Back in my 20s, I worked for an ad agency off Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. Every morning I’d take the bus from my Lincoln Park walk-up to a busy stop across the street and up a few from Henri Bendel, then ride the elevator to four floors of the most self-absorbed, morally corrupt, home-wrecker establishment for at least 3,000 feet in any direction. I gotta tell you, I had the high times at this place, but if someone wasn’t leaving his or her spouse for a nubile receptionist every couple of days or so, there was a magnetic disturbance in the sleaze force.
I’d come to the agency from another one — brought there by a woman my age who I assisted with assorted PR detritus. One day, I entered her office to give her a fax, and found her sobbing at her desk. We’d never really talked much before — I found her icy and off-putting — but I am human after all, and so I put my arm around her and asked what was wrong. After a few prodigious nose blows, I discovered that our mutual superior fired her because the boss lady was threatened by pretty, strong females (I may have postulated that). I listened to my newfound friend describe the injustice of her dismissal for several long minutes and wished her luck. I knew she’d be OK. She already had a job after all. Hired right back at the agency she’d come from a few months prior.
Well sure I heard the news of how she’d come to my agency. A 25-year-old secretary who had an affair with the married CEO, instant promotion to Director of Communications, wife who threatened to take the kids if the other woman didn’t leave. So now here she was, about to go back to the scene of the crime. And if you must know, I didn’t believe the story anyway. I thought people didn’t do stuff like that. I really and truly believed that the affair and all the accompanying juiciness was a rumor; a story spread by jealous people. I mean if it really happened, the CEO wouldn’t be so daft as to hire the mistress back. I know. But what can I say? I was a Catholic schoolgirl to the bones and thought people weren’t jerk-offs.
So off she went. And about a week later, I received a phone call. Would I want to come work with her? Did I want to leave the mean girl-hating boss who currently employed me? Was I ready to take my partying to the next level? I couldn’t believe my luck. A better position, more money, opportunity for advancement. And all because I was nice to someone and she remembered! Catholic schoolgirls rule!
Boy was I in for a surprise.
To be continued.
Because I’m lazy.
And for no other reason.