Robbed. Fired. Dumped.

binsOctober 30, 1993

The junkies next door were finally evicted. On their way out they broke into my apartment and robbed me. They took my stereo, all my CDs and the laptop. They left the speakers. They took Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding bands. Those rings weren’t valuable but they were important. They bought them in Italy long ago. I’ll go to my grave and never mention it to anyone. I was entrusted with an important family heirloom and failed. Thank God they’re both dead. They’ll never know.

The laptop contained my journal entries from June through October. I didn’t back anything up onto floppy disks or print anything out. It’s all gone. The entire summer and autumn of ’93. I’ll never remember it all.

The coppers dusted for fingerprints. One of them was complaining the whole time saying, “This is stupid. It never works.” The other cop said I had the worst lock on the market. He said it’s easy to pick. I had to shell out $140 for a new one. I told him about the wedding bands. He said the same thing happened to him years ago and he’s still not over it. Great. It’ll take me forever to replace all the CDs.

I replaced the laptop with a Mac PowerBook 145. 4MB of RAM and a 40MB hard drive. Ridiculous! When will I ever need 40MB of space?!

I got fired from Morgan Stanley. One of the executives, someone powerful and irritable, complained about me and they let me go. He said I had a bad attitude. I don’t know. Maybe he’s right. It was a fantastic job. I loved it. The week before I was canned Cabrina said, “Mark, how did we ever get along without you? You can stay here as long as you want.” Several days later I was standing in her office getting sacked. I can’t write another word about it. It’s so painful.

While at Morgan Stanley I struck up a healthy flirtation with Debbie, who’s Norwegian. A hell of a designer and so pretty. A blonde nordic goddess. I got a condolence call from her immediately after I was fired. That day, we walked from 42nd St. down to 18th St. I didn’t get home until after 2:00 a.m. She took me out for drinks a couple of times. I was a complete wreck but she built me up. She’d ply me with Dewar’s and tell me I was good at what I did and would find work easily enough. She’d lean in and rest her hand on my arm so, naturally, it didn’t take long for me to become attached. It never does. I was certain what I felt was reciprocated.

She called and made plans to see me again but before that happened I went to a Bryan Ferry concert at the Beacon Theater. I went by myself because I couldn’t find anyone to go with. While sitting there, Debbie walked by with some dude. She was hanging all over him. It was obvious they were a couple. I scrunched down in my seat, praying not to be noticed. I was too humiliated for being there alone to say hello. It turns out I was just a charity case to her.

I started therapy. It’s going well enough, I suppose. It’s dark. For years I thought complaining about a difficult childhood was just a sad cliché. Fashionable yuppie angst. Move on. But I’m beginning to believe that things have a way of implanting themselves early on that aren’t so easy to dismiss. She called Laura a myth. I disagree. Laura meant a lot to me.

I stopped at Barnes & Nobel after therapy last Wednesday and bought two software manuals and a copy of Dante’s Inferno. I wonder if I’ll be able to tell the difference between the three?


The many moods of Oliver.







Daughter the Second and I visited the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park, just down the boardwalk from Madame Marie’s. Hundreds of working pinball and video games, a few dating back to the 1930’s. It’s paradise. I saw these two old grannies jamming on these machines. They were really kicking the hell out of them, taking their play seriously. God willing, that’ll be me when I’m that age.

56 thoughts on “Robbed. Fired. Dumped.

  1. Sooooooo, I’m sitting at the breakfast room table waiting for Brunch to be served (the MITM drew the short straw today) and casually checking out my blogroll when I see your blog at the top with “robbed-fired-dumped” and immediately think the absolute worst has happened to my pal! Of course, it did happen, just not recently! (btw, YOU are one resilient mutherfucker, sweetpea!) All of this to say, you write, I’ll read AND I will vicariously enjoy your cats (without sneezing)! xox

    • Brunch?! What’s on the menu? I like brunch. If all this stuff happened to me last week blogging about it would be low on my list of priorities. Plus, this is a public forum and I don’t think that’s something that should be shared. Man, that was a tough month, though. All this bad shit was happening to me and I didn’t feel like any of it was my fault. Well…in retrospect, I might’ve been a bit mouthy at Morgan Stanley. Still, a stern warning would’ve worked. They didn’t need to chuck me out.

      • On today’s menu: Homemade chicken salad served on a bed of baby spinach topped by a coddled egg, Sourdough toast and fresh brewed coffee. No Mimosas were consumed because there was no champagne around. xox

  2. Oh, my!!!!! I am feeling so bad for you! This all sucks!!!! But, you were probably really good at what you did for Morgan Stanely….. Their LOSS!!!!! I’m sure you’ll find a new job and there is romance awaiting you. Hang in there! “This too shall pass”! Till then…you have all of us!

    • Hi, Patty. Just so we’re clear… This is an excerpt from my journals from back in 1993. Please note the date at the top. If this happened to me today I would NEVER put it in the store window for everyone to see. But even in retrospect it sucks. I didn’t deserve it.

