Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Everyone Needs an Arch-emeny

Fortunately, I already have one. His name is Jim.

We've been arch-enemies for the past eighteen years. It hasn't gotten too out-of-hand yet, but I will say there has been one death threat made... *

But until you have an arch-enemy, you don't know how thrilling it is. Knowing that somewhere out there, someone hates you enough to plot against you... and make death threats... *

Oh, there's plenty of people I don't like, and who don't like me, but there's only ONE who I consider my enemy, and vice versa. And that's Jim.


It all started 18 years ago at a TV station where I used to work. I was in the Master Control department (the command center for the station) on the same schedule as Greg, who worked in the Video Tape department (he loaded the tape machine with commercials that I then put on the air at the appropriate time). We were both the same height and build and had similar personalities... to a point.

I was a relatively soft-spoken chap who kept to myself. Greg was a loud and outgoing theater major at college and was notoriously argumentative and became doubly so when drinking (which was often). A series of work problems occurred all at the same time in both Video Tape and Master Control in which Greg and I respectively were blamed (I was innocent, Greg was guilty for his errors, and in fact it was his sloppy work that resulted in the problems I was blamed for). We were both written up and were both very angry about it. Greg was the first to do something about it.

He went in on a Friday afternoon and turned in his two week notice. On the following Monday, using his boldness as an inspiration, I turned in MY resignation (It wasn't just this incident, it had been building for a while, as I had been unjustly passed over for several promotions because I was deemed 'too valuable' in my Master Control position). I had been wanting to quit anyway, and this was just the last straw. Jim was the new general manager at the station and was one of the two people in the meeting when I turned in my notice. I stated my reasons for leaving and spoke briefly with Jim and the others in that meeting and went on my way. It was as calm and civil a resignation as one could hope for. (I'm just that kinda guy.)

I went to work immediately at a TV station in another town and put Jim and Greg and everything else at that station behind me.

A few months pass and I discover an opening at that former TV station for the very job I had been passed over numerous times before. I apply for that job, go for an interview and all signs seem positive that I'll be getting the job.

But then....

...then Jim struck.

I received a call from Joe, the person who interviewed me, and he tells me that I won't be getting the job after all. I was crushed. Joe was kind enough to indulge me in why I wasn't going to get the job:

"Once Jim found out it was YOU we were going to hire, he said "OVER MY DEAD BODY!' "

At first, I was distressed by this, but then I was incredibly excited. Wow! I had someone that hated me so much that they said something like that. In a way, I was glad I didn't get that job. And obviously, since I'm still thrilled about it all these years later, it's a choice I'm glad Jim made.

It was only years later that I learned from a separate source the reason for Jim's hatred of me. Apparently he believes I got into a screaming match with him and cursed him out when I dropped off my resignation letter. That's when it all finally clicked. He got me confused with GREG. Greg had very proudly told everyone how he let Jim have it when he quit. So for all these years, I've been the beneficiary of someone else's rightful hatred. Jim's got the wrong arch-enemy.

But you won't hear a peep from me. No one needs to know. If Jim is ever taken away as my sworn enemy, who will I match wits with? Who will I measure myself against? Who will I thwart, and in turn, be thwarted by? Without him, how will I know who *I* am?

And dear reader, you might be asking why I am regaling you with this sordid tale tonight of all nights? The answer is simple. Tonight, I received a friend request on Facebook from an old friend of mine. I happily accepted this request, and then received a shock. First, my blood stopped cold in my veins, then began racing with amazement. This friend of mine had only two friends on his Facebook profile.

What does it all mean? I must know. I must discover what cruel fate binds Jim and I together. How does this mutual friend of ours figure in our ongoing drama? What does he know? What are his intentions? Why NOW?

I'm filled with anticipation and dread, knowing this little dance may soon be coming to its climax. Which of us will still be left dancing when the music finally stops?

Who indeed?

* Okay... so he made a death threat against himself about hiring me "over his dead body". It still counts. It still shows the depths to which he will stoop in his insane obsession in ruining my life. If his own life isn't safe, is anyone's?

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