Saturday, June 05, 2004

Oh, the humanity

So much shit has gone down this weekend that I figure if I start typing now, I might be done by Monday. Let's just say that the past 32 hours or so will go down with the greatest disasters of all time, like the Hindenburg, the Titanic, and Sheryl Crow's remake of "D'yer M'ker" by Led Zeppelin.

It all started at about 5 of 5 yesterday afternoon. Lila told me that Jack, our lead counsel on the acquisition I have been working on, was on the phone. "He doesn't sound happy," she said.

So I get on the phone, and Jack says that one of our agents, Bart, is "unhappy with the commission schedule" on the deal.

"UNHAPPY?" I said. "He signed off on it! Three weeks ago! And he stands to make a couple grand on this deal, total. TOPS!"

"Yeah, I know. But he's apeshit now," Jack said.

"So what are you thinking here," I said.

"Legally, he's got no case. We could just proceed as if nothing happened."

"No," I said. "Think about it. We tell Bart to fuck off, he calls Ross on Monday, then Ross calls me and tells me to give Bart whatever he wants. And then he gives me a lecture about taking care of our agents. Meanwhile, we are drawing up all sorts of amendments, and delaying our closing date. It's an NFW!"


"I have the schedule in front of me," I said. "He is being paid very fairly; similar to other deals. So maybe our job is just to remind him of that."

"Maybe YOUR job is to remind him," Jack said. "You know him; I don't."

Lila came to my doorway. "Bye, Steve," she smiled. "Have a good weekend."

"I intend to."

"Hey there!" said a voice from down the hall. It sounded familiar. It was Carl the dorky VP. He was running to catch up with Lila. "Big plans for the weekend?"

He sounded just like a used car salesman. He was trying to hit on her! And, as he walked by my door, I noticed that he SMELLED like a car salesman, too. Drakkar Noir, and way too much of it, too. That fucking played-out cologne jumped the shark when 12-year-olds starting wearing it to the video arcades.

Lila walked out, with Carl close behind. I hope he doesn't follow her all the way to Starbuck's, I thought.

I looked at my watch. It was 5:05. Bart has diarrhea of the mouth; even if I resolved this with him, I knew I could be on the phone for an hour, easy. Why? Why today?

Just then, Tommy ran into my office. "I got that agent, Bart, on the phone. Holy SHIT, he's pissed. He sounds like he's gonna get a lawyer and sue us all, man! And that acquisition? The whole thing is down the toilet, man! He's gonna torpedo the whole fucking deal!"

Like I said. Chicken little, the boy who cried wolf, etc. I hardly even listen anymore.

"Is he still on the phone," I asked.


"Transfer him to me. Have a good weekend."

I picked up the phone. And he really was pissed.

"Bartman!" I said.

"Never mind that Bartman bullshit! What the fuck are you guys doing to me here? You guys are fucking me. Hard!"

I have three rules for dealing with pissed-off people on the phone:

1. Use their name at least three times. Helps for some reason.
2. Work a joke in somehow.
3. Admit they are absolutely, 100% right on SOMETHING. Anything at all.

"I would never fuck you, man...I don't like redheads."

"Listen, I am seriously pissed the hell off! They passed this off under false pretenses! My up-front bonus is way smaller than they promised! They are robbing me!!"

"Hey Bartman, Let me tell you something," I said. "We have known each other for a long time. I would NEVER let them fuck you. If there is something wrong with this deal, I won't let it proceed. But we're closing Tuesday, so let's try to resolve this today, all right?"


Long story short, he was looking at the wrong page, and interpreting it the wrong way. I explained the whole deal to him. He was starting to calm down, when he found something else that bothered him.

"Hey! What is this crap about first right of refusal!? These goddamn lawyers slip all kindsa crazy shit in here, figuring I won't read it...."


God DAMMIT!! He followed her all the way to fucking Starbuck's! WTF?!

"....and these bloodsucking bastards are trying to fuck me....." Bart was saying.


"I hear you man, I'm gonna help you out," I said to Bart.

Lila messaged me back: TRIED THAT. WON'T LEAVE. HELP!

"Hey Bartman, I'm gonna have our bloodsucking parasite, I mean lawyer, call you on Monday with the details, but I promise you, that clause is in all the deals. It's strictly boilerplate, and we never invoke it. At least not since I've been here. It's just ass-covering."

Long pause. Sigh. "All right, Steverino."

"Hey, and just remember what they say," I said. "99% of lawyers give a bad name to all the rest."


"If you don't hear from him by 3:00 on Monday, call me, ok?"

"OK, Steve. Thanks a million, man."

Now, how to get Lila away from that dork....

To be continued....