Monday, February 6, 2023


A friend of mine has been a successful freelancer for almost as long as she was an owned-lancer. As far as I can discern, she hasn't had a week off involuntarily for more than a decade. 

However, as the vale of Covid seems to be dissipating, she's been asked to come into the office next week for a client meeting.

She hasn't entered an office since Amerika shut down in March, 2020. She's never met anyone she now works with. In fact, no one's ever even seen her except for her thumbnail-sized image on Zoom.

She's nervous about it all. Showing her age, even just, after 36 months, showing up on the carpet tiles of holding company hegemony. Like a lot of nervous people do, she gave me a call.

"George," she said, explaining the situation, "how do I 'hide my age?' I'm afraid they won't ask me back when they see how old I am."

"First off 'X,' (my Kafka-esque code name for her) "you're not old, you look great. Remember, women dye; but men die."

Such platitudizing did nothing to comfort X.

"You're not listening to me," X continued.

"I never do," I admitted.

"Nonetheless, I'm talking to you and have since the 1960s. I'm afraid they'll see me as an old-lady."

"You have to 'change the conversation,'" I answered. "Here's an idea."

"I'm all ears," X said. I assume turning up the volume on her prosthetics.

"Go to a surgical supply store and rent a wheelchair. When you show up at the office wheel yourself into the meeting room.

"Just when people are gaining their composure, start jiggling your legs, like there's some good music is on your RCA transistor."

"Something by Frankie Valli, I presume."

"I was thinking Kay Kayser and his College of Musical Knowledge, but Valli will do."

"Thank goodness," she sarcasticked. 

"After a minute, spring up from the wheelchair and scream at the top of your voice 'I CAN WALK! For the first time in 20 years, I CAN WALK!' I guarantee, after that, no one will remember how old you look."

"Thanks," X said, hanging up the phone. "For nothing."

I assumed she walked off into the sunrise.

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