  3. Yikes…I missed the date!!!! So glad it didn’t just happen!!!! Also…wanted to say how sorry I am about your grand-parent’s rings. That’s really awful!!!!! I neglected to mention them in my reply. Also…love your pics of Oliver! Enjoy your day! 🙂

    • The rings were nothing. No real monetary value. My grandparents were poor. But, as you can imagine, they were important to us. It’s a good lesson in Zen detachment. Don’t become too enamoured with material things because they can be taken away from you in an instant.

      Oliver has a personality. It comes out in photos.

  4. Had you been in England then I could have been your lawyer taking the case against Morgan Stanley. Pro bono even…It would have been a pleasure…
    Your melancholy post reminded me just how much I miss working…the friends, the clients, the sheer fun of it, so now I’m plunged into melancholy too.

    • I was so alone then that I wasn’t thinking clearly. It never occurred to me that I could actually DO something about being sacked. I might’ve deserved it. I don’t remember. But it was a harsh judgment. A good scare would’ve worked.

      I’m sorry for your melancholy. I didn’t mean to trigger any harsh feelings. But I can’t *wait* to stop working. Why? The people, the clients the sheer boredom. The grass is always greener, innit?

      • Saw it all too often in the non industrial sector. Some puffed up idiot at the top of the heap takes a dislike to someone and they have to go…nothing to do with their performance…so the whole HR department jumps to obey.
        A pleasure to ruin their megalomaniac idyll.
        I think if I had come to a normal retirement it would have been easier…but I had to stop in order to look after my husband before the time that colleagues were asking what hobbies i was going to take up in retirement.
        Don’t resent that, or him…but I do miss whopping the opposition.

  5. Yikes, that sounds like a dark time in your life. It makes me wish I kept a journal (I don’t and never have since my childhood). It would be nice to revisit the different times and emotions in my life. Or would it? I’m not sure. Maybe it would discombobulate me.

    Love the cat pics. I might have to channel him today. 😄

    • Typing this out made me so, so sad. There’s some things I couldn’t include because it’s just too personal for a public forum. So, yes, October ’93 was not a fun place to be. Keeping a journal is a happy/sad affair. You relive a lot of stuff that you worked very hard to put behind you.

      • Yeah, reliving it may not always be good. Then again, maybe it helps remind us how strong we can be and how we’ve gotten through tough times before.

      • That’s an incredibly astute observation. I was really in the soup then and thought my world was coming to an end. But here I am, decades later, standing firm. Point taken.

  6. Awful things do tend to cluster, but I think that month was over the top. Glad it was a long time ago, but the stolen rings really is heartbreaking. I had a beautiful bowl that had been in my family for generations that I destroyed (in a small kitchen I placed it on an electric burner and then decided to make tea …). It still hurts.

    • I’m sore about the rings and, believe it or not, the missing computer with all those journal entries. I have a giant gap from June 1 until October 30. It was a fairly significant year. I wonder what happened this summer? If it’s anything like this opening entry in the next series I’m glad I don’t know.

  7. A laptop in ’93? Good God! I thought everything was still clunky Commodores in those days! It hurts to lose such personal things, but we do get past it. Eventually…

    Oliver is, indeed, a sweetheart.

    • That PowerBook was cutting edge at the time although I think it weighed about 10 pounds. And a 40MB hard drive! I have some files at work that are 40MB. Do you want to hear something really sad? I hadn’t thought about those rings for a very long time. Perhaps years. Then I dredge it up in my journals. It’s a good rational for burning them.

      Both cats have great dispositions. We lucked out.

  8. I smiled at the 40MB comment, but that’s exactly how I felt back then also. It amazed me at the time why some people needed these “power” computers (a family member of mine comes to mind who’s still like that). That indeed was one bad period you had, though. I lived in a really dicey area in DC for about three years, and looking back on it I’m shocked I never got robbed.

    I think most of us had a Debbie at one time or another. Kind but sadly not available.

    • Today, a terabyte looks a little overindulgent. I’m sure that won’t be the case in the future.

      I think if my family back in Ohio had known half of what was going on in that neighborhood they would’ve knocked me out, stuff me in the trunk and drove me back home. But I never gave thought to leaving. I felt Economically trapped. I couldn’t afford to leave. Turned out to be a good thing, though.

      I have a whole bunch of Debbie’s in my past. It’s why I don’t have a Facebook page.

  9. You were a regular freaking country song… The cat definitely yinned that yang, though.
    I chuckled at the 40MB too. I remember scolding someone because their email signature was like 750K. Ah, the nineties. Sometimes I still hear modem sounds in my sleep. Or maybe that’s my tinnitus.

  10. I was crying at the finish line at Ironman Kona in October ’93 – trailed NBC sports and scored and, in Rolling Stone, starred as the yellow pixel on the bulkhead at the swim start. Ring story happened to my neighbor in my old neighborhood and makes my heart jump at the thought – my mom would be sick in Heaven, if this happened to me. Loved the pinball part!

