Tuesday, May 8, 2012

No. 758 – Love My Way

Performer: The Psychedelic Furs
Songwriters: Richard Butler, John Ashton, Tim Butler, Vince Ely
Original Release: single
Year: 1982
Definitive Version: None

This was a huge song from my freshman year at Wabash, and it was one, like Slit Skirts, that I didn’t really care for at the time but now because it harkens to a great time, I do like it. I definitely see the basement pool/TV room at Wolcott Hall. But that isn’t what I think about when I hear this song.

In January 2003, I had a secret that I was keeping from everyone at The Dispatch—I was quitting at the end of the month to move to Cleveland to start research work on my book idea. Well, it was more that I was turning in my notice at the end of the month, effective at the end of February.

Of course, I’d known that I was leaving since at least the middle of the last year, but I wanted to do two things before I left: I wanted to stay the rest of the year to save up as much money as I could before I had to live off the savings with no income, and I wanted to repair my work image somewhat, so they’d miss me when I was gone.

I accomplished the first part of the goal rather easily, because I had a little help. In 2002, Debbie had heard that Dot in Atlanta died, which of course was sad for me considering how well we had gotten along. Dot and her husband had been longtime Coca-Cola investors, so she was well off, and she left a huge chunk of money to Debbie. I don’t know how much she left her; it was none of my business.

Regardless, Debbie took me out to dinner around Christmas and said how she wanted to help me leave the Dispatch to go do what I wanted to do. So she said that because she knew how much Dot loved me, she wanted me to have a little taste from Dot’s estate. She gave me a check for $8,000. I was floored and thanked her effusively. Although it wouldn’t speed up the process, it would definitely help.

But later my cynical mind went to work. The amount was notable to me for two reasons. First, that Debbie could so seemingly capriciously jot off a check for 8 G’s when she had been telling me that paying the bills was a bit of a struggle for her told me that Dot’s bequest was more than generous.

Second, and more important, that was exactly the value of her diamond engagement ring. When we broke up, Debbie had offered to give me back the ring, but I didn’t want it. I gave it to her willingly as a gift, and it wasn’t as though I was going to do anything with the ring if I took it back anyway. I’m sure, even as I write this, that that more than any other reason was why Debbie gave me what she did. Perhaps, now that I think about it, Dot’s death actually had nothing to do with it at all. It just provided Debbie with cover for doing something she felt she had to do to clear her conscience or whatever.

Anyway, that left the second part of my goal—rehabilitate my work image. I had made a big effort throughout 2002 to do better, not only in my attitude but also from a technical standpoint. Of course, the fact that I could see a clear goal that was coming soon didn’t hurt. It’s always easier to put your nose to the grindstone when you know it’s just a temporary arrangement.

By January 2003, I had more than $44,000 in the bank. I figured my expenses carefully and determined that that would last me at least two years, so I was financially ready. And work was going along swimmingly. In fact, I had even been nominated for an internal award, so it was time to make my exit.

The only thing left to take care of was telling my circle of friends. I wanted them to hear it from me directly and not second- or third-hand. I figured that I would tell them the last weekend of January and then give two weeks’ notice at the end of the next week. The plan was ready to be put into play.

Now I could focus all of my attention on the house party that friends of mine were holding the week before I dropped my bombshell …

(To be continued)

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