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Printing Industry Shrugs As Executive Retires

Moonachie, NJ - June 7, 2001 Printing industry employees from pressroom porters to the executive suite collectively shrugged and uttered a figurative “so what?” on news that printing executive Hal Stottard, an executive with a large Moonachie commercial printing firm, quietly retired today.  His future plans were not announced, and there was no industry interest whatsoever in what his future might hold.  There was some insider suggestion that the retirement may not have been completely voluntary, but no one cared one way or the other, except to whisper malicious water-cooler-style gossip.

Many, in addition to being completely unmoved by the retirement, offered derisive comments.  “Oh, that guy with the wig?  He retired?” chuckled Pedro Nociamentados, a folder/stitcher operator of questionable immigration status at the plant where Mr. Stottard had once reigned as President.  “Like, who gives a shit?” he concluded.  A pressman commented, “his strongest days were spent manning the company barbecue, and many people frankly didn’t think he did such a hot job.  I saw a famished and hungry worker eager for lunch surreptitiously discard a burger that Hal had smilingly proffered with a spatula.  As soon as Hal turned his back, the burger went into the trashcan.  I looked in the can, there were scores of uneaten dogs and burgers in there, all tossed by people who accepted the food from Hal so as not to make him feel bad.  One guy they call Acorn, who worked directly for Hal, commented that ‘if friggin Hal can’t open Windows on his computer, who knows how bad he’ll fuck up a simple grilled patty or hot dog?’  After that, people were just throwing food out left and right.  It was pathetic.  I suggested we donate the food to an animal shelter or something, and someone joked, ‘Hal Stottard, dog’s best friend.’ I don’t know much about the world of executive muckety-mucks, but the word in the plant was the dude was an empty suit.” 

Competing Industry Executives Mildly Interested, Relieved

Competing industry executives offered mild interest.  One head of manufacturing at a successful competing printing plant expressed a modicum of regret.  “Hal’s gone?  We used to clean that company’s clock when he ran the show.  In a real sense he did more for my company than he did for his own.  He’s retiring?  Well, maybe he won’t have to wear that floating toupee every day.  Boy, imagine facing the world like that?”  He added somewhat sympathetically, “Boy, if only he knew the hoots of derision that rug generated.  I guess the general feeling is, ‘empty suit, bad rug, good riddance’.”

Still others expressed relief that Stottard was leaving the industry.  “For the love of jesus!  What took them so long to give him the boot?” wondered an exasperated head of production at another successful competitor.  “I once worked for the guy, and he was an empty suit.  All rug and no suit!  That’s a joke!  Anyway, he screwed me around so bad, I still think I’m a broad.  That’s no joke!  Oh, that’s good news he’s gone.  And what a battle-ax the wife is!  With any luck, he’ll have a short-lived retirement.  That’s a joke!”    

Mixed Feelings

People directly working for him were of mixed feelings.  Executive Administrator Dick Acorn, speaking on the record as having worked directly for Stottard, was gamely supportive in his comments.  “Hal is the proverbial ‘numbers’ guy, he can really finagle his way around financial statements,” began Acorn.  “He loved financial statements so bad, it may have given him severe tunnel vision when it came to important management issues, which without proper attention, went straight to hell in a handbasket during his tenure.  Some people called him an ‘empty suit’ but I thought he actually did pretty well with his wardrobe.  If, as some asserted, he was overpaid, he sure spent his money pretty well in the clothes department.”  Acorn fondly continued, “Was he a ‘good boss?’  Yes, if you consider someone a good boss who constantly needed menial help with fax machines, copiers, and rudimentary computer skills, he was a GREAT boss.  And because he was such a superb numbers guy, his incessant request for reports that needed to be carefully placed in binders for no good reason made him the top of the trees.  And while there is vehement debate about this, some people on the night shift heard that he was an accomplished barbecuer, too!  Rumor on the day shift was that he wasn’t so hot and there was a lot of food waste. I respectfully reserve judgement one way or the other.”  

Acorn wistfully concluded.  “In the end, the thing I’ll miss most about Hal were the cheery calls from Mrs. Kitty Stottard.  Boy, she sure loved calling her Hal!  Usually it was to check up on him and give him numerous opportunities to vent his frustrations, blame others for his ineffectiveness, and bad-mouth colleagues.  Often Kitty would vent her own frustrations and add her two cents to the pot, too, which helped Hal maintain his unsettled feelings towards others.  Then there were the most touching calls.  She always wanted to know when her Hal was on his way home to her, and she’d get quite excitable if there was a vague answer about Hal’s departure.  You see, Hal had a company-leased apartment – some company smart alecks dubbed the joint, ‘the whore’s den’ – where Hal could hide out during the week.  But come Friday, boy, Kitty sure must’ve missed him because she really wanted him home.  I don’t want to surmise, but maybe she knew something we didn’t.”    

Industry Interest Non-Existent

Industry interest about Hal’s future was non-existent.  Said one financial officer at yet another successful competitor, “Look, you know how many numbers guys are out flat on their ass because they thought they could sit in the Big Seat and run a bonafide operation – only to fail?  Who does this guy think he is – Mr. Varsity Big Shot Honcho?    Oooh, I can run the show!  No one gives a flying hoot what happens, I guess the general feeling is, keep the man away from anything remotely responsible.  Running one company into the ground and being a pestiferous boor and a meddling conniving fuck is enough for one career, if not for a lifetime.”

-- Dick Acorn