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Thursday, June 13, 2019

But Sometimes it IS Cold

It’s layoff season over here at Acme Shovels, Grommets, and Rope (A Worldwide Octopi Corporation, Pty, LTD, M-O-U-S-E) and the bell?

For whom does she toll?

The bell tolls for Jerry.

A 26-year veteran of these carpeted halls, Jerry got the ol’ corporate heave-ho yesterday. 

I like Jerry.  He once walked blocks out of his way on a bitterly windy January night to ensure I got to the bus stop free of the unwieldy encumbrances of the city, ie., panhandlers, skeeves, and earnestly entitled executives. 

He confesses that he has lost the ability to feel cold, something I have never heard of.

“What do you mean, you don’t feel the cold?”

He shrugs.  “I was working in the barn one night –“

“Wait,” I say.  “The barn?”

“I have a place in South Dakota.”


“And it was, I don’t know, January?  February?  Super cold.  I mean, I knew it was cold?  But I wasn’t.  I stood in the barn in just a tee shirt and long pants and threw hay for a good two hours before I felt even remotely cold…”  He trails off.  “That can’t be right, can it?”

“Well,” I say, “you were doing physical labor.”

“No,” he says.  “Come on.  Ten degrees.  And that barn’s not heated.” 

We cross Marquette at the lights and I notice that while it is probably 10 degrees right now, he’s not wearing a coat.

We’ve been walking for several blocks, and he isn’t shivering.  I reach out, pull a glove off, and lay my hand on his bare arm. 


There's a crowd as he leaves.  It is no longer winter, and yet there's a nip in the air at the elevator banks.  The same man who once called me "honey" in a meeting ("It's what I call my girlfriend.  I'm so sorry!  Please don't call HR!") waves good-bye.  

"I hope you feel cold some day!" I say.

And the others in the office turn to stare.


Jeff (Sage) said...

I bet they stared after that comment!

jenny_o said...

Context is so important!

I hope Jerry does okay.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Pearl--Thankfully it wasn't you that got the old heave-ho.

You DO manage to attract/fabricate the most fascinating characters.

Ernie said...

Poor Jerry! I live in Chicago- I wonder if he can bottle that 'I don't feel cold' thing. I would buy it. I FEEL cold to my core. Would love to ditch thst and relocating to Florida is not an option.

Bill Lisleman said...

Great story and you tell it so well. Now those heartless earnestly entitled executives would probably make him take the stairwell.

Gigi said...

Oh, not Jerry! He sounds like a very kind person.

Geo. said...

A very moving account. Thanks. I've worked jobs where cold and rain were part of the day, I know it takes a special person to make these discomforts incidental to the task at hand. My compliments.

Deborah said...

I don't know Jerry, but I like him.

I used to cross country ski and many times would peel off layer after layer until skiing in my bra. For context it was in Carlos Avery Game Preserve in Chicago County and no one was around except my wasband.

I'm enjoying reading! ::waving:: Hi Pearl!

jabblog said...

Poor Jerry. I hope he finds a nice, comfortable place to work where he is appreciated.

Pearl said...

Jerry was a lovely man.

Deborah, Carlos Avery? In Chisago County, is it? I once drove through that in a driving rain with a good deal of my dress caught outside the car door. What a mess! Thankfully, it had a lot of "print" to it, that dress, and once I squeezed it out no one was the wiser.

Or so I told myself. :-)

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Not feeling cold would be kinda cool, I think

Linda O'Connell said...

Poor Jerry has a permanent hot flash? He sounds like a warm-hearted guy, too.