I need to confess something. But, first, I have to back up.
It was the summer of 1985. I was 21 years old. I had a summer job at the Acadia University campus as a library worker, doing the grunt work that the actual staff at the library didn't want to do. I had some friends working at the computing centre, and I was jealous, because I wanted one of those jobs. But because I was already working, the person in charge of doling out those jobs didn't want to hire me. I see where she was coming from.
In 1989, she left that job, I applied for it, and came in second in the competition!
But I digress.
I knew that there was another person who was unemployed. I called a friend who worked at the employment centre. I forget just why, but she went out on a limb for me, did something for me, and I think I ticked her off a titch. I made it up to her in 1986 when I managed to help her and her boyfriend (now husband) get a job at the place I was working at then.
But I digress.
Maybe it was that I had to get his phone number. Whatever. I contacted this guy, told him about the job, and he jumped at it. He got the job. He was grateful to me, for maybe 5 minutes.
For the balance of the summer, whenever we met for lunch in the student union building, maybe 8 or so of us, he would monopolize the conversations, expressing opinions about things that one normally doesn't express opinions about, arguing belligerently with anyone who disagreed with him over even the mildest aspect of whatever the topic was. More than once, when I meekly said something that challenged his fervently-held belief, he would look at me, roll his eyes, and say, "Oh, spare me!"
Day after day, week after week, for a few months there, and again in 1986, he would ride roughshod over all of us during a time when maybe we wanted to take a break from our labours, eat something, and relax for a few minutes before returning to said labours.
There is a writer named Harlan Ellison. Some of you will have heard of him. He is an opinionated person to the Nth degree. This guy I'm referring to would give Mr. Ellison a run for his money. Ellison might even throw up his hands and walk away, muttering to himself that this fellow was an a-hole.
I don't know what it was like to work with this man, but co-existing with him for even that one hour every work day was a pleasure to nobody. Some people found other things to do, just to get away from this pontificating little ponce.
We eventually graduated, and I lost touch with him, grateful to any deity that would listen to me that I no longer had to see him.
Fast forward to more recent years.
I find this guy on Facebook. He lives far away, and I can ignore him, so I friend him. I figure at the very least I know what part of the world he lives in, and as long as my part and his part do not intersect like some horrific Venn diagram, Facebook can act as a distant early warning system should be move over to my time zone again.
Fast forward to last week.
I wrote about my travails regarding that meme that featured Kanye West and Gord Downie. Hundreds of people shared that meme with little or no kickback. I share it, and he and a few others accuse me of being down on people with a mental illness. I will go to my grave wondering how a person could interpret the meme in that way.
This guy, Rob Wolfe, was the most vociferous one. His attacks on me were hateful, personal, and even venomous. On his own Facebook timeline, without mentioning me, because that would have been like tagging me, he continued his spiteful cant.
Since last week, I have been hiding his posts. I should unfriend him. I haven't because I want to know that he is not where I am, because if he were I would likely go off the deep end.
I keep flipping back to 1985, when I went out of my damned way to help him get a summer job, and how the hand of friendship and collegiality was slapped away, how his daily rants drove people away from our lunches together, and how he is such an a-hole by default.
I hereby apologize to those who endured those couple of summers. If I had done nothing, not told him about the gig at the computer centre, Rob would never have been able to infest our quiet time together with his mouth and vituperation. Maybe he would have gone on a path of finding a job somewhere else, outside of the province, finishing his degree or not finishing it as the case may be. All the people he has likely pissed off along the way because of his distemper and argumentative nature might never have met him.
I am sorry, everyone, for the damage I inadvertently wrought.
What do they say? No good deed goes unpunished? It is a saying that one has to live a certain number of years before one has an appreciation for it. I now do. I now understand fully that any good thing you do has to be measured against the bad it might cause down the line, for yourself or for someone else.
Have a nice day, Rob Wolfe. Have a real nice day. And leave me alone.
I will try to be in a better mood tomorrow for the launch of the 2017 Bevboy Christmas Tie Extravaganza. I need some cheering up.
See you then.