    • Hi! I think you’re new here. Many thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Much appreciated. ’93 was a long time ago, right? I couldn’t have discussed this stuff in a public forum back then. It’s not much fun now, in fact. My family still doesn’t know about the rings and because they have no interest in this blog, they probably won’t find out. It’s okay. I’m over all this stuff. At long last.

      • Some things take a while to reconcile, or to better detach from the pain. ’93 feels not so far away – I was a master’s swimmer. Getting back to that these days. That feels awesome. The blog is fun to read and see. Thanks!

    • Is it? I just looked it up and the first PowerBook came out in 1991. So I jumped on a few years later. I remember it being very, very heavy. Microtechnology wasn’t all that yet. The trackball used to get all filthy and gross.

  11. Evil junkies. How hateful. You didn’t fail at all – you were ROBBED.

    “When will I ever need 40MB of space?!” Well?

    Bloody hell, what a horrible entry! I need therapy just reading that!

    Oliver has style. Keep him.

    • I thought that living around junkies had a dark, poetic panache to it. Like an Edgar Allen Poe or Jack Kerouac novel. One burglary put that notion to rest. I’m just glad I wasn’t home when it happened. They’d have sliced my throat from ear to ear.

  12. Getting fired is the worst. I only got fired once but it’s one of the worst feelings in the world, right up there with being dumped and robbed. I only got robbed once when I left my purse in a cart at Walmart. I realized it right away and came back immediately. My purse was still in my cart, but what little cash I had was gone (they left everything else in my pocketbook intact) and all my gum was removed from the plastic package one by one and then they left the empty container. That kind of made me laugh actually so getting robbed wasn’t really that bad. Your kitty is sending you a message: l , l – / I think it’s a secret feline emoji that means you’re fired.

    • I’ve been fired a couple times. I got laid off once too, but that was with a FAT severance check. It still felt like I was being fired. I got fired from a movie theater when I was in high school. We ushers were in collusion with the candy counter girls. They’d give our friends free candy and we’d let their friends in for free. They brought in a lie detector one Saturday and fired the lot of us.

      Your experience at Walmart makes them sound like polite thieves. Wouldn’t you have just grabbed the bag and ran? Why hang around and risk being caught?

      • I got fired from my first job when I met with the manager to explain that I could not report to work every time someone else did not show up, which as I remember seemed like two times a week. Seemed like a shame. Everything worked out okay.

  13. I have been robbed several times. My progressive friends say it’s natures way of spreading the wealth. Junkies have a sickness and should get a pass on their actions.
    You have a lot of attractive women followers. Lucky guy!
    Those cat pics are terrific. Seriously, they are marketable, contact a greeting card company.

    • I can’t tell if this is one of your clever witticisms. Nobody in their right mind would condone crime as a means of perceived justice. You’re making that up.

      I *should* put those cats to work! Litter doesn’t grow on trees. Catnip does. But not litter.

      • There are lots of people and organizations who condone crime as a means of perceived justice. The former President had some of them in the White House several times.

  14. “I’ll go to my grave and never mention it to anyone.” <– ummm…. right. about that.

    October '93 – i was had a 7 year old, a 5 year old, a mini-van, house in the 'burbs, and was coaching kindergarten soccer. Marriage starting to feel like it wasn't working. Career starting to take off… You had a much rougher month, for sure. But look where we both landed after all that?

    That pinball museum in Asbury Park has my NAME on it! Studley and i are going to visit friends in Jersey – bringing our camper, and likely to make a few weeks of it. We'll be headed that way so i can get my silverball fix. Will let you know – can we park a teardrop camper in your driveway for a night? We bring our own bed. Might wanna use your shitter…

    • The theft of the rings was so upsetting to me at the time I thought I’d never speak of it again. Just look what time does to your most held beliefs.

      That pinball museum is a superb way to spend an hour or two. Plus, it’s located right on the boardwalk. Definitely hit me up before you get here and we’ll work out a plan. I’ll put out the fluffy guest towels.

  15. Funny how those dates on your posts make people think about what they were doing at the time. Oddly, robbed-fired-dumped sounded like a pretty full day to me, lol!! That time in 93 i had just spent a month being homeless and sleeping on couches and being fed through the kindness of young women who fancied my wayward ways, then moved to the hovel that would become the White Trash Pleasuredome and scraping by with a job at a bagel store, lifting food to eat so i could save what little cash i had to drink, luckily the bar down the street was barfly friendly with .25 beers Mondays and Thursdays and mixed drinks so strong you had to choke down the first one. Then the first connection came through and the North Oakland Player was born… ah memories…

    • It’s actually a misstatement to say I was ‘dumped.’ That girl was never with me. *I* was with *her* but she was never with me. That used to happen to me a lot. I’d be with women whom I’d ever even spoke to. Just admired across the room. It’s a wholly unsatisfying relationship.

      25¢ beers sounds like they’re trying to encourage alcoholism. They had 25¢ beer nights at the old Municipal stadium. That didn’t work out so well.

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