Posts Tagged ‘work’

Those words were right on the tip of my tongue as I sat quietly and patiently listened to Victoria.

She had been sent to me for training from a client. She had recently been hired and was doing well with her job. She needed ‘fine tuning,” which I questioned the meaning of that when the client called.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Victoria is new at her job and she is learning…”

“But?” I asked. The unfinished sentence hung in the air.

“She has a bit of a problem with the other women. She complains that they don’t like her. She said they were ganging up on her.”

This made no sense to me since I personally knew all of the employees in this office. I had trained all of them for the last several years. I could tell you everything about each one. Who was married, the names of their husbands and children or the names of their boyfriends, where they lived, what they thought, what their dreams were and where they had failed.

Some I had become very good friends with. I often receive pictures of their family or pets, along with calls for personal advice and help.

I knew just about everything about them. They were a wonderful, lovely and amazing group of women. They weren’t perfect, but they were kick ass and I was proud to know them. I was proud of the work we had accomplished.

With our help and their dedication, we had taken a failing business that had tripled its income in a year. The majority of the staff were women (about 95%) and each and every one of them worked their asses off to form a team and build the business back up.

They were my girls and they proudly told anyone who asked that they belonged to me.

“What seems to be the problem Victoria?”

She sighed and brushed her bangs off her forehead. She was in her mid-30’s, pretty and impeccably dressed.

“I’m not sure, but I don’t think any of the women like me. You know how they can be.”

I tilted my head and furrowed my brow. “No, I don’t. What do you mean exactly?” I asked as I sat back and crossed my arms across my chest.

“Well, none of them are very friendly towards me. I think they are jealous. I’ve had that problem all my life, so you would think I would be used to it, but I’m not.”

“Jealous? Of what?” I asked.

“I’ve never been able to be friends with women. The constant bickering, backstabbing and gossiping. In fact, just the other day I asked Gloria a question and she completely ignored me! I mean, how rude is that?”

I chuckled. “Gloria is 75 years old and 85% deaf. Where were you standing when you were talking to her?” I asked.

She thought about this for a minute. “I was standing behind her, but she should have been paying attention to me.”

“Did you know she was almost deaf?” I asked.


“No, not true. YOU should have cared enough to find out. You know, the business doesn’t run itself based on what you need. You were hired to solve THEIR problems. That’s why you get paid. They aren’t there to solve yours.”

She sighed and flipped her hair and looked away.

Her rudeness was beginning to show and it was time to bring it all out into the open.

No more being social and polite. It was time to see what I had here.

“So, what you’re saying is you started talking to Gloria but didn’t have her attention and she didn’t hear you but to you that means she didn’t respond because she’s jealous of you? Do I have that right?”

“Well, when you put it that way…”

“I’m not putting it in any particular way. I am either stating the facts or I am not. Which is it?”

“OK, yes, you’re right…” she said and just at that exact moment, her cell phone rang.

She had been instructed earlier that no cell phones were allowed in the training room. I allowed absolutely no interruptions and was very clear that updating ones Facebook status could wait until break. She had assured me she understood, agreed and had turned off her phone.

She reached into her purse, grabbed her cell phone and started talking on it.

In front of me as if I was no longer there.

She was talking on her cell phone during her training time that the client had paid for. She was being paid to train and was now using that time, and mine, to chat with someone. She had lied to me and didn’t even have the courtesy to excuse herself to take the call.

She just answered the phone mid conversation and then turned her back to me to talk.


I tapped her on the shoulder. She looked up and was annoyed.

Too bad.

“Excuse me, but is that an emergency phone call? Do we need to call 9-11?”

“No, not at all. It’s my husband. He wants to know what to pick-up for dinner,” she said and turned away and continued to talk.

I yanked the phone out of her hand. I put it up to my ear and said “Victoria is busy, but she will call you back later,” and hung-up.

I loved the look on her face. I turned the phone off and took it out of the room and put it in my desk drawer and walked back into the training room.

I looked at her. “If you ever pull that stunt again, I will dismiss you from training and it will be up to you to explain to your boss why I did. She will be quite interested since I have never had to do that before.”

As much as I worked to help people pull themselves up, every once in a while, you run into someone who needs to be slapped down a peg or two.

“There is nothing wrong with the women in that office. The problem is you and for you to blame everyone for your inability to be decent and kind to those around you is most amazing to me. What do you think should happen? Do you think everyone should change because you don’t know how to get along with them? Is that what you think because if it is, I wish you luck.”

