Friday, May 02, 2008


Yeah, I don't know what happened to April, either.

So... moving on.

I worked with Mike at the grill in our college dining services. He was a full-timer, I worked about 10 hours a week as a freshman, and later closer to 20 hours a week as the student area manager my senior year.

Mike was a little nutty - suffered from major depressive issues - had been a roadie with different bands in the 80s and was married with three kids when I knew him in the 90s. I would guess his age at 37 or 38 when we first met. He also had a band of his own and on a few occasions they played at different frat parties on campus.

From the beginning, I was one of the few students who could manage Mike and his moodiness. (The gifts of growing up with an alcoholic parent? I don't know.) On the good days we would play practical jokes on each other, or do stuff that would have gotten us fired in another situation. On bad days I would tease him and be silly until he rose out of the funk a bit.

Once he threw a wad of raw hamburger at me. In retaliation I pretended to slit his throat with the bread knife I was using at the time, only to reverse it at the last second and run the dull edge across his neck. We would put on finger condoms (for food service workers who have a cut on a finger), blow them up and then shoot them at each other. (Seriously amusing in case you've never tried it.) On a couple other occasions, one of the other student workers and I put all the grill tools in a pan of water and then stuck it in the freezer for Mikey to discover in the morning. He acted pissed, but you could tell he loved the attention.

After I graduated, Mikey fell apart just a little bit more - left the grill that he had made popular, moved to another work area, got divorced, and so on. Until I moved to Vermont, I would get a phone call from him every six months or so just to catch up... Not to say that his collapse had anything to do with me, but I was not hearing good things after I left.

In one phone call from him, maybe 3 years after I graduated, he told me about giving his wife a diamond ring for their anniversary. He said he surprised her with it and her reaction made him think about me. (yes, creepy, I agree) A year or so after that, when they split up (she left him for someone else) he told me that she had always been jealous of me and "ha ha" wasn't that ridiculous.

Yeah. So I'm a little more cautious in the relationships I have with people at work now.

It's been a while, and last I heard, Mikey had all three of his kids living with him and was dating a woman he had known for years, and all seemed to be on the way up. I hope things worked out with them and that they're happy together.

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