The Thing I Remember That Happened After "I Hammered A Cop"

This post is Part 2 of my "I Think I Hammered A Cop" story, a lovely Daddy-daughter memory. 
Click here to read Part 1 if you missed it. If you're thinking 'I wouldn't say I MISSED IT, Bob' you said it.


The thing that I remember happening after the 'I think I hammered a cop' thing, was my first Office Job job interview. So yes, it's totally fitting that a scene from Office Space is here.

The company developed workforce software for large companies and grew very quickly in the early 90's. For many reasons, some of which included the president of the company caring more about his extra-marital affair with the head of marketing than the actual company, it went out of business. 

Not before I managed to accrue thousands of dollars of medical bills that their self-funded insurance would never cover. I'm calling it a personal Win, however, for reasons I'll get into later.

Cut to my interview. 

The Vice President of the company, and I really want to make up a dramatic, soap opera name for this story, but I simply MUST share the actual name of the company. They're long gone, or bought out or acquired or whatever happened early 90's but the name is just so classic 80's software company.

I came to work there in the the early 90's, but the logo name and font screamed 80's:
or was it Infotron-X
I think the X was capitalized at the end.
Meh, either way.

Can't you just see the blue 8-bit font when you read that name? InfotronX. I hear it spoken in a computal robot voice. 

There are still things floating around the internet with that name, but it doesn't have the logo they had then. Kind of this.
This was the font, but in IBM blue. Literally. Probably.
from lucapedroti.com
The VP asked me how I heard about the job, and I told her honestly,
"My father's friend's girlfriend Dee works here. She's Assistant to the President." 

The President (I guess this was before "CEO" became the lingo) turned out to be the VP's brother. She was suddenly very interested in my dad's friend, and asked me a lot of questions. 
What was his name? 
(She asked his last name, I don't know if I knew it then. I didn't remember it at all when I started writing this, but my brother reminded me at Easter. I'll leave that out even though it would hysterical to see how many police reports, court articles and restraining order-type internet results would come up from searching it. It's a rather common name, so I would hate to incriminate any innocent people with that name.)

How long has this been her boyfriend?
I really don't know. He's my father's friend.
(How the hell would I know that?)

Thank all the gods old and new, I avoided Dwayne even more than I avoided my old man, because I didn't know anything about him. Except that he was a big ole drunk, bumbling ass of a man. I didn't mention that to her.

After answering many uncomfortable and obviously personal questions, I finally got to meet Dwayne's girlfriend. Not what I expected.

She was much younger than Dwayne, I was shocked by how pretty she was. And you know, sober. If you missed last week's post, Dwayne was a walking whiskey bag. 

She was a very polite, professional woman of the 80's, (even though 90's) all smiles and tight dress and very high heels and all 'so nice to meet you' and 'I've heard so much about you.' 

Then as soon as we were alone, she morphed completely. Her face melted from a calm, confident ear-to-ear all-perfectly-white-teeth smile into an urgent grimace of evil. Her eyes wanted to melt me down into a puddle of water. That could not talk. That could not for Christsake say anything else. 
She demanded,
"WHY would you tell her that Dwayne is my boyfriend?!"

That's what my father told me, I explained innocently. And truthfully.

Ooohh noooo, she assured me. That father of mine, what the hell?! She noticed how confused I was, kind of paused and went with, 
"Oh, your dad, he's such a goof." 
Dwayne just couldn't be her boyfriend, she literally insisted through clenched teeth: She is MARRIED. 

And everyone at the company knows it. 

Silly me.

This isn't true, my father is just teasing her. He just loves to tease people, he's really just too much. You don't know the half of it, Missy. Well, it turned out she did.

Buuuut, anway....

This was my introduction to the world of Office Jobs. 

One of the most uncomfortable situations you can possibly imagine in life, let alone for your first interview for a job with insurance benefits.

Somehow I got the job. Either the VP loved me, she always helped me while I was there, or more likely she just wanted to gleen more information about her brother's assistant from me. Or mayhaps my old man had something on Dee and was successfully able to convinced her to put in a good word for me or something.

Either way they hired me and I learned oh-so-very-much about the political back-stabbing, cheating, walk on top of people to get ahead, two-faced, lying liars who lie world of Office BUSINESS. 

The VP definitely did try to get more interesting information out of me about Dee, this woman who was her brother's assistant. And bat shit crazy. Again, I'm not being dramatic here. She was having an affair. With my dad's disgusting, smelly drunk drug-addled friend, who thinks he hammered a cop. Just exactly how all modern love stories begin.

