Thursday, September 29, 2011

Facing our problems head-on...or not.

Of all the spineless, gutless, backboneless (Oh, hang on...please see "spineless").

Shortly after firing manager Ozzie Guillen with only two games remaining in the 2011 season, the Chicago White Sox appointed bench coach Joey Cora to act as manager for the team's lame duck two-game finale.

Tuesday morning, however, Cora received a text message from Ken Williams, the White Sox General Manager, requesting that he not show up at the ballpark to fulfill his brief managerial duties; the deal was off.

I suppose I can understand why an upper management figure may opt to digitally, rather than personally, dismiss an employee who had served his team for seven years. Nobody enjoys an uncomfortable confrontation, especially with Cora's well-documented history of accepting disappointment so...moistly?

That's a young Alex Rodriguez comforting little Joey after the Seattle Mariners' 1995 Cinderella season finally screeched to a halt at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. I'm sure A-Rod was whispering gems of encouragement, like "Don't take it so hard, Joe. I'm going to be richer than deep fried butter in a couple of years."

White Sox GM Williams certainly desired to avoid, at all costs, the crop dusting copter of tears which would have irrigated the moose and buffalo heads in his office had Cora heard of his firing face-to-face.

But sometimes, don't you agree that these folks need to bite the bullet and administer the medicine in person?

I was laid off from my final job as an accountant back in 1991. Apparently, the proprietor hadn't been drawing enough business to support a staff, which is quite understandable, given that I was his sole employee.

Rather than investing two minutes' time to explain the situation, the guy left a lengthy note on my desk, concluding with two weeks notice, which I discovered upon returning from lunch.

No words were exchanged, not even "I'll be your cashier whenever you're ready."

For the next two weeks, he avoided me like I was a Ukrainian loan shark trying to collect an overdue advance. He actually left the bathroom midstream as I nestled myself into the adjoining urinal.

How do I know it was midstream? Oh, I just do.

Around the same era, an acquaintance of mine who had been married for a couple of months, received a call from his wife as he settled in to watch Monday Night football at a friend's house.

"Hi, what's up?"

"I'm leaving you."

"What do you mean? Where are you going?"

"It's not important. I'm leaving you and I won't be there when you get back tonight."

How nice of her to let him know over the phone that she had been seeing another guy throughout their engagement and wedding, yet felt too "trapped" to face reality and do what was necessary.

The dude probably still gets a splotchy rash on his throat that looks like Italy whenever he hears the Monday Night Football theme song.

I can think of only two scenarios where digital communication may trump the presence of two people in the same room. I think you'll understand why when you read these examples:

"Hi, honey. Hey, listen—there's a chance that you may experience painful urination and discharge in the next few days. Heck, maybe you already are! LOL. How do I know this? Doesn't really matter. And don't worry, the good news is that I've been to the doctor and I know exactly what the problem is."

"Hey, babe. Remember that six-figure 401K dealio I had at work? Funny thing—I withdrew it and put it all down on the Red Sox on September 1 when they were nine games up in the wild card race. It was crazy, did you hear about it? They didn't make the playoffs! Hey, we've faced bigger obstacles, right? LOL."

If you ever, ever feel physically threatened due to self-incurred acts of gross stupidity, you may reason that a good beating at the hands of the offended will solve the problem. It won't.

Remember, texting is God's way of keeping stupid people safe.

1 comment :

  1. I vividly recall getting the old heave-ho in person from The Large, Formerly-Local-But-Now-Chicago-Based-Aerospace-Company-Whose-Name-We-Do-Not-Speak. The manager and her henchwoman Skipper were walking around our vast sea of cubicles, stopping at seemingly random intervals to hand out WARN layoff notices, like some sort of Angels of Career Death looking for firstborn. Lacking a ready supply of lamb's blood to paint on my doorway as a preventive measure, I was one of the victims. The "concern face" into which the manager composed her features haunts my nightmares to this day whenever I've had a bad plate of linguini alla Vongole. I would have preferred email.