One of those names from the past that only comes up every decade or so came up last night. Whatever happened to, etc.? We recalled that this person had been involved in an interoffice romance, which led to a particularly tawdry interoffice breakup, the sort of incident that makes managers long to be in the rank and file again.
(There’s one of these in every management career — when you have to tell people it’s not their work that’s the problem, it’s their b.o. Or their whack-ass meltdown over a love affair gone wrong. Whatever.)
Alan said, “She’s the reason companies have no-fraternization policies.” Yep. I never worked for one of those companies myself; if I had I’d be married to someone else today, if I were married at all, and Kate wouldn’t exist. Newsrooms, well-known as turkey pens of coltish intellects, weird hours, incompetent management, triple homicides on deadline and other spicy ingredients, are notorious for breeding office love affairs. I think of the journalists I know, and most are/were married to people they met at work, some serially, which is to say first this person from work, then that person from work. This can get complicated, oh yes it can. Office divorces and/or affairs have sold more quitting-time beers than Budweiser.
I met and married my husband through work, but even after the I-dos, we played it cool. Alan hated talking about domestic matters out in the open. He didn’t even want me to ask what he wanted for dinner. All around us were couples who held hands on the way to the Coke machine, or wives who marched over to collect hubby’s paycheck the minute it was distributed on payday. I’m sure he considered it a huge success when we threw a party and one of his own staff members was amazed to discover I lived in the same house, that we were in fact married and had been for about five years.
(Actually, I considered it a success, too, since it seemed to indicate I was such a boring person no one even bothered to gossip about me anymore.)
I hesitate to bring up this topic, not because everyone has a story, but because everyone’s story is better than mine. Maybe Alex will tell us about the security camera that in one of his former workplaces captured an episode of oral love between a man and a woman who thoughtfully removed her dentures for the occasion. Maybe Kirk will tell us about the couple who was caught not only having an extramarital interoffice affair, but writing a pornographic novel with bondage themes in what they thought was a secret corner of the newsroom computer system. (I pinned down one of the bosses who read this treasure and said I’d be willing to do just about anything to see a sample chapter. He said, “It wouldn’t be a fair trade. It wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been.”) And then there was the young reporter who slept with an older colleague on his living-room couch after an impromptu party when his wife was away, gave him crabs, caused a crisis in his marriage (to say the least) and then later, when the parasites had been routed and the wounds had finally started to scab, showed up at another party where the wife was in attendance, along with her children. “Mommy,” said the little boy. “I saw that lady lying down with daddy on our couch once.” (That story may be somewhat apocryphal, but it still cracks me up.) Or the obsessed Glenn Close wannabe who demanded her lover, as the price of dumping her, insert a secret message to her in his newspaper column. She said this would be their secret. It remained secret for approximately as long as it took to survive editing and get onto the press. As the papers arrived in the newsroom, she showed it around, pointing out how the first letter in every paragraph spelled out, “I love you Joanie.”
None of those stories are mine, in the sense that they didn’t happen at my workplace, but were shared over beers later. It’s amazing to me that I heard them all and still sought out and married a colleague. It’s not like we weren’t warned.
You know how you get those e-mails from Nigerian scam artists asking for your help in removing $6 million from the national treasury, offering a 30 percent reward and asking only that you put up some of your own cash as security? You know how you ask yourselves, “Who could ever be so stupid as to fall for this?” We have an answer: The treasurer of Alcona County, Michigan.
Today’s forecast calls for a chance of snow in Michigan. Unless, of course, it gets rerouted to southern California again. Jeez, I remember being in LA once when it rained, and it had the same effect on traffic as eight inches of snow does here. I can’t imagine what actual snow does to the place. Besides freeze the oranges.
Whenever I hear a nitwit like Dinesh D’Souza pushing his latest book, I think to myself, “Maintain your sense of humor.” However, it’s difficult. Fortunately, we have Stephen Colbert to shore us up in the difficult moments.