Her lower lip quivered. Tears formed in her eyes. She batted her eyes at me. She sighed and gave me a pleading look of innocence.

I didn’t buy it for a second. Though she was the first to bash women, she was also the first to try to use being a woman to get her way.

No, not with me and not in my training program. There was not one aspect of our program that is based on gender. It is completely based on ability, performance and results whether you are carrying a penis or a uterus. No one cares.

“Tell you what Victoria; if you want to know what’s wrong, just look in the mirror. There’s your answer.”

“OK, I’ll try,” she said. Suddenly her tears were gone.


“And if my girls start to pick on you, you know what you should do?”


“Apologize for what it is that you said that pissed them off because guess what? They’ve worked together for years and years and they all get along. They have formed friendships and they have poured their heart and soul into that business and they have my full permission to take you out if you start to mess with them. Understood?”

She nodded her head.

Needless to say, she didn’t last long.

Fine by me.


Yes, that’s what I do. I make people feel stupid. It’s amazing that I get paid to do this.

And I am really good at it. In fact, I love it.

Why do I do that? Because that is the ONLY way to get a human to learn. I didn’t make the rules on this, but it is the way we learn.

You think you’re afraid of failure? Nope. You’re just like the rest of us, you’re afraid of looking stupid. See, when you fail, you look and feel stupid.

When you slam a hammer down on your thumb rather than the nail, after you stop screaming, you feel stupid. Well, it was a dumb thing to do.

If you trip and fall and the whole world sees you, you feel that horrible redness take over your face. You want to run and hide or wish the earth would open up and swallow you. You want to go back in time – rewind and re-record it before you slipped on the sidewalk. You knew, right before you fell, that you should be paying more attention. You should not have been walking and texting at the same time.

You feel so stupid for having dated/married THAT person. Your friends told you not to do it. Your family begged you to break off the engagement but NO! You went ahead anyway and when it didn’t work out, you felt like an idiot. Well, you probably were one. And I know it took you a long time to let people know it was over.

But, think about it. You know that burner is hot and not because you read about it. There is no owner’s manual for a human. You know it’s hot because you can feel it and probably have burned yourself once or twice on it. See? You know it’s hot but you still burned your hand.

You know that pizza needed to cool off for a few minutes before you dig into it, but you don’t wait and burn the roof of your mouth. How many times have you done that? I do it every single frickin time. No lie.

You knew it was a bad idea to send that money to the poor orphan in Nigeria who was dying of cancer in a jail and who only had you out of 6.5 billion people to help him. You were the only one that could save his life.

No one likes to look or feel stupid, but that’s how we learn. That’s what I do for a living. I teach. I teach business owners how to run things better and in order to do that, they have to see what they’ve been doing wrong. That’s where I come in.

I don’t do it to be mean. I do it to help but unless you’re willing to smack your head against a wall a few times, you will never learn.

I have to get them to see why bribing employees is not such a great idea when they’ve been late, non-productive and a Queen Bitch from Hell and that maybe giving them a raise won’t improve their behavior. It actually makes it worse, just like giving a child candy every time they have a temper tantrum.

I have to go over, in great detail, why the person answering the phone needs to be friendly and not say “WHAT?” when picking up the incoming call, even if she’s his niece and is in desperate need of a job because no one else will hire her.

Then there’s the time I had to make a guy feel really moronic in getting him to stop hugging his employees and having “daily affirmations” as part of a staff meeting and to shut the hell up about his political beliefs. Yes, I had to do that and it took a long time of me pounding this into his pinhead for him to finally say “Well, OK, maybe that’s not such a good way to run a business after all.” Ya think?

Or the time I had to make a client feel bad about being online all day rather than, I don’t know, actually running his business?  Boy, did that guy feel pretty stupid by the time I was done with him. But, he never did it again.

I have my own trail of stupidity, so you aren’t alone.

I was stupid when I thought that an abusive man wouldn’t be that way to me. Wrong.

I was stupid when I thought by ignoring the IRS, they would go away. So very wrong.

I was stupid when I thought I could walk all day in 4″ heels. Wrong and I have the damage to my feet to prove it.

I was stupid when I listened to a bonehead “friend” who said I didn’t have the talent to write. I hope the bitch is reading this right now.

