158. Aging Loser Story

Q: As a callow youth, I read and promptly forgot a NatLamp story about an aging loser in some industrial plant–something to do with “piece-parts distribution”—who tries desperately to impress his new boss. He fails, of course, and suffers a heart attack, and his cubicle is given over to some goth-punk designer. It had wonderful touches—the boss’s attractive freckled wife, the pathetic and primitive slideshow designed by our loser (this in the days before PowerPoint). Now, as an aging loser who’s had a heart attack, I find myself wondering: what was this story called, who wrote it, and is it online to re-read?

A: According to Carol: “It’s called ‘Deadwood, the Desperate White-Collar Worker Who Tried to Please a Boss Young Enough to Be His Kid’ by Tod Carroll. It appeared in the thoroughly dreary ‘Anxiety’ issue, Aug ’80.” Thanks again, Carol!

4 comments on “158. Aging Loser Story

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    A pretty grim story alright. It’s called “Deadwood, the Desperate White-Collar Worker Who Tried to Please a Boss Young Enough to Be His Kid” by Tod Carroll. It appeared in the thoroughly dreary ‘Anxiety’ issue, Aug 80.

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    Many thanks, Carol. Will hunt it down.

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    Thanks again, Carol! You’re the best.

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    I remember this one. A guy named Red who comes up with the idea of using motorcycles to retrieve parts from the warehouse (his young boss rode motorcycles). Red brings a cycle into the meeting room with the bosses thinking they will see the genius of his idea but instead is fired on the spot and then dies of a heart attack. Grim but very funny.

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