“I’ll wave a little, to show I kind of care, and am glad it’s not me!”
When the end came, if I didn’t know any better, I’d have swore they were giving me a promotion. “Your work ethic was stellar, you’ve done everything we asked of you”, they told me. But my worst fears were confirmed when I heard the dreaded, “It’s not your fault, really.”
At that point, your brain snaps out of the surreal dream. “It’s not my fault?” my internal dialogue asks. “Well, maybe you should find the person whose fault it is and fire them!”
But I don’t say that. I grab the exit papers and walk towards my office, bidding goodbye to a few comrades, all of whom think I’m making the story up as some sort of sick joke. The kind I imagine prisoners in the gulags used to tell each other for morale purposes. “You’re kidding, right? You’re not really walking out of here alive, are you?”
It’s not so much the feeling of failure that permeates my every thought from that point forward that is so damn depressing. It’s the attempt to erase your existence that hurts my knotted soul. By the time I get home, my name has been erased from the radio station’s web page. My e-mail account, complete with professional contacts is inaccessible. And though nothing official compels them, the survivors back at the radio station know the drill: never mention his name on air again.
I’ve been deleted, and as the reality of that sinks in, my mind goes to the famous scene from the movie Jerry McGuire, where Jerry gives an impassioned speech to his co-workers as he heads to the exit.
“There’s such a thing as manners!” he implores, feeling wronged by his superiors. Not that his co-workers care. They’re more interested in the spectacle of someone who’s “flipping out” than anything he has to say about money and the state of his business. When he leaves, fish and Dorothy Boyd in tow, the workers immediately snap back to what they were doing, already having erased him from their minds. That’s the cruel reality of being fired.
That scene is so real, that it has probably stopped thousands of guys from creating a scene when they walk out after being let go. The reality is, it doesn’t matter how impassioned you feel at the time, nobody gives a crap, and if they did, they wouldn’t show it, for fear of being next. And the sad truth is, there was no Dorothy Boyd coming with me. I was alone. The only one deleted this year.
“Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday, Howard!”