Wait, Don't I Know You?

Wait, Don't I Know You?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Last year, after one of my staff left the state government agency where we worked, I received an email from Human Resources, telling me this person had been "separated from employment."

Separated from employment, as if the two had been physically attached. Not quit, left, fired, let go, departed, or moved on to greener pastures. No, this was one of those stupid euphemisms that people use to make things sound less bad than they really are. It was probably thought up by the same morons who came up with "right-sizing" to replace the already moronic "downsizing," which replaced "massive layoffs so our executive team could get their bonuses."

I left my own job a few weeks ago, and I'm sure my boss got an email telling him I was separated from employment. It sounds like a divorce, which in a way, I guess it was.

You spend a large part of your day at work, there's a sense of excitement and newness when you first start, and when you leave, it's usually either something bitter and acrimonious, or you leave because you found someone who treats you better.

I remember when Employment and I first got together. We used to spend hours together, talking, laughing, having fun. We would stay up all night, watching old movies, and falling asleep on the couch together.

Employment and I were inseparable. We spent every waking moment together. And she rewarded me in return, depositing a little gift in my bank account every other week. It was magical.

But we grew apart. The relationship lost its sparkle, and I started spending my free time with my good buddy, Freelance. Employment became more demanding, and less giving. She became resentful and suspicious, and then the questions began: Where was I going? Who was I seeing? Was there another job?

We finally separated last month, and I began seeing another Employment almost immediately. Sure it was fast. Maybe too fast. But I have needs. And bills. We're happy together, and I think this relationship will last a good, long time. We're still enjoying the newness of it all, and I think we'll be able to keep the magic alive.

I'll never forget my last Employment, and all the good times we shared. And sometimes, I'll smile faintly at the memories, and wonder "what if. . . ?" But then I'll remember how much more rewarding my new relationship is.

See, now that's how you get separated. First there's a clean break, and then you start somewhere else. It's not like my old job tricked me into thinking it was a new job.

Not like the Bosnian couple who are getting a divorce after they found they had each been having an online affair.

With each other.

Sana Klaric, and her husband, Adnan, had been unhappily married for several years. One day, while Adnan was at work and Sana was in an Internet café, the two anonymously met in an online chat room under the names "Sweetie" and "Prince of Joy."

The anonymous pair told each other about their marriage troubles, and talked to each other about their lives and how unhappy they were in their own marriages. A real love began to bloom, as each talked about their miserable marriages and shared their true feelings.

Sana, 27, told the Associated Press, "I thought I had found the love of my life. The way this Prince of Joy spoke to me, the things he wrote, the tenderness in every expression was something I had never had in my marriage."

Adnan, 32, was equally shocked. "I still find it hard to believe that Sweetie, who wrote such wonderful things, is actually the same woman I married and who has not said a nice word to me for years."

The star-crossed pair arranged to meet outside a shop, and each would carry a single rose so they would know the other. That's where it all went horribly, horribly wrong.

"When I saw my husband there with the rose and it dawned on me what had happened I was shattered," said Sana. "I felt so betrayed. I was so angry."

Adnan said, "I was so happy to have found a woman who finally understood me. Then it turned out that I hadn't found anyone new at all."

Now, if this had been the 1979 Rupert Holmes song, "Escape" ("if you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain"), the couple would have laughed and realized that they truly WERE in love.

But, instead Sana and Adnan are angry and hurt, and have filed for a divorce, accusing each other of being unfaithful. Had they been a little more understanding, and looked beyond the hurt, they would have realized the person they fell in love with online was the same person they've been living with. I think they should try to discover the new person inside the one they already know.

Or better yet, have the sense to ask their new love's name before they decide to run out on their spouse.