The confusing tone of the day of my interview would be the nature of mine and Dee's relationship. She would smile and compliment everyone, and be as polite as Jane Fonda in 9 to 5. Then when people walked away, she would tell me their darkest secrets. 

She would tell me who was having an affair, though it was always obvious. This was before cell phones and email, so you had to dramatically follow people around, talking and whispering, at work, because you couldn't communicate with your affair AT HOME. She would tell me who was smart, who was stupid, who got their kid a job, though again it was obvious because they had the same last name, would go to lunch together and the daughter called him "Dad" all the time. But she told me. 

She told me who had to be dropped off at work, or take a cab when their wife was out of town, because he had his license revoked. She told me who lived in a giant mansion, who drove a Porsche, despite the fact that this man walked around in a Porsche jacket and hat all the time. She told me. 

She told me who needed to quit smoking or "she would die" even though I sat at the reception desk and waived to this nice lady 10 times a day when she smoked in the center of the building. You could still smoke inside, but most people kindly went to a 'designated area' separated from offices, by glass doors. When the doors opened, you could smell the smoke.

But in front of people? She was all sweet sunshine and big-sisterly advice:
"You need to get yourself some nice, figure-flattering dresses and high heels for work." Barf. These were her workplace weapons: Secrets, low cut tops and high, high heels. Though, it was a man's world and she survived in it.

"You need to work on typing faster." She somehow got me an electronic typewriter with this awesome little screen, so you could SEE THE WORDS, about 2 sentences worth, and make corrections before the typewriter typed them! They let me keep it at the reception desk, saying I could help fill out forms and whatnot. Yes kids, I'm learned to type on a typewriter years old.
Ah, sweet nostalgic 80's technology. This story takes place in the early 90's, but a lot of the technology and mindset was all 80's.

"You need to learn WordPerfect." Actually I think this was the VP's idea. She said if I took a class the company would reimburse me for it. And they did.
You kept a cheat sheet of F commands at all times! from stsci.edu

WordPerfect was the MSWord of the 90's. Once the company figured out I could do other things, they gave me more tasks and eventually put a computer at the reception desk. This made one of the company's secretaries, Lisa, very angry. Lisa was the roommate of the marketing director who was having the affair with the President. Lisa hated me so very much it gave her Multiple Sclerosis. I believe she stressed herself out SO MUCH worrying about my every move, that she broke herself. She was on a 'leave of absence' for a long time. 

This would not hold 1 of today's Facebook pictures
from kupaterapist.com
But me, with my 90's black-screen and green font computer, I started with simple things like FORMATTING floppy disks, because people had to actually physically do that before using them, and these kinds of tasks. 

That company didn't promote me, but if you can wear dress clothes, type and do a few other tasks? You can be an assistant, an Executive Assistant, Personal Assistant and lots of other titles that pay more than the receptionist gig, and come with medical, dental and paid vacay. 

Not a bad damn gig for a 17-yr old whose entire discussion about college with her parents went like this:
"Dad, my counselor told me to have a talk with you about college."
My Dad: "You won't go."
Cue my old man leaving the room to really drive home the point that this discussion was OVER. Forever.

So I got this receptionist job, learned some things, and my next job was a secretarial/assistant job. In that job I learned some things, took classes at night, got better jobs and just kept doing that. My whole life. Because I had no other option. 

By the end of my time with this company, my parents announced their divorce. My father got stuck with my brother and my mother got stuck with me. Not sure if they rolled dice or what. My mother had actual career options, in another part of the state, but tried to hold on to a household up North so my brother and I had options. But those options included my working full time.

The End.

Not really, but this is where I should end this post before starting the next strange chapter of my life story.

I'm forever thankful that job came with insurance. That saved me from some major medical issues (I believed they called it 'pre-cancer' at the time) which would have gotten much worse if not caught in time. The surgeries were necessary, the bills eventually got paid somehow.

The company was run by a terrible family of fictional-level villains. I'm talking Lifetime Television movie of the week evil, I should write a book about them, and they left everyone in a lurch when eventually everyone was let go. 

I have no idea how the story ends for the company, the owners, or my dad's friend for that matter. Since then I've tried not to look back. My brother says somehow Dwayne still lives. As does his 'girlfriend' or whatever, Dee. I know Dee is still alive and was still sketchy sanity-wise as of about a year ago, but let's nevermind how I know that. That's a loooong-ass story.

