Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No. 870 – Times of Trouble

Performer: Temple of the Dog
Songwriters: Stone Gossard, Chris Cornell
Original Release: Temple of the Dog
Year: 1991
Definitive Version: None

I bought Temple of the Dog right after I discovered Pearl Jam, but I didn’t really get into it until later. By the late Nineties, when I first made a song countdown email list to commemorate the end of the millennium, this album was on heavy rotation.

At about the same time, Debbie ran into trouble of her own—she became unemployed. No, she didn’t start dating her boss’s son: been there, done that. This time, it was office politics.

New Albany had been sprouting wildly, and Wexner’s foundation moved from the tumble-down quaint white farmhouse to a brand new building in one of what were to become signature brick buildings in a town designed for all the rich folks who were moving out there to look old and quaint but lacking all the charm of an actual old and quaint small town. I don’t believe that had anything to do with what happened, but a new office design can change office dynamics.

Anyway, Debbie worked with two women, Gertrude and Hortense, who could best be described as the Wicked Stepsisters to Debbie’s Cinderella. (You can tell I’m an unbiased observer in this little drama, huh?)

When Debbie joined, the three were the best of friends. Debbie sought their companionship—even outside the office—and for a while it seemed fine. But Gertrude had a jealous eye, even though she was the assistant to the president. (Debbie was only the assistant to the veep.) And Hortense, being a loyal toady, always backed Gertrude when it suited her needs.

I don’t recall how the final showdown started, and I’m not sure Debbie even knew, but eventually it led to Gertrude going in to Debbie’s boss and running her down—in several cases flat out lying, as Debbie would tell me later—about Debbie’s work. To his credit, Debbie’s boss didn’t believe much if anything about it, but he recognized the real problem: Gertrude wasn’t going anywhere, and there had to be peace in the office. So Debbie was shown the door, with a bit of a severance, right before Christmas 1998. It was called a layoff, but really Debbie was forced out.

It worked out in the end, because Debbie got a much better job within a couple of months at a much better organization, and the Wicked Stepsisters most assuredly ended up locked up in a tower somewhere with their evil-grinning fat cat and their coal-black hearts.


  1. Were they REALLY named Gertrude and Hortense?

  2. Of course. They were just that ugly.