Issue number 61 September 6, 2005
Quorum of One is intended for adult readers
Bad Semiotics Day
"The problem is that Bernard Ebbers was transformed into a symbol of corporate corruption. I was very upset and am very upset."
-- Mr. Ebbers' attorney commenting on the 25-year sentence received by the former chief executive of WorldCom for perpetrating an $11 billion accounting fraud, the largest in US history, July 13, 2005.
Oh man, what a lousy day that was. I was still upset when I got back to the office, where my secretary tells me the senior partner wants to talk to me urgently. This is never good, but it turns out worse than I even suspected: he somehow got it into his head that my losing the Ebbers case, plus all forty-two of the other cases I had ever handled for the firm, was some kind of indication of failure, which made me really angry, and then he fired me.
I was so infuriated I had to stop for a drink on my way home just to calm down a little. The place I went into, there was only one other customer in there, but he had obviously had a few already. He was watching this little TV behind the bar and suddenly they interrupt the program and cut to a press conference with the president. So this guy starts shouting at the TV, going on about taxes and the deficit and deception and cronyism and all kinds of stuff. And that got my goat -- it was as though he saw the president as the personification of the US government! I told him to shut up, 'cause I just wanted to have a couple quiet drinks. But he wouldn't give it a rest and the press conference seemed to be going on forever, so finally I had to go over there and ask him more firmly to please chill out already. But he must have thought I was trying to pick a fight, because as soon as I get within reach he hauls off and punches me right in the mouth. The SOB knocked out two of my teeth!
So I got out of there, but I was still so teed off I guess I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and I ran a stop sign. I didn't hit anybody or anything, but there was this patrol car right behind me, so of course I get pulled over. The cop gets out and struts over to my car, all full of himself. You could tell he had a problem with thinking he was, I don't know, the embodiment of authority or something. That always makes me see red. So he gives me a citation for running the stop sign and I give him a piece of my mind. And while he's copying my plate number onto the ticket I also give him the finger, which he takes as a metaphor for hostility (can you believe this guy?!) and so just to get even he makes me blow an alcohol test. Then when he finds out I'm also a bit tipsy he immediately confiscates my license. They can do that now. It was as though he thought running stop signs drunk was like this archetype of dangerous driving, and that really made my blood boil.
So I call a cab and finally get home at about 7:30. All I wanted to do was have a quiet dinner and relax and forget all about this terrible day, but even at home I can't get any peace. First my daughter, who has delusions about me being some sort of father figure to her, which right there is pretty annoying, wants an advance on her allowance so she can get a tattoo of a crucifix on her shoulder, which I won't allow because we're Jewish. She's into this Goth scene and she thinks a crucifix is cool and that I'm an idiot for thinking it's some kind of emblem of Christianity. Well that really gets me hot under the collar because that wasn't what I meant at all, and we argue about this at high volume for a good half hour.
Then my wife gets on my case about missing our marriage counseling appointment that afternoon, which I just plain forgot about because I was so beside myself. We've been having a rough time lately, and she seems to think that these counseling sessions correspond to some degree of hope for improving our life together, which gets me steamed. Well when she started in on me I'm sorry to say I lost it. Everything had been building up all day and I finally just couldn't take it any more. I lit into her, calling her all sorts of names and saying her problem was that she sees me as the representation of everything she's unhappy about in our marriage, which is maddeningly preposterous. Long story short, we ended up deciding to file for divorce. So there in one day I had lost a big case, my job, two teeth, my driver's license and my wife. But the worst part of it is that now I remember that date, July 13, 2005, as the epitome of a bad day. And that royally pisses me off.
¨©2005 by David Jaggard
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