Or mayhaps it's several short stories, presented to you once a week in these posts. Technically I think I could write about some of it now. Seeing as my old man is dead. I don't think Dwayne can read. And I also know that Dee has informed her mother never to speak to my family again. True story. So almost 30 years later Dee is still helping me in her own way without really knowing it. I'm assuming that means that she won't speak to us again, right? 

I'm hesitant to open that Pandora's box. Though I know that one day I must. I don't know if everyone in my family wants that box opened.

For now, okay?

Well, one more thing.

The VP did have the company write me a 'bonus' check for $1,500 to immediately get a new car when someone forced her to take a look at the car I drove.



  1. "Seeing as my old man is dead. I don't think Dwayne can read. And I also know that Dee has informed her mother never to speak to my family again." -- Oh man, if that's not carte blanche to write whatever the hell you want, I don't know what is!!! Loving these stories, LOL!

    1. I'm glad they're entertaining. It's crazy how one small thing triggers a memory, and that's triggering another and another. I love when other people write about their real life, so I was hoping anyone would find these stories interesting. I mean the story about a guy hammering a cop, that's pretty exciting, but this one? I didn't know. Thanks for reading, Debra.

  2. Seriously Joy, this could be a mini series set in the 90s, all big hair and pencil skirts.
    I would love for the story 'to be continued'.

    1. BIG hair, totally! I can picture Lisa, she had a giant helmet of hair, sprayed all the way around like a characture of herself. And she always had TONS of shiny, red lipgloss. Her roommate was the head of marketing, having an affair with the President, and she was just like a TV beauty queen. She was from Texas, always had so much makeup on, she looked like she was shooting a hairspray commercial. She also had a GIANT hair helmet. They were like white Kardashians, always wearing fancy dresses and high heels. Oh, I don't miss SOME things about the early 90's :) I MUCH MORE meshed with the fashion of the later 90's, the chunky heels and PLAID! Thanks for reading, Lily.

  3. Please keep writing this story! These people are fabulous! And that job interview?!?! OMG.

    1. That job interview were the most uncomfortable moments of my life just about. That's awkward enough for an adult, but for a 17 yr old? Ugh. I will try to remember any good STORIES. I'm just remembering the characters, and they WERE characters! I remember the Porsche guy so clearly, he literally wore that gray, shiny Porsche jacket around the office. I would ask him, "Are you going somewhere, Bill?" and he would pretend like he was on his way out somewhere. At 10:00a.m. hahahaha

  4. Damn computer ate my comment *growls and kicks the internet*

    I AM INTERESTED. And kinda sad, because no-one should have to go through those circumstances, and I wish you hadn't had to, but at the same time they've helped to somehow mold and shape the wonderful person you are now, so...eh!

    I'm glad you wrote :)

    1. I HATE that! Happened to me today on my freaking phone! The "back" button doesn't bring your comment back. I also do it all the time if I'm not logged in to Blogger, going through the process of having to log in somehow loses my comment, and sometimes it's just a TOTAL effin' mystery.
      I'm glad you're interested. I can't believe I forgot all of this stuff, or blocked it out or whatever you call it. I keep reminding myself of that. If my life were perfect I would be THEE most boring writer ever. I'd be Gwenyth freaking Paltrow, pretending to live on welfare rations like an idiot, like that's even remotely close to the actual experience.
      It is definitely cathartic to write about stuff, and it's triggering additional memories. Some I feel like I have to leave out, at least for right now, and some I'm just going to keep rolling with. Hopefully they'll be entertaining on some level. Thanks for your support!

  5. Wow. Loving this, Joy! Brings back memories of my office days. I wore black tights and army shoes with my pencil skirts. Thought I was being "edgy", but really HR took one look at me and went WTF? Looking forward to the continuation, and that Office Space quote is something my husband and I use all the time!

    1. Black tights & army shoes were DEFINITELY my style! But I was told over and over that noone would hire that person, and not having much college played with my confidence. So I abandoned my own sense of style, promising myself on some level I would bring it back. I still haven't done that fully, but in my defense not many cool designers will make the punk/goth look for plus-sized adults. There are some, but they're out of my price range.
      When my husband & I worked together, we always quoted Office Space to each other, and now that you mention it we DO say some of the lines still to this day. Great movie. Anyone who has worked in the cubicle jungle should see it! Thanks for reading, Linda.

  6. Holy crap, Joy. This is insane. I want to know all the things.

    I'm living an Office Space life right now. Not so much on the fun. *Sigh*

    1. I've been there, Chrissy. In the early 90's, with companies stuck in the 80's and in the 00's, which were not much better, but less lies. Or maybe I just didn't know them??
      I'll keep going as the memories unravel, hopefully the stories will stay interesting.