And I was incredibly wrong in thinking that the “check oil” light in the car would magically go away. I ended up with a cracked block on that puppy and an enormous bill from the mechanic to prove how stupid I can be.

But, all of these things, I never did again. I don’t hang out with mean people, I pay my taxes on time, I wear flats when spending the day walking around San Francisco and I run to the mechanic anytime something is wrong with my car.

I still bite into hot pizza though. I actually can’t help it.

We all have these trails and rather than be bothered by them, learn from them. You don’t learn about life from reading books.  We learn about life from falling down and getting up again. We learn when we admit we are wrong and try to find a better way the next time.  We learn from our mistakes. We are the only ones that can teach ourselves. We are the only ones that can change who and what we are.

So go out there and make a fool of yourself. Let your weirdness shine. Smack your head against the wall a few times if you need to. Fall down and scrape your knees and get up and do it again. I always tried to tackle that very long and steep street with my roller blades. I have permanent scars on my knees, but I eventually won. It took a whole summer, but I did it. How I never sustained worse injuries than my knees I will never know.

There’s nothing to be afraid of. So what if you make a fool of yourself? Why should you be different from any of us?

This is a fairly new word that has crept into almost daily conversation.

Drama. We don’t need no stinking drama.

I hear about people not wanting it in their lives. I see it on almost every dating website profile that I have ever read.  NO DRAMA screams the words. I see people getting fired because of “the drama.” I’ve even had clients fire employees because of it. I’ve been seeing quite a bit of it on social networks.

But what does it mean now-a -days? That’s the question that has been bothering me. This word has taken on a new definition and I’m not sure what it means. But I do know what it is when I see it. Oh, it’s oh-so-clear when you see it and I think now I have a new mission in life.

Knock off all the drama. I think I now have zero tolerance for it in myself and in others. Because I’m tired of it. I’m sick of it and I’m tired of dealing with people who think they are entitled. You’re not. You never have been and you never will be.

I recently had a heart-to-heart with an employee of a client. I had been given a head’s up to try to sort this girl out because she was bringing her personal problems to work every day. Apparently she was going through a rough divorce (they’re all rough) and was sad and snappy during the day. The boss liked her enough to send her my way but had lost patience.

There were tears and justifications during the conversation. I sat. I listened. I handed her Kleenex and let her vent. Then I was done. I asked her what the hell she thought she was doing. I asked her why she acted like she did and then pointed out her job was at risk.

I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on her face when I told her that. She actually thought she could say whatever she wanted to say because she was entitled. She thought she was ENTITLED to act anyway she wanted because it was everyone else’s problem if they couldn’t deal with it. This included talking back to her boss.

She ended up getting fired because as far as she was concerned, the world evolved around her and what she wanted and what she thought and it didn’t matter what came out of her mouth, she was entitled.

She is not an isolated incident. I’ve been running into this more and more. It has been bugging me for a long time and then it hit me why someone would be so assertive to the point that they crush anyone else’s viewpoint.

They get away with it.  The more they get away with it, the more they do it. They act this way because they hate themselves and their lives so much that they lash out at anyone who doesn’t back down. Why? Because if they can take others down to their own level, it will justify their bad behavior.

It’s a very sick and twisted cycle and the more you let someone get away with it, the more they will do it.

If you actually liked yourself, you would feel no need to assert and dominate others. You would be happy and content with what other people think because you would have certainty about yourself and enough confidence to allow others to be who they are.

You want to feel better about yourself? Then stop treating others badly and having hissy fits over some imagined slight that probably never happened.

I also know when I hear someone adamant about not wanting drama in their lives, they are the first ones to dish it out, so you don’t fool me. I am just as guilty as the next person of being dramatic, but I work hard at not doing that. There are scars on my tongue from biting it and you might want to try doing that if you always feel the need to assert yourself.

The fact of the matter is, when it comes right down to it, most people don’t really care what you think. That’s a harsh reality, but if you can get your wits around it, you’ll actually be able to relax and not have everything be a battle. The people who do care about you will want to know what you think.

Good rule of thumb is not to say what you think unless you are asked.

No one is entitled to anything. Not me, not you. You are not owed anything just because you woke-up and got out of bed. I don’t care who you are.

You are not entitled to a paycheck unless you earn it.

You are not entitled to a successful relationship unless you earn it.

Your employer does not owe you anything just because you showed up for work.

