Danvers, Massachusetts June, 1980.
In almost every workplace their seems to be one man, consumed with his own sense of self importance, who thrives on telling stories, mostly about his success with women. Gil Scott Heron once described this type of person as a “Legend in his own mind…God’s gift to women on a day God wasn’t giving out a thing” I met Tommie late in the spring of 1980, around the time I had been promoted to position at the Hogan Recreational Department. The first day I saw him he had arrived on his motorcycle to work the 3-11 shift. He was wearing a grey t-shirt with the slogan, “Feel Safe Tonight, Sleep With A Cop”. Tommie told me his last job was with the Lawrence Police Department. It seemed strange to me that he like to boast about working a job that he didn’t stay in very long, but boasting was a significant part of Tommie’s life.
This was my second full time job since graduating high school. In neither job had I encountered anyone so eager to brag of his success with female coworkers, but this was Tommie’s favorite thing to discuss. It felt awkward – Tommie was divulging intimate details about people I saw every day. It also confounded me that if Tommie was such a player, sooner or later some of these women would be hearing what he was saying about them, and the results wouldn’t be pretty. You can say something tastes like honey, but once someone comes back with “Not really dude” then your credibility is shot. For a while Tommie seemed to lead a charmed life, but after a few months not a single woman on our unit wanted to even smoke a cigarette unaccompanied with him. In July I started dating Charlene, and since he had said so many things about her, I had to mention it. She sighed. “He had me in his dreams, and that’s about it…”