When I was a young lad, a newly engaged, still go out three to four nights a week, sleep until 10 because I don't have to be at work until 3, renter, I used to think people with babies were a little... let's just say... strange. Kooky. Nutty. Bizarre. Off.
Because there was this guy, at my previous job. He had just been hired. And the first thing he did on his first day, even before logging on to the computer, even before introducing himself, was plaster every inch of his cubicle with pictures of his baby daughter. They weren't even in frames. Just stuck up there, haphazardly, with double-sided tape.
Did I really need to see this guy with his shirt off at the beach, with his funny-looking kid? In the pool? Wearing a fluffy wool sweater on Christmas? In the park. On the floor. Piggy back. On his shoulders. On the swings. Jungle gym. With the Easter Bunny. On Saint Patrick's Day. I don't even think he was Irish.
Every single picture, there they were. This guy and his daughter, in assorted poses at varying times of the year. There was not even the hint of a wife, whom he mentioned only on occasion. I am not exaggerating when I say there were at least 20, if not two dozen photographs.
This girl could not have been more than 2 years old, yet it seemed every moment of her life had been chronicled and adorned on this guy's desk. I was amazed at the amount of film used to document this little girl's every move. This was before the digital craze.
I didn't get it. And isn't he capable of talking about anything else? What a dufus!
On my desk at the time? A picture of my beautiful new fiance. It was her college graduation picture. That's how long ago this was. And a daily calendar featuring some kind of sarcastic anecdote. That's it.
I could not imagine ever being like that guy. Until today, in fact.
Now, on my present desk at my current job, I have two framed photos: one from our wedding, one of my wife and the dog. And I have an album that's exclusively Penelope. No double-sided tape. I open it to a different picture every day, depending on the mood. My co-workers do not have to endure seeing me half-naked in the pool with my daughter. Unless, of course, they're reading the blog. Then it's their choice, and not by force.
But today I said something, requested something, asked for something. Even as I said it, even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I couldn't believe what I was saying. What I was asking. Who is this person using my voice? What has he done with Justin?
After much consideration and consternation, I've accepted a new job. And in doing so, negotiations of some sort ensued. My sticking point? Not more money. Not more vacation. Not more stock options. I had to ask my new boss, the man who helps run the newsroom at the NBC affiliate in the number one market in country, for Halloween off. You read it right. Halloween. Boo.
"One more thing, and I hope this is OK. I'm in my friend's wedding so I'll need a Friday and Saturday off in early December."
"That shouldn't be a problem."
"And, I can't believe I am saying this, but I need Halloween off too."
"Yeah. The 31st of October."
"I know the date."
"Well, you see, sir, my wife is throwing a baby party for all of her new mom friends and their babies. So, here I am, a Catholic, asking for Halloween off."
If I were myself from five years ago, I would have punched myself in the face, just for being such a big candyass.
But he was sympathetic!
"I understand. Baby's first Halloween and all. That shouldn't be a problem either." Wow.
I never thought it would come to this. I may not have my daughter's face postered all over the place at work, but in a way, I am that guy.