You are not entitled to hurt or harm people with your words and actions. Ever. I don’t care how badly someone may be acting; you don’t get to harm them back. Treat them with as much respect as you can and then walk away. Sever the relationship if you want, but do not get dramatic.

If you care about yourself, you’ll take the high road as often as possible.

In the meantime? Yeah, you got it. Shut-up.

You ever have one of those days, or weeks, when you just want to throw down your weapons and quit or at least take a break for a while?

Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling a bit lately. It’s not one particular thing. That would be easier. That moment during your life when it all just seems to be too much and you want to sit down, cry and give up.

That’s not always such a bad thing to do. Maybe every once in a while we need to do that. Just sit down, cry and whine and close out the world for a bit. I think the only mistake we can make is to not get back up and have at it again.

I have been stretched just a bit too thin for too long. I knew I could handle it and would keep going but exhaustion was starting to creep back in. I get plenty of sleep and exercise but there was just a lot on my plate and now I was at the tipping point with no end in sight.

A new client was arriving on Friday and would begin his training with me for two days. I had agreed to work Saturday and what I wanted to do was call up my ex-boyfriend and go see him and hide out for the weekend and have a warm body next to mine. I didn’t care what happened after Sunday night. I just wanted to walk away from everyone and everything for a few days. I knew I wouldn’t call him and I knew if I did, he would be happy to have me come over and stay.

But I didn’t, of course. I knew I wouldn’t but I did like entertaining that thought for a while.

Friday morning came and in walked Dennis. He is in his late 60’s. I heard him walk in and my receptionist greeted him. I was tied up with another student and couldn’t break away, but the consultant was already shaking his hand, so I knew he was being taken care of and that I would meet him later that day.

I wrapped it up with my student and broke for lunch. I quickly ate my lunch standing over the sink in our small kitchen. I had no time to eat but had to. I had a new client to meet and start his training. I needed to run down to the bathroom plus I had about two hours of phone calls to make along with a backlog of emails that needed my immediate attention and I had less than three minutes to get four hours of work done.

I could feel myself get pulled further and further away from myself. I took another large bite of my lunch, chewed as fast as I could while I drank from my coffee mug. I went down the hall to use the lady’s room and couldn’t stop and chat with people I knew in the office building. I gave them all a quick hello and smile as I raced back to my office.

Dennis was waiting for me. I greeted him. He now had a face to go with my voice that he had heard so many times on the phone before his arrival. He is in his 60’s and is very pleasant. His consultant had been working with him for some time before his arrival for training, so he was relaxed and anxious to start.

We get started and let my assistant know I was “going dark” which means I am officially under the radar while training and cannot be interrupted unless there is a fire and we need to jump off the balcony or we will all die. Anything other than that is not important.

We started and the hard work begins. During the next two days, I learned quite a bit about Dennis. It’s my job and I dig in with each client. They have paid me and my company to help them and they have entrusted their lives to us so no matter what I have going on, it’s left behind the closed door once they arrive.

I learned that Dennis is dealing with his third bout of liver cancer and had just completed another round of chemo. I knew of the difficulties he was having with his business but sitting across from him, I did not see a man who was ill.

Instead I saw a man who was full of hope. He had recently married a beautiful young woman. He told me about surfing every morning and asked if we could start our training earlier the next morning as he was so excited about being here with us that he didn’t want to waste one moment of it. He looked healthy and told me all about the things he was grateful for as the day progressed.

Throughout the day, every point I made on his training was met with a smile, a nod and him thanking me for spending time with him. He made me feel important, valuable and worth every moment of his attention. He had paid ME to help him and yet he was thanking me.

Thanking me for doing my job.

Thanking me for spending two days with him. That he paid for. I mentioned that before, didn’t I? Yes, I did.

Smiling at me and hanging on my every word for two days. Two long days for him as he fought his body that was demanding that he slow down and take it easy and roll over and die.

My exhaustion began to dissipate. The horrible PMS I had been suffering with for three weeks lessened and became a distant memory. My headache left and I picked up my sword and decided to start fighting again.

He fought for two days and I fought right along side of him. I picked up every tool I could think of. I mustered every bit of information I could find and we slugged it out together. Together we fought to save his business and improve his life and the lives of his staff and customers.

I had made a mistake and that was I had been looking around and just focusing on the things that were wrong in my life and had forgotten to focus on what was right.

