Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I've settled down a bit after my emotional breakdown in Monday's post, and received a few e-mails from readers with good wishes for me and my mental health, and from readers who let me know that my fictional life was more entertaining when I didn't sound like I was inches away from the ledge of the building, staring out at my ocean view and threatening to jump into the sand from twenty stories up. So, I took a personal day yesterday and stayed home, but dragged my fictional self back to work today to meet with my favorite client, a leading pencil manufacturer who, irony of all ironies, is being sued by his employees for using lead paint in the office and allegedly causing all sorts of health damage. Which is leading him to bankruptcy. And we're trying to figure out how to set up a fund to pay all the claims. This guy is sort of quirky. He insists I take notes using one of his pencils, and never with pen. He doesn't have a computer. He writes notes. In pencil. And sends couriers over with them. His business records are all. In. Pencil. Which means that sometimes things are erased. Sometimes purposely, like his memo to us when he first learned about the lead paint. Which has magically found itself erased by someone here. Certainly not me. It's a strange way to do business. He also wears these annoying pencil-shaped ties. He gave me one as a gift once. I tried not to accept it, but he insisted, and now I feel like I have to wear it, at least occasionally, when we meet. So here we were, in matching pencil ties, in my office, writing in pencil, with the lights off. I forgot to mention. He hates light. I don't know what that has to do with pencils. In the middle of the meeting, we had to take a break, because he had to go to the bathroom. "#2," he joked. "Get it? Like the pencil? And also what I'm going to be doing in the bathroom?" Yes, I got it. And this guy runs a successful business? Well, not that successful. You know, with the bankruptcy and everything. But you know what I mean.

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