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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Girl’s a Super Freak; or I’m Tellin’ Ya, My Sister’s Got My Back

I’ve only been fired once.

It was actually quite unfair, coming as it did during my performance review.

I had been unaware, until it was presented to me, that the one woman in a company of 48 who did not care for me was my boss’s best friend.

And she had made it a point to express her displeasure.

I listened in stunned disbelief as, one week before Christmas, I was let go.

“We could put you on a performance plan,” Nancy said, smiling, “but you’d just burn anyway.”

And that, my friends, was a direct quote.

They had security walk me out, a hiccuping woman clutching both her dignity and a cardboard box stuffed with a year’s worth of work-related detritus.

Karen was already home when I got there. Two single women with their two boys. I sat at the kitchen table with my head in my hands.

Karen poured.

“Here,” she said, handing me a shot of vodka. I held the shot dully, staring inwardly. She fished a pickle out of the jar, handed it to me.

“Nostrovya,” she said.

We downed our vodka, ate our pickles.

And in the morning, my pillow was wet with tears.

A couple months later, Karen moved out, moved in with the man who would become her husband, moved out to the country where she gained acres of land, a four-bedroom house, Rottweilers and chickens and mosquitoes and a commute that made your eyes cross.

I worked odd jobs until the next full-time opportunity came along; and Karen remained at the place I had just gotten fired from.

She would call me, from time to time, to share the gossip. So and so had a baby. So and so got a divorce.

And someone had been tampering with Nancy’s office.

Karen laughed gleefully. “Someone’s been doing things to her phone,” she whispers.

I switch ears. “Yeah? What things?”

“Yikes!” she hisses. “I gotta go.”

She called back a day later. “Did I tell you what happened to Nancy?”

Nancy. I may never like another person named “Nancy”.


“Someone came in and smeared dog poop all over her phone!”


Karen’s laughing, and from experience I know she’s going to have to wipe her eyes soon. “Her phone! Hee hee hee! Someone smeared what appears to be DOG poop on her phone and now they’re talking about setting up surveillance video! Oops. Shoot. I gotta go.”

She hangs up.

That afternoon, I flip through my mail: bills, circulars – and a newsletter from my old place of employment: Sales are up, costs are down, a recipe from someone in Marketing.

And a short article, written by Karen, about her Rottweilers.

Karen’s dogs.


I run to the phone.

“Good afternoon, Free Market Slave Trade.”

“May I speak with Karen, please?”

“Hold, please.”

Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking, and when she passes –

“Good afternoon. This is Karen.”

I utter a string of excitable curse words, and Karen starts laughing. “What’s going on with you?”

“I know who smeared the dog poop on Nancy’s phone!”

The line goes absolutely silent.

“Karen, did you just write an article for your company’s newsletter?”

Continued silence.

“More to the point, did you write about your dogs?”

The silence, if possible, becomes even more silent.

“!@#$!@*!! They’re going to fire me,” she says, finally.

“Nah,” I said. “They got nothin'. You look like an angel, and everyone loves you.”

She sighs. “I gotta go,” she says.

“Hey, Karen?”



“She just made me so damn mad,” she says.

“I love you,” I say.

“I love you, too.”

And we laugh.

The surveillance camera never went up, Nancy was fired less than a year later, and the mystery of who smeared the dog poop on her phone remained, officially, unsolved.


Shelly said...

What goes around, comes around. What you dish out, you receive, even if it is on the handle of your phone. How appropriate!

Anonymous said...

Love this.

Pearl said...

Shelly, it was a bit horrifying, a bit laughable. :-)

Anonymous said...

Love this.

Anonymous said...

Love this.

Anonymous said...

Love this.

Anonymous said...

oops - I apparently forgot how to use a computer.

Pearl said...

willful, I have to admit, I was a bit trepedatious (is that a word?) about writing it, but what the heck. It makes me laugh in a horrified kind of way.

Pearl said...

It's ok, willful. I love that you love it.


Vicus Scurra said...

Somebody has been filling up my blog with crap.
Oh, wait, that would be me.

Rita said...

OMG!!! She really does have your back! LOLOL!! ;)

Pearl said...

Vicus, I heartily disagree. Plus: Are you sure it wasn't Karen? 'Cause she's sneaky like that.

Rita, :-) I'm glad you liked it.

Anonymous said...

Any sister who will smear doggie doo on the bosses phone for you is one helluva sister.

Pearl said...

Delores, she really is. ;-)

Sausage Fingers said...

At least the on hold music was good. Screw the rest of them...be your own boss

Laraine Eddington said...

Personally, I am awed by your deductive skills.

esbboston said...

As someone who has been on the wrong end of the firing process, I feel your pain. About a year after I was fired my former boss was demoted, but it didn't give me any joy. I may dance in the street, though, if they ever catch on to the evil witch in human resources and fire her.

Simply Suthern said...

