As I continue to hear from people I used to know, that forty-one year entanglement I mistook for a marriage is starting to cough up sputum like someone with end-stage lung disease.
I knew about Losers’ reputation but until recently, I don’t think it ever entered the realm of possibility for me, that he was loathed with the same intensity associated with people like Hitler and Stalin.
He left a life-long profession with a reputation as being one of the most hated, abusive tyrants who ever darkened a newspaper doorway. People said they wouldn’t “piss up his asshole if his guts were on fire.” They said “if he dropped dead in the middle of the newsroom, nobody would get out of their chair to go check on him.” They said “he’s a loser!” They said “he’s a piece of shit and nobody can stand him.”
He had been called a “dick.” He had been accused of “ruining careers.” He had been called “cruel and domineering.” He had been called “an intellectual terrorist.” He had made it clear that everybody needed to understand that “he was the smartest person in the room.” He was condescending when he spoke of making women cry who worked for him. To rephrase a Tom Hanks line from A League Of Their Own, “there’s no crying in newspapers!” (At least not for him.)
He had made people forsake their positions and seek employment elsewhere, just to get away from him. People he worked with and who worked for him, asked his wife how she could stand to be married to him. Several times he had been threatened and almost fired because of the way he treated people. He had ultimately BEEN fired for the way he treated people. That’s HIS work legacy.
When I was an EMT, I was considered to be the one universally liked employee. At mandatory monthly meetings, my boss would say “everybody….and I mean everybody likes her and wants to work with her, so for all of you part-timers out there, you’re just going to have to wait your turn.”
If a new paramedic was hired and put with me, my boss told them they’d better not play their “Para-God” card and ruin me because I “had the best attitude of any employee he had and they wouldn’t be around very long if they did.”
My partner gave me cards saying “to the best partner ever.” When I would run into other county workers, they would say “just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better….I see you.”
Part-time firefighters would see me and come over, pick me up, twirl me around and say “you’re my favorite MILF.”
When it came to extra shifts, or “stand-bys” for movies or events, my boss always wanted me and my partner to do them. Even patients would call and specifically ask for me. Once, a patient called because they were having chest pain and asked them to send me. When the dispatcher told them that it wasn’t my shift, they said “I’ll call back tomorrow.”
When one of my beloved patients died in the back of my ambulance, the hospital staff sent a card to headquarters, thanking them for having such a compassionate, caring employee who took such good care of him.
When I tried to quit my job after my world came crashing down, my boss begged me to take a leave of absence instead. That’s MY work legacy.