Someone suggested that I write about work. Tell all the funny stuff that happens. Ok.
Thing is, the thing that keeps popping into my head to write about is not a funny thing. It’s actually pretty damned tragic.
Last week, I guess it would have been March 29, we all showed up for work at 8:30, as usual. We all set about our normal morning stuff, cleaning or straightening or whatever. The phone rang, like phones have a tendency to do. A few minutes later, we were all called up to the front.
Seems that someone hadn’t gotten my memo about Monday having been Happy Little Elf Day, and had committed suicide. Is that the right phrase? Killed himself, bought himself a one-way ticket south…whatever.
Of course we were all pretty shocked. TJ had only worked with us for a few months, but it had seemed like he was starting to warm up finally. He’d made it a point to stop and talk to me during my Sunday morning over-priced coffee stop the day before, and we’d chatted for about 15 minutes before we had to head to work. Seems like we’d talked again that night, as we were getting ready to go. Several co-workers said something similar – that TJ had seemed to be opening up a bit, talking and joking more. But then I had a thought…
When he talked to us, did he talk about himself at all? When he talked to me, he asked questions, commented on my replies, but I don’t recall him volunteering any information about himself. I say he seemed fine, seemed happy enough, but he hadn’t actually said anything to me one way or the other. Some co-workers knew his basics, but no one had any real insight into his mental state or mood.
TJ, We hardly knew ye. I don’t know about anyone else, but that not knowing makes it worse for me. If I’d tried harder to get to know him, if I’d veered from my self-serving chit-chat long enough to say, “But what about you? How do you like things? How’s your life going?”…maybe things would have gone differently.
Or not. The problem is, as it is with so many things, only the Universe knows the answer, and it ain’t sharing. So all we are left with is a hole in the shape of TJ, and probably some guilt and self-doubt.