Current Occupation: Compliance Coordinator for an insurance company
Former Occupation: Accountant and Real Estate Manager
Contact Information: Yong Takahashi lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is working on a novel and a collection of short stories. She placed first in the 6th Annual Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference’s National Short Story contest and in the Writer’s Digest’s Write It Your Way contest. Her works appear in Emerge Literary Journal and Rusty Nail Magazine. An upcoming piece will be featured in Cactus Heart.
DUMB, DUMBER, AND CLUELESS
A decade ago, I worked for three partners in a small company. They worked hard but mostly, tripped over dumb luck. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t go to the restroom without each other. I suppose that was where the high-level decisions took place or one of them was assigned to pass out the toilet paper.
To protect the not-so-innocent, I have named them Dumb, Dumber, and Clueless.
I ended up at the firm because my roommate dated Dumb. He was much older than she was and he treated her like one of his children. He told her what to think, what to wear and how much to eat.
The first year I worked for him, Dumb invited me to his annual Christmas party. He needed help arranging his children’s Christmas presents. He directed everyone at the party to take all the toys out of the plastic packaging. He didn’t want his children to hurt themselves or waste time opening their gifts. He said they were rich children and they shouldn’t be bothered.
Each gift was arranged by child and then by size. The smaller presents were to be placed in front of the larger ones so all the gifts could be seen at a glance. He wanted them to feel like they were at FAO Schwartz.
A few months later, I was invited to an Easter brunch but I declined. I imagined myself in a bunny costume hiding eggs in his backyard.
My roommate and Dumb eventually broke up and he started dating a twenty-year old. After all, my roommate was turning twenty-five and she began to question his constant monitoring of her calorie intake.
Dumb reassured me when he was finished sowing his wild oats, he would marry me so I could raise his children and run his empire.
I told him there wasn’t enough penicillin in the world for that to happen.
Dumb’s mentor was Dumber. He had plucked Dumb out of one of the trailer parks in their hometown. He discovered Dumb selling porn out of the back of a video rental store. He told me it was his duty to save Dumb’s eternal soul.
At my job interview, Dumber greeted me by saying, “This is a fine Christian organization. We value God, family and business – in that order.”
Dumber was a devoted member of his church. He gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure the new wing of the church showcased a plaque with his name on it. Prayer meetings at work were mandatory. Every Wednesday, he ordered the “girls” to set up lunch as the men went down to the conference room to pray for all the sinners in the world.
When Mel Gibson released The Last Temptation of Christ, Dumber bought out half the movie theatre so the souls he was saving could experience God’s message. He cried so much he had to be carried to the car. Yet, he couldn’t do business with Jews or Muslims because “it just wouldn’t be right”.
I suggested he watch the movie again.
I admired Clueless for a while. He seemed like the rational one out of the group. Normally, he kept out Dumb and Dumber’s childish games.
One day, he called me into his office to discuss my future with the company.
“We’d love to have you as a partner someday.”
I beamed. I thought they were finally realizing my potential.
“Yes, if we ever need a minority partner, you’d be it. You can fill out the paperwork and we can get all those government contracts. All those blacks, Mexicans, and Orientals are getting all the good deals. Of course, we’d cut you in. You’d get something.”
What Clueless didn’t realize was that a “minority” partner must own at least 51% of the deal and control the company.
In the end, I couldn’t perform any more personal chores for Dumb, appreciate Dumber’s Christian ways, or be token employee for Clueless.
Lesson Learned: Money doesn’t buy class, brains, or a partnership at Club Stupidity.