The Insurance Schmuck’s boss is a fucking shyster. I used to give him the benefit of the doubt in spite of attitudes, on his own part and on the part of underlings who were taking instruction from and currying favor with him, that can most charitably be described as shockingly crass and insensitive, and in spite of a parallel, growing line of evidence that he was kind of nuts and lived a life of projectile chaos that he did nothing to mitigate. This is the guy who told the Insurance Schmuck, “If you want to be quality, surround yourself with quality.” That is, if you want to be rich, sidle up and suck up to rich people. That alone offended me, because I don’t like having impressionable friends get corrupted by that kind of sleazy, sleazy shit, but the Insurance Schmuck told me of it before I started to realize just how crazy the boss is and that his fiancee is even crazier.
I’ve gone drinking with both of them and seen the Boss (Springsteen sounds less balls to the wall) at the office when I was visiting, under what I took to be normal circumstances that had not been sanitized for my benefit. The Boss, whom we can also call ISB in shorthand, just to keep clear that he is not responsible for New Jersey’s finest singing of songs, seemed just a tiny bit intense at work but basically reasonable. I’d heard stories, so his calmness surprised me. By the time he and his fiancee got out to the bar that night, he had presumably been up for about eighteen hours on four hours’ sleep, and his behavior was loopy enough to believe it. I immediately took his fiancee to be something of a crazy bitch, although, again, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I’d dealt with much worse and much less placable drunks; these two seemed like they might possibly escalate some shit if someone really got up in their faces but were peaceable enough that I wouldn’t be the asshole to give them the casus belli.
I was right, for the evening. Then the Insurance Schmuck started telling me crazy stories about ISB and ISBF (who probably should sound like a bowel disease advertised on television and/or a dodgy intelligence agency): driving to Florida and back all day and night under frightening circumstances of sleep deprivation; the fiancee getting angry to an extent that the Insurance Schmuck reluctantly admitted crossed the line into domestic violence; the other (much prettier and marginally saner) woman whom ISB kept around the house as an unpaid sort of chamber lady to keep his main bitch vaguely simmered down, but whom he then blamed for eating his food and clogging her shower drain with her hair; this other woman, also a sometime girlfriend of the Insurance Schmuck’s, performing unpaid domestic bitch labor for this couple as a way of maintaining a standing invitation to their shore house; ISBF cutting her credit card debt only from $30k to $20k over the course of years living with ISB, almost exclusively at his expense, and fishing for justification for her purchase of, inter alia, a $14,000 wristwatch.
I.e., bish be cray, dawg. The Insurance Schmuck told me that she got upset with him when he told her, in response to a point-blank question about what he splurged on after closing major deals, that his most recent splurge had been on two Lacoste beach towels costing a total of something like $25. She’d wanted to hear that he’d bought some really expensive shit, so she did not enjoy being made to feel like a confirmed spendthrift just for having a watch that was worth an order of magnitude more than my Civic.
If I came into jewelry like that, I’d start looking at Prius ads. Or flyover country real estate. The Boss has this ultra-high-maintenance girlfriend with frank emotional and behavioral problems, but it’s no mystery how he landed her. She’s the first to recognize quality and surround herself with it. Dude shows off his wealth and brags about it, and bitches come digging for dem shine bling. A man of his persona will inevitably attract psychotherapists’ wet dreams like moths to his lamp. ISB inevitably drives dem shine whip, although I couldn’t tell you what kind of car because it isn’t a train and my mind consequently glazes over. Just this morning, a pump jockey chatted me up about my Focus (in which I had just gotten an exceptionally good night’s sleep, even by the standards of indoor bed sleeping), and just about the only comments of his that I was able to follow were that he has 258,000 miles on his Focus and there’s another model with 350 horsepower and Wow Much Torx. That’s 350 more than the FP40 cab control/baggage car on a California Comet consist, but hook a Genesis up to the other end and you’ve got yourself one of America’s bitchinest rides. I used to think the Genesis was ugly af, but it’s grown on me over the years. By the way, those were extremely low-class comments, since I do not own and operate a train, a railroad, or a car that I could trade in for inhabitable turnkey housing stock.
The Insurance Schmuck got me badly sunburned a few weeks ago by getting me to take off my shirt and lay out on the cabana at his private pool club. I later saw pictures of him and a colleague on the same deck, fully clothed, so he duly made a compliant little bitch of me. He was right about the birdwatching, but I wouldn’t have objected to fully clothed women, either, so it wasn’t hypocritical of me to be annoyed by a case of sunburn serious enough to delay my return travel reservations west until it stopped oozing and feeling like hell.
