It was hard to fathom being put out to pasture days before my sixtieth birthday. I was a good employee for thirty years. However, the powers that be decided on some random spreadsheet full of numbers and not the names of hard working individuals to cut from the workforce. Oh, I was lucky to have skated by the last three layoffs but it hasn’t been any picnic. The company made the remaining people pick up the slack so no one person does the work of those who left. Now that it has happened to me, I am devastated. I can’t apply for Social Security or take my pension and no one wants to hire a person my age.
What I need to do is re-invent myself.
I think back to what I survived in my life. I was born five years before the stock market crash of ’29. I survived the depression, WWII, a bad marriage, and the death of my only child. I will survive the loss of a job. I remember my mother telling me I had an IQ of 141. I was bored in school because I had a photographic memory and didn’t have to study. Now was the time I put this ability to work.
I decided to start small. I studied to be a locksmith. It wasn’t hard. I read every manual I could find. I practiced taking apart and putting together as many locks as I could get my hands on but the moment of truth was when I answered a want ad.
I walked in and it wasn’t long before I charmed the man at the counter. I was in. It was my first job since the layoff. And I did well. I could impression keys faster than anyone in the place. I opened locked cars with a slim Jim in the blink of an eye. I regained my confidence. It was time to move on to another job: Something harder.
I decided to go for a white collar job this time. Not a large company job being a cog in a wheel behind a desk. No sir. Not unless I was CEO. I ran it though my mind a few times… yes…CEO…a distinct possibility.
But first, I needed capital. Fast money. I decided to be a professional gambler. Not just a professional gambler but the best stud card player around.
I went to the library and checked out several books on the ins and outs of poker playing. Reading the players and playing the game was half the strategy. I learned the rules, when to hold, when to fold, and I was ready to give it whirl. I went to the card clubs in Gardena, California.
My first experience lasted four hours and I walked away with $600. My second encounter lasted eight hours and I walked away with $2000. I went to different clubs at different times to get a better feel of the competition. After a few more times, I decided to enter a tournament in Las Vegas. I came in fifth and walked away with five thousand dollars.
It was time to go back and take over the company that changed my life forever. I knew it would take time and money. The card playing would provide the cash. The time away from cards and studying the latest in corporate leveraging and take-overs would provide the knowledge to buy out my old company.
I worked hard and read every business magazine I laid my hands on. I was patient. I mean a person doesn’t buy a company right away. It took five years but the time came. I formed one dummy corporation after another dummy corporation, layered one on top of the other so the paper trail as to who owned the company was buried. The day came when I made my offer and it was accepted. Topper Inc. was mine. A Board of Directors meeting was called. The CEO was there. I walked in wearing my $500 suit, $200 shoes, and smoking the largest, most expensive Havana cigar I could find. These people didn’t even know who I was. They were the ones who changed my life forever with the check of a pen against a ledger sheet and they didn’t even have a clue.
“Gentlemen,” I began. “It gives me great pleasure to take control of Topper Inc. Now, you’re all fired. Get out.”
The men looked at each other. Blood drained from of their faces. One man looked like he was about to pass out; kind of like me the day I was told to pack up my desk and leave.
“Okay, I guess I have to repeat what I said because all of you must have wax in your ears. LEAVE! GET OUT! AND DON’T COME BACK. What part of you’re fired don’t you understand?
One by one they picked up from their chairs and headed for the door.
I couldn’t help but scream, “Don’t let the door hit you in the butt when you leave the building! Ha Ha Ha Ha.”
I sat in the empty conference room for twenty minutes staring out the large bay window. It was time to call my stock broker. I owned 100% of the company so it was easy to sell it. I immediately put it up for sale, received 10% more than what I paid for it, and sold it with the clause that none of the clowns that ran the company before could be rehired and that all of the underlings were to keep their jobs.
I had my vindication. And the expression, “Revenge is a dish best served cold” rang true.