I have been fired once.

Within 6 months they were a client and I still get their money.

It smells sweeter than dog doo.

Lynn said...

That is such a great story - I am glad you don't work there anymore! And Karen is an awesome friend. Good for her!

I was fired from a law firm a few years ago on the Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend. Same thing - taken by surprise and walked out with my box. And the culprit was a law partner who reminded me of the woman in The Devil Wears Prada. She had hated me on sight when she started work that and I was gone in six months. I wish someone would put dog poop on her phone. :)

Eva Gallant said...

Great story! Karma's a bitch!

Leenie said...

Could have been worse. She could have fed her a chocolate poop pie like the maid did in The Help. A sister can be the best friend you're ever given.

Austan said...

That's the kind of sister we should all have! A toast to her ingenuity!

Pearl said...

SF, If this writing thing ever takes off, I'll be my own boss -- and I'll sexually harrass myself like you wouldn't believe. "That's a lovely blouse you're wearing, Pearl. What say you and I get a drink after work?" :-)

Laraine, it's actually one of my better points!

esb, it's been a very long time since I've known an HR Dept worth their salt.

SS, I can see where that would make the smell tolerable. :-)

Lynn, I may have to write about it yet, but the woman who fired me -- Nancy -- sent a resume to the company where I was an Exec Asst to the CEO. The phone call I made to her was absolutely priceless.

Eva, in this case, it literally was!! :-) What an excellent point!!

Pearl said...

Leenie, Karen's come to my rescue a number of times. She's a feisty little bundle of love.

Robbie Grey said...

Definitely not someone I'd want to be on the bad side of.

Lisa Golden said...

Karen rocks. Anyone who'd say "you'd just burn anyway" deserves what she got.

Belle said...

I agree with Shelly. Most of the time you reap what you sow. My daughter Christine worked for a real psycho woman. She finally had to quit before she went crazy herself. Her boss was fired a few months later. They finally figured out at headquarters she was the cause of all the chaos.

Pearl said...

Robbie, Nancy or Karen? :-)

Lisa, exactly. That phrase echoed in my head for weeks...

Belle, it's amazing how one person can affect the morale of an office. It's too bad it often takes a while for management to figure that out -- and if it's management that is the root of the problem? There's no help at all.

Bodacious Boomer said...

You sobbed there? I find that hard to imagine. You're so you usually.

As far as the dog poop goes- fabulous!

Pearl said...

I did. It didn't start out that way, but it certainly ended that way. Fired, just before Christmas, dead of winter. Who hires in December and January? Turns out, no one. I think I didn't find another job until well into March. ACk! What a crappy season that was!!

Anonymous said...

I've only been fired once, and they beat me by two days as I was already working on another job. Two times if you count the time I showed up for my shift at a restaurant and there was a sign in the door saying they'd closed for good. No warning, even for those who had been there for three years.

Douglas said...

Karen is my kind of co-worker (or former co-worker, as the case might be).

I gotta wonder, though, the music I used to get on hold would be the 101 Strings' interpretation of Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" (in hindsight, I suppose that would be better than Mitch Miller's rendition).

Glen said...

If she was a REAL friend she'd have used her own poo.

just saying...

Joanne said...

What we did when we were young! And invincible! Great learning moments for what we've becme.

Sioux said...

Revenge is a dish best served cold...or smelly.

Robbie Grey said...

Karen. I've dealt with my share of Nancys, and they are predictable creatures by comparison.

JohnD said...

Karen is a true friend! I only got fired once - I borrowed the boss's car from the company garage when he was away, just to impress my friends, and got caught out when I had a 'bumper scraper' with another car, the driver of which turns out knew my boss!

Oh well - Karma!

jenny_o said...

The complete injustice of the firing! And the sweet justice of the payback! What a great post.

Everyone needs someone like Karen. But then you've had her back too, if I recall from another post.

Pearl said...

Joshua, yikes!! What a surprise that must've been!

Douglas, that reminds me. The first job I had had the most horrible "Lite FM" station pumped over the intercom station. Oh, how I dreaded Englebert Humperdink and Perry Como...

Glen, I'm gonna tell Karen. :-) She's going to LOVE that!

Joanne, oh, how true. I have so many stories of risks and recklessness, both physical and emotional. What better time than when you're young?

Sioux, you and I -- and Karen! -- are using the same handbook, I see.

Robbie, good point. :-)

John, I believe in your case, it was "carma". Ba-dum-bum (and "sorry"!)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pearl .. what a fun story to read .. and yup been fired or walked out - just some things don't work out do they .. but never quite had those levels .. Cheers Hilary

Pearl said...

jenny-O, I think we've got each other, which only becomes sweeter with time. :-)

Pearl said...

Hilary, not many people do have those levels, it's true!

fishducky said...

It's probably a good thing this happened before the days of DNA testing. They could have found out whose dog it was! (That's why it's always a good idea to use dog poo off the street, like I do.)