One chick he ran into at the pool was the ex-girlfriend of a colleague who, he told me later, had sued the Boss for not delivering on promised equity in a business partnership that the Boss had recruited him to join as a junior partner. The Insurance Schmuck implicitly had no problem with the likelihood that his boss had defrauded a junior business partner; his problem with the situation was that it had come to involve lawyers and bad feelings. Basically, he was scandalized by a breach of face. He expressed no sense of holy shit I’m working for a shyster. From what he’s said, I have no reason to believe that the allegations or the suit were bogus. It sounds like a member of the bitch pool decided not to bend over and take it like a good binch. The plaintiff had upset the apple cart by being insolent to one of the authority figures that the Insurance Schmuck so diligently fluffs and airing dirty laundry.
The plaintiff’s legacy to his ex-girlfriend, according to the Insurance Schmuck, includes a nice set of tits, rent on her bitchin’ pad in Center City or Northern Liberties or wherever the fuck she lives (not Kensington of any hue), and enough walking-around money for the pool club membership. This chick looked exceptionally well put-together, more obviously employable than most of the women poolside, so I was surprised to be told that she was a sort of sugar baby on voluntary alimony. The story was that she works but doesn’t make enough to pay for la dolce vita on her own. When I work, I don’t make enough on my own not to stay in a rescue mission, so I’m not here to hate; some of the places in Philadelphia where this chick is not staying ought to be condemned, and plenty more ought to be seized by the housing authority, which wouldn’t necessarily do a worse job on maintenance. This chick isn’t why housing allocation and policy in America are a clusterfuck. Besides, she and her ex-boyfriend sound like some of the most upstanding people involved in the insurance business in any fashion, given the seedy shit I’m hearing about others, at least one of whom the ex has had to sue.
It’s telling that what the Insurance Schmuck found most scandalous was that a number of the women at the club, including a colleague’s ex-girlfriend, were strippers. He swore me to silence about his colleague dating a stripper who was trying to get out of the business. Haidt-fuck me now, Ghomeshi. Stripping isn’t my scene, but it’s reputable. If it’s a shitty job, that sucks, but so, by many reckonings, does working at Denny’s. Cousin Gigolo would sympathize with women who are looking to find a man to take care of them, and turn green with envy at the quality of the apartments, even houses, that they’re eyeing as part of the deal.
The Insurance Schmuck knows women who aren’t self-actualized at work in their thirties, and I, on the cusp of 35, slept in my car last night. Whoopdefuckingdoo. Do I look down on women for being strippers? No. Of course not. I mean, not any more than I look down on any showboating celebrity for maybe being kind of obnoxious in their work. The sexualization isn’t what I find distasteful about stripping; it’s more that stripping occupies a really weird mental space that some other forms of sex work do not, and that isn’t a head space that I’m interested in exploring. I figure I’m likelier to marry a hooker than any other sort of woman, so I’m not looking to be Captain Save-a-Ho. For that matter, I know from personal experience that there is no definitive emotional, social, or psychological profile to which sex workers uniformly conform. The Insurance Schmuck has boned all these amateur chicks, many of whom are way too crazy to function as hookers, so he would think that. (Heh. I initially wrote that as “fucktion.” Maybe I didn’t sleep so well after all.)
Here’s something I don’t see whores doing: angling for a cut of the investment estate that I’ll inherit when my parents die. The Insurance Schmuck has been doing that. He’s tactful about it, but there’s still something deeply wrong with the entire mentality that allows a person to even consider raising the subject. Basic decency and consideration should prohibit it. It should be obvious that we don’t go there, we just don’t. But nothing under ISB is obvious. Consciously cultivating rich people as presences in one’s life and sucking up to them for a cut of their money shouldn’t be the done thing, either. The thought of going through life with such a mentality should be mortifying.
An aggravating factor to the Insurance Schmuck’s longer-term prospecting of me is that I already have money that I can spare to invest with him, but he’s all like, nah, we try to work with high-net-worth individuals. Uh, excuse me? I’m not good enough to do business with you, but my parents are, so when they die I will finally rise to that level? What a shitty, shitty way to approach a friend. And I goddamn well resent the Boss for putting such ideas in the Insurance Schmuck’s head. He’s too craven and chickenshit to stand up to bad authority figures, but if he were under the direction of someone reputable, someone who abhorred profiting off the deaths of clients’ loved ones because he regarded death as too solemn and sensitive to financialize, he wouldn’t be approaching me in that fashion.
It is because he works for a man of frankly bad character that he’s already working up a game plan to profit from my parents’ eventual deaths at a time when they’re both in reasonably good health. I have every reason to be furious at his boss, not just annoyed. And I’m not too far off base to entertain conspiratorial thoughts. The Insurance Schmuck is in close touch with a mutual friend from college who comes from a wealthy family (the blowhard who wrote the shit about Bill Durden and Charles Nisbet) but is completely out of touch with another mutual friend who comes from a more modest family without discretionary investment funds, with whom I’ve stayed in touch very consistently (the attorney in DC). There are other factors at play, but it’s eerie that it’s turned out that way, and I can’t help but wonder if some of it isn’t a function of his working for Crooked Midas. The Insurance Schmuck didn’t act like that when he was working as a lifeguard and a pool company territory manager. I doubt he’d be acting like that if he weren’t in a sales position now, or even if he were in a sales position in an office with real scruples.
