“What you doing, bro?” I blurted into the phone.
“Same old thing: Writing cheques to pay very angry creditors with money the company does not have. What did you think?” Jamal replied (real name withheld to protect the guilty).
“Again? I think you’re not allowed to do that, Jamal”
“I’ll be dammed if I don’t do anything about this mess. I’ll find the money to cover these cheques, tho. However, it won’t come from my useless shareholders, I can assure you that!”
Jamal is your regular go-to guy, a Mr Fixit extraordinaire whose resourcefulness and tenacity is second to none. I had no doubt in my mind he’d be able to find the money necessary to cover the cheques when the time came; but my heart bled a little for him.
Given his skills and gumption, Jamal should by right, be drawing a five-figure monthly income at some major corporation somewhere. Instead, because he hasn’t got a degree to show potential employers during an interview, he is now only a manager (in an obscure company) and his sole function seems to be to clean-up his shareholders’ mess – for a pittance, I might add. Got something you can’t or won’t handle? Lump it on Jamal. He’ll sort it out for us. Problem solved.
After exchanging some of our usual ribbing, I put down the phone, and felt immensely lucky. Why shouldn’t I feel lucky? Here I am, only half as smart as Jamal, and all I have to do is work half as hard as he does to earn twice as much. How much luckier can one get?
On my way out of the car park, I noticed the elderly parking lot attendant, a wiry old Chinese geezer who looks like he could have been a respected kung-fu master in his younger days. He seemed to look as if he wanted to say something to me.
I wound down my window and asked “Yes, boss! You were saying something?” (I always call him boss lest he gets pissed-off with me and kung-fus my sorry ass into next week)
“Today is a bonus, isn’t it?” he declared, smiling
“Huh? Bonus? What bonus, boss?”
“Of course! For old guys like us, every day we are not in a hospital or dead is a bonus! Right?”
Today is a bonus. I’m not going to forget this in a hurry.