I’m not superstitious but I’m still not going to congratulate myself on getting through four decades without losing much more than the occasional grandparent. Tonight I had a call from a former colleague who I’ve hardly heard from in the last ten years, to tell me that the man who owned the company we both worked for died this week of a heart attack.
It’s exactly a decade since I left that place and I can’t recognise myself when I look back. I was well-paid in that job, for getting things done and not asking too many questions about ethics. The boss as I knew him was a man who took what he wanted and then damn well kept it. He hoisted himself up the social ladder and bought the tweed suit to match his acres of farmland, but he would just as happily sit in the yard drinking beer with his builder. His desk was a bigger mess than mine and I spent hours trying to train him to use an Out Tray. If someone crossed him he would blow a gasket, and I’m slightly surprised his heart didn’t pack up sooner. He was very generous to people he valued, and not afraid to try out maverick methods, which made for a small, successful company full of utter misfits.
When I took it into my head to move to Hungary, he kept me on with a crazy deal to continue working for him from abroad; and when I needed to come back he gave me my job back without a murmur. After I met Pete and finally handed in my notice, for real this time, he pretty much stopped talking to me; and once I had gone I never heard another word from him. He did add me on Facebook, though, and I am seeing on his profile so many warm tributes from his friends.
He was a mad crooked bastard, but he gave me a lot of chances and a lot of trust. I can’t claim that I’ll miss him, as I’ve barely thought of him in the last few years, but I will raise a glass to him tonight.