  7. What a rich and fascinating life-history you have, Joy. Even though there have often been challenges/difficulties, I suspect they've shaped you into the well-rounded person you are today.

    1. That is one way to look at it. Thanks for reading.

  8. Please, please do give us all the dirt!! So fascinating and thanks for the reminder of the super innovations of the 90's software technology!! I wish I had kept one of those floppy discs as a memento now! :D

    1. I'm sure you can find a floppy disc on e-Bay, or in antique shops :)

  9. OMG WordPerfect and floppies and the 80's and 90's - I kinda miss life back then. And they gave you a check to get a new car?? Holy crap! And yes, more stories about Dwayne and the gang (he) please.

    1. I know, I forgot (or blocked out) all of those F commands I worked so hard to remember for WordPerfect. And usually couldn't remember so I made a little cheat-sheet like they had at the school where I took the class, and just kept that on top of my keyboard. I HATED MS Word so, so much when I was forced to learn it. It took forever to take all the auto features off so you could be exact, and everyone thought the WordPerfect people were total nerds.
      I'm working on one about some random employees of this company, but I wasn't able to get very far. Thanks for reading, Kristi.

  10. So, last night I'm in bed reading this on my Nook - which is not conducive to commenting at all - and I read these lines

    "Lisa hated me so very much it gave her Multiple Sclerosis. I believe she stressed herself out SO MUCH worrying about my every move, that she broke herself. She was on a 'leave of absence' for a long time.

    And I just died laughing. I laughed so much I had to finish laughing in the bathroom. On the toilet. It is now the next morning and I am starting to laugh like that again writing this comment. I can't even address the rest of the awesome in this post such as Word Perfect and formatting floppies. Because for all that is unholy and full of anthrax, I too, used WP and formatted floppies. I learned Windows 3.1 for god's sake. I probably had a Lisa, too. I love you and this post so very much.

    1. hahaha thanks Pattie. I suck at commenting on my phone, no idea about a Nook, but thanks for coming back and making it happen. The thing about that Lisa line? It's all true. She listened to my phone convos, stopped walking to listen to people talk to me, went out of her way to always lecture me about stupid things, etc. I could tell she hated me so much it consumed her day to day life. Then she got really sick and was literally diagnosed with MS. Even though she made my life hell, I sent her flowers and her roommate, the one having the affair w/the President? Took time out of her busy day of work and affair-having to tell me that was a really classy thing to do. I guess I should just put this all in the next post, ey??

  11. 80's flashback! Interesting stories, Joy. I think we all went through that phase of putting our foot in our mouths (without even knowing it). Sounds like you worked your way up but it wasn't easy!

  12. Yes, I had worked my way up to lower middle management. We'll I had held two positions with "manager" in my title. Managing projects and processes more than people, which is just fine by me. Now I'm home managing to keep shorties alive, so we'll see what happens when I re-enter the cubicle world.

  13. Oh man, I'm glad I got to read this. This was everything I hated about the 90s Internet boom and working in an office all rolled into one. I didn't work for an IBM knockoff... I worked for actual IBM, and it was absolutely terrible. Yes, working in an office is all about the gossip. Everyone was married, and yet everyone was still all boinking each other. I had always just thought it was a stereotype, but people really did screw for raises. And let's not forget the joy of doing something wrong on a report, and getting told by 4 different managers and bosses that you needed to fix it. Even after it was already fixed.

    Did I mention I don't miss this environment? At all?

    1. I don't miss it either. Other companies that I worked for had problems, but not like THIS. I had wondered WHY this little Southern Bell that always seemed so overwhelmed was the head of marketing, her title should have been "Head of Giving Head to the Head of the Company" I guess.
      TPS REPORTS! Ugh. We've all been there. Copies of everything, filed all over, totally crazy inefficient. Not to mention the "Stand Operating Procedures" that had to be approved, and seconded, and typed up and filed in 2 places, in order to change ANYTHING about anything.
      Don't even get me started on women's options, which were pretty much either:
      1. Be a low-paid adminstrative pee-on,
      2. Sleep with some rich man to get promoted.
      Or I guess what I did, start at the bottom, work your butt off with some sucking up and low-level boinking for inside information and advice.

  14. What's in the (pandora's) box?!? What's in the box?!?

    1. I totally heard that in his voice.

      It's not a head, just a bunch of Jerry Springer-esque secrets.