I Won’t Be In To Work Today; Committed Suicide Last Night

I once had an employee call in dead. Not sick, but dead. When he didn’t show up for his shift I called his apartment. His room-mate answered and went to get him–but came back to the phone and said “he’s not here, and he’s not outside at the bus stop so he must be on the way.”

An hour later the employee called, “I’m really sorry, but I can’t come to work today. It’s kind of embarrassing, but I committed suicide last night.”

“Suicide?” I marveled. The kid was an actor; he often bragged that he was friends with Melina Kanakaredes.  It was really important to him that I knew that he knew Melina Kanakaredes so well that he used a nickname when they sat around and laughed and smiled and laughed some more about all the hijinks and misadventures they shared at Point Park University.  I don’t remember that nickname, 20 years later, but I still remember that he used it.

“Yes, I was so depressed, and drinking–it was an impulse. I was still at the hospital when you called, but I need to stay home and relax today.”

“Ah,” I said. “I’m glad that you’re feeling better.”

“Oh, I won’t be doing that again.”

“Right.” I said. “Especially now that you’ve practiced. Next time it might stick.”


“We’ll see you Monday morning, okay?” I said. He was a good kid, I liked him, and giving him a pass was easier than hiring and breaking in a new clerk.

That night my in-laws came to town, with tickets to take my wife and I to a local production of Jesus Christ Superstar, I couldn’t help but grin when the young fellow goose-stepped onto the stage in full Nazi regalia in the role of King Herod, or Pontius Pilate, whichever sings that “you are the Christ song.” He was excellent–the Nazi thing was inspired–and that dead kid sure could sing.

I looked forward to complimenting him on Monday, and getting a little jibe in about the “suicide” thing, but I never saw him again. After about three weeks I mailed his final check.