Soundtrack: Magnapop—“Hotboxing”

Well, another September 11th has come and gone… I don’t know about you, but for me, this means that it’s been two whole years since the bittersweet firing of the most formidable malingerer I ever worked with. It remains, to my knowledge, the only incident of its kind in the annals of the bookstore I am proud to work at… The offender in question—let’s call him David Chin, just for fun—was not really a bad guy, just a spoiled kid who thought the world owed him a living. Now, since I am generally known–at least in family circles–as that “spoiled kid who thinks the world owes him a living”, I was perhaps more sympathetic to the younger Dave’s antics than most, but even I, alas, reached the point of exasperation with him… It was one thing when David Chin took it upon himself to make the rounds of the store at 10:30 every night, telling people to buy their books and get out (we close at 11:00), and it was just another of those things when David Chin sat at the cash all night when there was a lot of other store-related business to take care of, because, as he put it, “they’re payin’ me minimum wage, and they’re getting their money’s worth”, but it was ANOTHER THING entirely when David Chin started calling in sick twice a week when he was slated to close the store with only one other person. This is what is known as pissing off your co-workers, and, as anyone should know, if you want to carry on some kind of private war against your employer, you had better make sure that the people on YOUR side of the capital-labour divide really ARE on your side. When they start to want to catch you breaking some petty company rule so they can rat you out and get your ass off the schedule, then you are not long for the minimum-wage world, and are well on your way to the zero-wage world. Unlike its’ Christian counterpart, which has ten commandments, the shift-worker’s moral code contains only one monumental clause, which David Chin blithely ignored…

Of course, in this case, the sinner was so out in the open about his activities that the need for backstabbing never arose… Early on, it became obvious that the man was incorrigible, and would have to go. But when would the day come? And what on Earth would he have to do, to earn the discharge he so richly deserved? After a few highly visible screaming matches with various superiors, I began to think that David Chin would have to kill a man in order to obtain passage to the Beyond… And I did not for a second doubt that he would stoop to whatever low was necessary to bring destruction upon himself. You see, David Chin did not need the (admittedly small) paychecks he was in no way earning each week, and so could agitate to his heart’s content. He could simply have quit, but this was not his way. Matters came to a head in the late summer of 2001, when, after calling in sick about six times in two weeks (in between which absences he would actually show up at the store, looking hale and hearty indeed), David Chin telephoned, on September 11th, several hours after he had been due to begin work, and, almost as an afterthought, mentioned that he, of course, could not come in, what with all that terrorism going on and all. The manager decided to put his foot down and demand that Chin make an appearance, at which point the brazen wretch had the effrontery to suggest that, by remaining open, the bookstore was guilty of some huge moral transgression. And then—with none of the fanfare that we had all been expecting—peace came to David Chin…

I was not there that fateful day, and perhaps that is why, for me, the legend has only grown over time….

David Chin, wherever you are, I hope you’re getting paid exactly what you’re worth…

Good night friends!



One comment

  1. Teehee! Lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed your tribute to the memory of David Chin on Sept.11. Just what I needed this evening. Must’ve felt good for you too. See ya with the books!

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