t uncovered eight months ago. I didn’t have a good answer for him, but theen again it’s not my nature to throw other people under the bus. He didn’t seem very happy with what I told him, but he did thank me for the info. And then he was gone.

I can’t begin to tell y’all how this last six weeks have changed my life. I used to like my job and was damned good at it (if I say so myself). I always thought each day was the perverbial box of chocolates Forrest Gump talked about. Sure, you’d always run up against some tricky and dicey issues, but my nature was always to run towards the guns, not away from them. It’s what I always felt I did best – work the problems, resolve the conflicts, smooth over the disagreements. Troubleshoot, resolve, move on to the next thing. Repeat and rinse.

Now it’s all different, as if six weeks ago I took a new job with different bosses and different players. All people I can’t relate to. People who could care less about me (and vice-versa). People who want this nightmare to go away so they can get back to the jobs they’re used to doing, just like I do. People far above my job level. My boss wants nothing to do with me. His boss is calling me every day, and his boss as well. It’s taken a toll. I don’t know who I am any more. I don’t feel like hitting balls. I could care less about sweeping or backwashing the pool. The only thing I care about is sleeping, even though I know that when I awake there will be at 50+ e-mails asking when this will be fixed or that will be fixed, and when. I sit on the back patio with a glass of Pinot Grigio and my brain is trying to figure out ways of working this or that problem out. The India guys on the team are freaking out because they never in their wildest imaginations ever thought they’d have to work this hard, and their peers who have never had to work as hard as they have in their lives can’t believe what they’re going through. One of my guys has given his notice; there’s little doubt the rest of them are thinking about it. They all ask me when all this will end. I don’t have an answer for them.

We’ve got a bunch of layoffs coming next Friday (so my boss tells me), and I’m just about at the point where I really don’t care anymore if I’m one of them. I thought last week was the week when the whole thing would come crashing down, but now I think it’s going to be next week. Not sure if it’s going to be Tuesday or Wednesday, but it’s going to be bloody. How bloody? So bloody that one of the so-called “dickheads” called me yesterday asking for my help – the same guy that only days before was sticking a knife in my back.

I remember the last “normal” day in my life. It was Saturday, December 2, and I was driving up to Las Vegas to meet my Goodboys friend “Doggy Duval” for a few days of Vegas R & R. The day was warm, the sky kind of cloudy in a early December-ish kind of way. I had the windows open and early Pink Floyd on the CD player. And I remember thinking in a way that was so clear to me at the time, “just enjoy this, it may not happen again.”

But I can’t remember what that felt like.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 23:57 | Comments (0)

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