Life is funny. Sometimes life is just unfair. Life sometimes teaches us valuable lessons, and sometimes it teaches us things that we cannot understand. Such was the life lesson for Josh.
A few years back, I worked at a call center that handled AT&T and Vonage customer service calls. One of the supervisors at the time was a guy named Josh. He seemed nice, but he was also very young and stupid. He made lots of dumb choices.
On one occasion, while supervising a group of his peers, a few of them got caught with drugs while on store hours. The guys were all fired, all except for Josh. He had the kind of personality that he could have used to get places, but he chose not to. He was allowed to keep his job, but he would be demoted so low that he sat next to me.
I could go on for hours and explain how call centers crush your confidence, and how the wrong people get promoted for the wrong reasons, but that is for another day. While sitting next to me, Josh became my friend. We handled mostly the same type of calls, and we laughed our asses off at the impossible customers who were directed to the little Newfoundland call center, all the time believing that they were speaking to customer service reps from New Jersey. We even had a list of Jersey street names, in case a customer asked us questions about where we lived.
Josh was not the smoothest when it came to women. Whenever a new female employee came into the center, he would ooh and aww at them, and virtually send them running. Sometimes he would talk about his experiences with women, mostly made up, and again, they would laugh and run. I had to have a long talk with the boy.
Being one of the older workers in the center, the younger guys often asked me for advice. Josh was no different. (I am not sure why they thought I knew everything, but I sometimes went along for a laugh) “Why don’t women like me?” he would ask. “What am I doing wrong” was another question he asked. My reply? “You tell em too much! Let them get to know you for you, not who you pretend to be” (Geez, I should be making my own fortune cookies or working for Hallmark!)
One day this woman walked in to the call center, and Josh fell right off his chair. “My God Ted, you gotta talk to her for me and get me a date” he asked. I know I must have been a good friend, because I did just that. I sat next to her and had a chat, all the time telling her that a guy working here is head over heals for her, and he wants a date. She takes out a piece of paper and hands it to me with her phone number on it. “Thats the first time that line was ever used on me, but I like it. Pick me up at eight” she says. “I am not the one who wants a date, its my buddy over there” I tells her.
She laughs, and says that now she cannot wait for our date. “But I already have a girlfriend, I am no cheater” I plead. “Stop it, you are making me want you right now” she says. I go back to sit down at my cubicle. Josh comes over, anxious to find out details. ‘Did you talk to her? Did you tell her about me? Did you tell her I wanted a date” he said. “Oh, she wants a date, but not with you, with me” I say. He was devastated. “What? you after my girl already? What kind of friend are you anyway?” he asked. “The type of friend who is not going with that woman” I tell him. “What kind of woman? What you saying about my woman? I am going over to talk to her right now!” he says. Finally I think. Maybe now he will ask her out himself.
Josh comes back in the next day with a big smile on his face. “She has a boyfriend, but he is out of town, so we did it anyway!” he said. “Did what” I ask, naively. “It, we made out!’ he said. “doesn’t she have a boyfriend?” I asked. “More than that, they are engaged, but she said that she found me pitiful so she had sex to help me out.” My advice? RUN JOSH RUN!
Josh always seemed to think with the wrong head. When he managed to get a date, his only goal was to bed them quick, before they left. This often got him in trouble. Once, he was at a party for staff members, and his good friend introduced him to her 16 yr old daughter. “This is my daughter Josh, stay away, she is only a kid, and you are thirty years old” she warned. The next day, in he came, bragging of the night they had together. “She may be sixteen, but she isn’t shy” he bragged. Obviously no fear of statutory rape or her mother finding out.
Josh always complained that he could not form a relationship with a woman. “That’s because your only goal is to sleep with them” was my advice. “Try getting to at least know their name before having sex with them” I joked.
I left the center for a better job (any job would have been better than the call center job) and never heard from Josh for a few years.
Last summer, while playing music for a wedding (I work as a mobile Disk Jockey in the summer months), I seen Josh. He was the best man for his sister’s wedding, and just like old times, he was hitting on every woman in the bar. He found one girl who seemed to like him. She didn’t run away like the rest, and when he came on to her in the intense manner that often got him his way or the door, she set him straight…as loudly as she could yell. He seemed to get the point, and for the rest of the night, they seemed to hit it off greatly.
I seen Josh and her around town, holding hands while walking together. Josh finally met someone who made him smarten up. They were so good together. He came and introduced her to me one day, and said that they had their entire future planned. He was so happy. I always knew that deep inside, when he wasn’t stoned or drunk, or showing off, he was a good person.
Last week the town held a fundraiser to raise money for a local girl to go to the capital city for chemotherapy. She had a cancerous tumor in her brain, and she wasn’t supposed to make it. All the town gathered and donated money. Last Friday was Josh’s birthday. He had a posting on his Facebook. “Today is my birthday. I am spending it in the Health Sciences Hospital while my true love undergoes Chemotherapy. We pray she goes into remission” He went on “She is my whole world. She taught me how to love, and how to act, and I will always love her”
My prayers are with the two of them.