Today was an anniversary of sorts.
Exactly one year ago today my former employer of 16 years called me into a boardroom and informed me that my services would no longer be needed. It was this catalyst that sent me on a whole new path in my life. It prompted me to re-evaluate those things in my life I deem important. It prodded me to take up the pen again after far to many years away. The taxi ride gave birth to a short story - The Long Ride Home.
One year ago today, with a without-cause dismissal, my old life ended and a new one began - a much better life in every way. Throughout the day I had been musing about the strange turns and happenings that life tosses at us and how lucky I am for all the things I have.
When I got home tonight the little red light was flashing on the answering machine. I pressed the button and listened to a message from the head of the payroll department of my former employer. It was a request that I give her a call as soon as possible. One year to the day of my unwarranted firing my former employer wanted me to call them?!?
Well, the call was from Montreal so I girded myself for an automated phone message system - in French no less! After some deft bashing of buttons I got through to her.
"Good evening, Mr. Baynun (never fails, it's always mispronounced) I am afraid I have some bad news for you." she said.
"How on earth could you have bad news for me," I replied and I'm sure she could hear the grin on my face, "I no longer work for you."
"Well, do you remember the lump sum settlement you took in February of this year."
"Of course I do"
"Well, there was an extra pay added to that sum that was paid out to you."
"Gee," I said, the smile widening, "That sounds like your mistake."
"Yes, Mr Baynun, it was our mistake."
"I fail to see what this has to do with me."
"Well, you should never have been paid for that extra pay period. We need to reconcile."
"Once again - your mistake. I fail to see what this has to do with me."
"Well, you weren't owned those monies."
"We're going in circles here. I really think you need to put together a nice legal document and send it to me."
She agreed and we said goodbye. I find it amusing that nowhere in our conversation did she actually come out and say that she expected me to pay the money back. Good thing, too, because I'm pretty sure you can guess the odds of that happening.
The thing that got me was the gall. I had spent 16 years with this company. When I was dismissed I was their top producing sales rep for my division. The settlement, the pension and everything else are all history. It is a closed book as far as I'm concerned then out of the blue - one year to the day of my firing - some bean counter in Montreal realizes they made a mistake eight fucking months ago and feels that it's cricket to come a-calling?!? Suck it up and write it off because I'm telling you, if they want that money they can talk to my estate because as long as I draw breath that company will not see one red cent from my pocket!!!
It's all really very funny. I look forward to her legal document...