Learning that ISB finagled cut-rate work out of a junior partner by bullshitting him about his future stake in the business (beyond the Land of Make-Believe, we call it fraud) definitely makes me less inclined to give that fucker any quarter. I don’t care that he bought me drinks once. I don’t fucking give a shit. He strings along domestic labor from that quasi-ex-girlfriend of the Insurance Schmuck’s by implying continuing invitations to his shore house. It’s like dacha blat in the former USSR, except that dacha gardens provided something like two thirds of Soviet produce. All we have is some asshole fucking around in a beach mansion while the Dunkin’ Doorman bothers me for coffee money. No, that wasn’t too fair; the Dunkin’ Doorman has better morals and objectively better manners than ISB, thirty seconds of direct annoyance instead of years of duplicity and corruption, even of other people’s friendships. The Dunkin’ Doorman gets his money from the living; ain’t no dead man coming by for coffee, after all. Hard to enjoy that brew when you’re the grounds. Remember, man, you are dust, and to dust my thumb feels ready to return about now.
Ash Wednesday repetitive stress isn’t the only reason I’ve stayed out of the priesthood, but it’s a start. At this point, I’ll admire anyone who isn’t a fucking asshole about matters of death. Yeah, it’s rude to say that, but that’s the point, and at least it’s solemn. I’m not one to lord it over the priesthood or the hookerhood on account of my own good morals, but I don’t mind lording it over a bumptious shithead who needles one of my closest friends to inquire with me about my prospective cut of my parents’ estate but not to see about doing normal, non-offensive business with me using money I already have. I frankly am morally superior to ISB. No two ways about it; he’s a bottomfeeding gobshite who wouldn’t have anything to eat without people like me picking the damn fruit, and I am not. Hell, I feel bad about expressing my own superior manners to the Dunkin’ Doorman’s after thinking over ISB’s loose morals, and the Dunkin’ Doorman gets up in everybody’s face in the ghetto (in the ghetto).
The Insurance Schmuck has some of the rudest, most batshit insane, most offensive people working in his business. He told me that they nearly excluded the most well-mannered, calmest salesman in their study group from participating because his sales numbers were marginal. The top producer in that group, who I took to be a marginal sort of Willy Loman case, turns out to be a balls-to-the-wall wacko who claims to get by on only an hour of sleep a night. He must be exaggerating. Right? I honestly don’t know. He seemed a little bit off when I met him, but I couldn’t quite put a finger on it, and as with ISB and ISBF, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Knowing what I’ve been told now, I’d sooner give his yacht to the Dunkin’ Doorman, who would enjoy it more and make better use of it than that fucker is while he’s on his way to flopping over dead from a catastrophic heart attack at the age of fifty. Supposedly this dude is a self-made man whose parents kicked him out at sixteen. Way to be an asshole about it, though.
Why do I get the feeling that that whole business is poisonous? And why do I get the feeling that the political ramifications of all this Glengarry Glen Ross shit make it even harder for me to make a go of it as someone who tries to be an honest and tangibly productive member of society? I can’t sympathize with them. It’s just impossible. Most people who get kicked out of the house at sixteen don’t have a fucking yacht. The Dunkin’ Doorman isn’t up on the bridge humming Leon Bridges tunes. More like sail the ship right into the pier, now, and stand back and laugh while the owner has a raging mad. Now now, do you not have adequate insurance to cover such events, and are you not in the business of planning for the misery of others?
By the way, balls-to-the-wall yacht dude can’t do basic arithmetic. On the same night that I rode to Palo Alto with a bunch of disabled frequent fliers who were using the VTA 22 bus as their shelter, this fucker bragged to us about how the 49ers raise “millions of dollars” at charity bocce events. What a fucking dipshit. He’s supposedly a multimillionaire with mid- to high-seven-figure income, so other multimillionaires are able to raise a portion of any of their individual net worth in an evening, an amount that would also cover part of one percent of Santa Clara County’s local government budgets.
Is it that I have to understand math because my personal budgeting depends on it? I’ve raised hundreds of cents in less than an hour by scavenging deposit bottles out of trash cans. You’d be amazed by how much Starbucks I’ve been able to buy with it.
There are less reputable places to work than Gobias Industries. It’s never the bums who accuse me of not working for a living. They aren’t the ones who weaponize the work ethic. They recognize that the labor theory of value is something between a myth in the classical sense and a crock of shit. The proper thing for me to tell my contacts in the insurance business is that yes bitch I do work for a living, but what y’all do at the office doesn’t look a whole lot like work to me.
The proper thing for me to tell ISB is for the love of all holiness to pull his head out of his damn ass. All the same, I don’t want to strut around here and brag that I’m that proper. It’s bad Catholic praxis to compare our most grievous fault to the more grievous around us. Which I just did, through my most grievous, ad nauseam. But in this case, I came in a spirit of judgment, not mercy. This ain’t Planet Fitness, cracka.