I had failed to take and practice my own advice. It’s perfectly fine to notice the things that need to be corrected and then correcting them.

It’s a whole other thing to only pay attention to them and become worried and doubtful of one’s own ability to deal with it. All I had been doing these last few weeks was looking at how everything I needed to do could not be done.

I was wrong. Oh so wrong.

By the end of the second day, both Dennis and I were smiling and I thanked him for teaching me so much. He gave me a funny look and asked what the hell I was talking about.

I hugged him and told him that I loved his wonderful and positive attitude and that it had rubbed off on me when I really needed it. He didn’t say anything but hugged me back.

I might still have too much to do but somehow after today it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Somehow it feels like everything will be OK soon.

It was time for me to follow my own damn advice – just disagree with how things “have to be” and agree to all the good shit in life.

It is very likely that if you’re a woman walking around on planet Earth these days, you will run into this problem.

The funny thing is, it will have absolutely nothing to do with who you are, what you do or even how you look.  Though I would suspect that if a bottom feeder does find you attractive, you’ll probably have a higher risk of this. That seems to be the nature of the beast. And I do mean beast. I am a writer and I pick my words carefully.

The first time it happened to me, I was young, naïve and it took me a few minutes to catch on to what had just happened.

I was in a business meeting with my boss and a very important client. This client was very wealthy and a dear friend of my boss. I was learning the ropes in the insurance industry and had gotten my license recently. My boss wanted me to learn about commercial insurance, so I would often tag along with him. I had to sit still, be quiet and take notes. This was not easy for me, but I did it anyway.

I am naturally inquisitive and like to ask questions when I don’t understand something, but because I was there to listen and learn I would just make notes on any questions I had.

The meeting consisted of my boss, the client and his son and their new partner. Let’s call the partner Dick.

Dick was a blow hard. He was arrogant and was rich beyond anything I could imagine on my meager salary. The client was in real estate and Dick decided he wanted to dabble in it, so he bought into the client’s business as a partner and had ordered the meeting with us to decide if we were good enough to now handle his needs. Yeah, HIS needs.

I admit I did not like this man but I kept my mouth shut. I did not like the way he talked to my boss or anyone else in the room, so I kept my gaze down because I am easy to read just by looking at my face. I maintained a pleasant smile and did my best to practice my poker face, which to this day I completely suck at.

Dick ran the entire meeting. He was belligerent and I could see the people in the room trying to appease him. I had a bad feeling about the whole thing and realized we weren’t going to be able to convince him to keep us on as his insurance agents. I could tell he was there just to let all of us know that we weren’t good enough and that he had someone else he wanted to use.

Loosing this account was going to cost our company over $100,000.00 in commissions a year. I could see what was coming and there was nothing I could do about it. I kept my mouth shut and my head down.

Dick was sitting to my right, at the head of the table. Of course he was at the head of the table. My boss was to my left and the client and his son were sitting across from me

About an hour into the meeting, I suddenly feel a hand on my knee and then felt it go up my leg and give my thigh a squeeze. I almost jumped out of my chair. No one noticed as I snapped my head towards Dick. He kept his gaze steady as he talked to the clients while he rubbed my leg under the table.

I tried to move away but he held on. I put my hand under the table and pinched his hand as hard as I could. He jerked but let go. I moved my chair back and away from him. I said nothing because I didn’t know what to say or do.

I sat there confused, hurt and angry. Part of me wanted to get up and walk out but I knew that would look bad for our company. Another part of me wanted to find my nail file in my purse and stab him in his leg with it and another part of me wanted to slap him across his face.

Since I couldn’t decide what to do, I remained silent and I thought. I thought long and hard.

Towards the end of the meeting, I got up and poured myself a cup of coffee. I sat back down. The meeting was ending and I sat very still.

As everyone was standing up and starting to shake hands, I stood up before Dick did and accidentally poured my cup of hot steaming coffee onto his lap. Watching him jump up and scream made my heart sing. Watching him jump around was icing on the cake.

I had spoken to him and only him and I knew I had just put the last nail in our coffin.

I batted my eyes and told him how sorry I was and that it was just an accident. He glared at me, muttered something under his breath and stormed out of the room.

I kept apologizing and everyone said not to worry. I secretly grinned all the way back to the office. My boss was very understanding and said he knew we were going to lose the account regardless of the coffee incident but admitted he thought it was funny. He also knew we had lost account long before we walked into the meeting. I learned from him that sometimes you just can’t control what a client will do and the best thing is to just let them do what they want to do and don’t feel you had failed.