IndigoWrath said...

Bless your friend! Years ago, we had someone who liked to leave really big turds in unexpected places; in drawers, in waste-paper baskets, on bookshelves. And on one occasion, in a pair of office slippers. Turned out it was a disgruntled cleaner, and that the turds were his own; the Phantom Log-Dropper was unmasked! =)

Pat Tillett said...

Pay back is a bitch!
The mystery may remain unsolved, but it's not just a mystery now, it's legend....

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

There's a certain vindication to be found when someone truly deserving of a poop bouquet ... GETS it. Great story.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Good grief, woman. You have the best stories. :)

Andrea SunnyDays said...

Nasty, yet effective!

Kristy said...

That is awesome office drama! Wow!

Roshni said...

woohoo!! Story of the year!!

Gigi said...

Can I borrow Karen for a little while? Pretty please? We've got a few that could do with a dose of Karen-karma around here.

Jenny Woolf said...

Haha! great story!
I can't believe how anyone could make a comment like that when firing someone.
Thanks for your comment on my blog!

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

And, Pearl, now we know what the real scoop was...":) Beautifully written! ~R

Jo-Anne's Rambling said...

Bloody hell this was funny

R. Jacob said...


being of Polish and Russian descent that is something I have heard many times over the years.
The pickle, no.
And yes, I have had my moments of tears.

a glass of vodka raised to you!

Pearl said...

Ah, fishducky! You're always thinkin'!!!

IndigoWrath, people who don't work in offices just don't understand.

Pat, I like the idea that this has now passed into legend...

Susan, ohhhh. I wish I'D said "poop bouquet". :-)

Dawn, thanks! It's been a fun adulthood. :-)

Andrea, oh, what I'd give to have seen Nancy answer the phone!!

Kristy, us office peeps take disrespect very seriously.

Roshni, I wonder if Nancy thought so?

Gigi, Karen can probably be had for a massage gift certificate and a drag off someone's smoke :-)

Jenny, you're welcome! And yes, she honestly said that. The part that I didn't mention, now that I think of it, was that she was the VP of HR! ha ha!

Aww, dammit, Raymond. You're right. That WAS the real scoop. (Given the comments here, I can now think of several different ways to have ended this post...)

Jo-Anne, I aims ta please, missy.

R. I learned to drink from a wild group of Russians. The pickle considerably cuts the shudder factor to draining a shot of vodka. I would show you, but having, um, learned to drink from a wild group of Russians, I can no longer stomach the thought of doing straight shots of vodka. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I've been away too long. I come back to a poop piece. YAY! I can always count on Pearl for a dandy story.

Sush said...

My youngest sister the one who we never refer to as Baby Aimee because she hates it so much? She, Baby Aimee that is, has a saying...'Shit rolls downhill'. Gotta love those little sisters.....

The Elephant's Child said...

That's what friends are for.

River said...

is Karen related to Mary by any chance?

Linda O'Connell said...

Good stuff! What a payback.

My husband swears he did not fill "her" car locks with super glue. I wish I could believe him.

the walking man said...

Ha ha ha ha Should have saved that one for April 1---great prank especially if it was the ear piece.

Pearl said...

Alwaysinthebackrow, there's always time for a poop story. :-)

Sush, Baby Aimee says that? :-) Appropos!

Elephant's Child, friends and sisters. :-)

River, no, but she is to me. :-) Karen's my sister. (I've only just noticed that I don't mention that in the piece!)

Linda, the less we know, the less we can repeat!

walking man, oh, true. Mmmm. Now I'll have to think about what I can post for April Fool's Day...

Suldog said...

Now THAT is a good friend. Blessed doesn't even begin to describe what you have in her.

Anonymous said...

aight, I feel a shit brewing and my boss is not here yet. ;)

Susan in the Boonies said...

I just love you! I love this post. I love Karen, too.
What a girl! That's a whole lotta love.

Hey: I linked to your blog today in another site: The SITS Girls wanted us to link up our favorite blogs, and although the temptation to self-promote struck initially, the little Good Wilma Flintstone on my shoulder prevailed over the Bad Wilma Flintstone on my OTHER shoulder, and I thought, "Who do I look forward to reading???" And YOU sprang to my mind.

xxx ooo

Anna Lefler said...

Oh, this is fantastic.

And you know what? I'm anti-Nancy, too. Big-time.




vanilla said...

Sisters; a bond forged early and unbroken for a lifetime is one of the best of human relationships.

Great story, as always.

Jocelyn said...

The only way Nancy could have known it was or wasn't dog poop there on her phone would be to have licked it. She needed to have licked it to be sure. She might still need to lick it.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Thanks for adding the Hold music ... it keeps me calm while I wait for the next paragraph.

" ... and when she posts it, each one who reads it laughs 'Pearllll' ...."

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

LMAO...love it.