Good Old Wayne
When I worked in Corporate America I used to love watching my fellow employees. They were characters, all of them, and I’d take notes on the ones that really stood out. One of them, Wayne, would stop by regularly at my cubicle and engage me in conversation. He was older and always doled out life advice.
“You need to find someone and settle down,” he’d say. “A man’s not a real man until he has a good woman by his side. It completes him.”
I’d listen, always politely, to his sage advice and one day came to him with the happy news. “Hey Wayne”, I said. “I’m getting married!”
“You’re getting married!” he chuckled. “Oh boy, now you’re in for it. All your stuff is gonna be hers too. You’ll never have a free moment for the rest of your life. IF your marriage lasts that long! You know the divorce rate these days. Then she gets half of everything and you pay alimony. And say good-bye to all your old male friends too! Ya think she’s gonna let you pal around like you used to?”
He went on and on as I just stood there in disbelief.
As time passed he started coming with more life advice. “Are you still renting?” he’d ask. “Boy you need to get yourself some property. It’s the only way to build real wealth in this world. Buy now and it can only go up in value. The poor mans way into the Middle Class, that’s what home ownership is!”
I listened politely to his sage advice and one day came to him with the happy news. “Hey Wayne”, I said. “I just closed on a house!”
“Good God!” he chuckled. “You have no idea what you’re in for. Every weekend for the rest of your life you’re gonna be a slave to that beast. Gardening, weekend projects, remodeling, man what a headache! And the hidden costs! They never tell ya about the hidden costs of home ownership. Ya think landscaping is free? And what about the Home Owners Association? The neighborhood Nazis that’s what they are. And as soon as the warranty is done on your appliances they’ll go tits up!”
He went on and on as I stood thinking to myself, “I should’ve known better.
As time passed old Wayne started with the third and final chapter of his life philosophy. “Son, children are God’s gift and blessing to mortal man. Don’t ya want to have an heir? Some kind of legacy that’s makes this whole thing worthwhile? Keep your family line going?”
I listened politely and one day came to him, I knew what was coming, with the happy news. “Hey Wayne”, I said. “My wife’s pregnant!”
He just grinned this sly sort of grin. Like, his job was now done. I was now a full-fledged member of the average guy, trapped and screwed, miserable life club. Wife, house payment, kids, the trifecta of curses on the average man.
He said, “That’s great kid.” Shook my hand asked a couple of questions and walked away. It left me feeling kind of cold and alone.
Wayne didn’t come by my cubicle much after that. Why should he? His job was done. And I guess in that warped and perverted mindset of his, he thinks it’ll be my turn someday to do the same to some young unsuspecting new guy on the job. Make him part of the club too.
I left the company soon after that. Took a downsizing package and became the stay at home dad I am today. I haven’t looked back since.