We did lose the account the next week.

That was fine by me. We ended up writing another large account. Our doors remained opened, we weathered the storm and kept our integrity in.

Plus I learned how to handle sexual harassment all by myself. Yeah me!

So never underestimate the power of a pissed off woman.

If you sexually harass us, we can handle it. It just takes a cup of coffee and life is good again.


Posted: June 6, 2011 in funny stories
Tags: , ,

I don’t get it.

I really don’t.

I’m walking down the street, minding my own business as I am really craving cookies and since I don’t have any in the house, I managed to get up, put on my shoes, grab a couple of dollars from my purse and am on a mission from God to make it to the corner store to buy some.

Just a simple thing to do. I’m not bothering anyone.

Suddenly I hear someone spit and I look up. It’s such a gross and disgusting sound, isn’t it?

I mean, my stomach gets that nauseous feeling in it and I had just finished dinner and I could feel it start to move.

I hate this man suddenly. I hate the sound he made. I hate his total and complete disregard for the street that we all share and I hate the fact that he ruined a rather enjoyable walk.

I also hate the fact that I have to now cross the street to avoid him and where he spat because I sure as hell don’t want to see it and I’m going to have to look if I don’t want to step in it.

I don’t get this at all.

I got after a young employee one time for the same thing. We were outside talking during lunch. It was a gorgeous day and many of us were outside enjoying it before having to spend the rest of the afternoon at our desks and staring at computers.

Right in the middle of what I was saying, he turned his head and spit.

Right. There. In. Front. Of. Me.

I gasped.

“Susan, you OK? What’s wrong.” he asked.

My hand was covering my mouth. My eyes were as wide as they could be.

I was struggling not to throw-up and I wanted to slap him.

I finally found my voice. “I can’t believe you did that! That is so gross and I’m feeling a bit sick.”

“Do what?”

“YOU JUST SPIT ON THE CEMENT!”  I screamed as I jumped up and away from it. I had been sitting down on a chair and as I jumped up, the heel of my shoe caught the leg of it and it tumbled behind me as I jumped away. I started to fall towards him and used his chest as a buffer with my hands and pushed myself away from him.

This caused him to be pushed back and he lost his balance for a moment.

All in all, I looked completely stupid and uncoordinated, which does happen to me from time to time.

His face got red and he turned away. He looked down at it then looked behind. He looked everywhere but at me.

“So what? It’s no big deal.”

“No big deal? Then why are you looking so embarrassed?”

“I’m not.”

“Yes you are,” I said. “Now clean it up.”

“What? Are you crazy?”

I glared at him. He was only 16, sweet as could be but I guess he was being raised by wolves. I had not been, My brothers and I were taught these things. I can’t ever remember my brothers, my Dad, my uncles or any male that I’ve known all this time to just turn around and spit in front of me or anyone else.

“Tommy, do I look like I’m kidding?”

He looked at me for a moment and then slowly shook his head.

“Well, you didn’t have to hit me, you know?”

“I didn’t hit you. I bumped into you and I’m sorry but doing that is just…wrong. Now, clean it up and don’t ever do that again.”

He glared at me for a moment. “Look, I don’t think it’s a big deal. I’m sorry and all, but come on! So what?”

“So you think it’s OK to just spit whenever and wherever you want? Shit, why don’t you just whip it out right now and pee all over the street? Is that OK to do?”

He chuckled. “No, of course not.”

“Tell you what Tommy. I’ll make you a deal. You ever spit like that around me again and I’ll go into great details about my period. How’s that for a deal?”

You would have thought by his reaction that I had just admitted to him that I was Hitler and Bin Laden all rolled  up into one nice package and that I was here to kill him. He was paralyzed with fear and revulsion.

I always have a ace up my sleeve. Make no doubt about it.

“No, don’t do that. Stop talking about it! Geez, you’re insane, you know that?” he said as he bent down and used a Kleenex to start cleaning.

I stood there and watched him.

“Thanks Tommy for doing that,” I said.

“No problem. Just don’t talk about ‘that stuff’ to me, ever, OK?”

I smiled. “We’ll see.”

Every so often after that, as I would walk by his desk, I would pull a tampon out of my purse and swing it around.

Tommy never spit again. At least not that I know of.