He was a dirty little man that had lived a dirty little life. Mere seconds after meeting him, you realize that, although he was in the middle of his life, there was no hope that he could be anything else but a dirty little man. Maybe his mother didn’t love him enough. Maybe she loved him too much. Maybe he was just born dirty. Who knows really? Scientists and behavioralist have been arguing over this for decades. In truth, at least some of the attention should have been directed to why some of us can sense it and some of us cannot. Wouldn’t that have equal value? To know how to sense it? I think it has something to do with being able to read a handshake, to read body language, an ability somehow connecting us to our uncivilized ancestors.
At any rate,there was definitely something that some of us could instantly see in him that tells you he would never take a single action that didn’t have a direct and immediate reward for him. Something that said his laziness went so deep that he could live in filth and complete poverty if there were no easy opportunities lying about for him to take advantage of. Something that said, for what ever reason, he’d been blessed with many easy opportunities and that he had not hesitated to capitalize on each of them, regardless of the impact on others.
At least that is what it was for me when I saw him. So I suppose that I should have been less surprised when I saw him being taken away in cuffs.
The news story was sparse at best. Prominent man shocks community, embezzles more than a hundred thousand dollars from elderly. If one were to believe the reporter, it seems that it his behavior was shocking because it indicated a changing tide in morality.
It made me sad.
I called my grandmother to see how she was doing. I knew that he had not stolen money from her, at least not directly. My father took care of her bills, the way his father had before. He gave her a weekly allowance to use at the shop inside the assisted living facility. If she had given him that money, it would not have added up to much. Though, I suppose if he hustled the money from all the residents, one at a time, it could have.
But that would have been too much work for a man such as he.
“Hello” my grandmother answered after the sixth ring. I responded. I loved to hear the joy in her voice at such a simple thing as recognizing the voice of someone she loved calling her. “Oh no sweetheart. I am fine. No I haven’t seen the news today, but I can imagine what the top story was. It caused quite a stir here.” She laughed. “Now I know how they must have felt in Cuba when Castro stepped in. It’s quite disconcerting.”
She is a hell of a woman.
She told me that it had all happened that morning. The police had arrived before he. She wasn’t sure why they had to arrest him on site, but it seemed important to them. Perhaps it made for a better newsreel.
I adored her pre-TV references.
The company that owned the assisted living facility had already sent someone in to “manage the transition”, but they weren’t sure exactly who would be replacing him. “It’s quite a mess.”
I could hear the disappointment in her voice. She had not seen this coming. To her, he was always nice. He had always treated her with respect. At least in her estimation. Some people grew bitter as they aged, some senile. She had become more optimistic.
In reality, he had very little real contact with any of the residents.
I met him personally once at the open house just after he had taken over. It was a tradition when there was a change in leadership that a party be held to introduce people and put everyone’s minds at ease. Normally, it was a very efficient process. But as I have already stated, he was a dirty, creepy little man.
I watched him make his way around the room. Openly lingering well past his welcome with the more wealthy residents while passing quickly over those less well-off. He only stopped to speak if the table still had a bottle of open wine. He carried his own plastic glass with him.
It was his first act as director to do away with the glass wine glasses. Apparently they were a liability.
My grandmother did not seem to notice his preference for the affluent.
We all notice different things.
My grandmother told me that the director, unbeknown to anyone, had been taking money since the first week of his arrival. He’d never taken more than five hundred dollars at a time, but it seems that if done regularly, it can add up to quite a bit. She didn’t know what he’d done with the money, but none of it was left. We ended out conversation with “What gets into people’s heads?”