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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Character, or more precisely... Characters


By John Ross Hart


The characters depicted here are fictional, in an attempt to protect the innocent...and the embarrassed



Allow me to talk about character.I've known a few.You probably have too.I've been accused of being one.Life is full of them.Some of our great leaders were characters.Einstein was a character.My college art professor was a character.Robin Williams was a character.Many writers have been called characters...or worse.

I am a teenager of the '60's, a child from a midwest-like farm town in Northern California, close enough to the free speech of Berkeley and the rebelliousness of San Francisco.Long hair arrived in 1967 and rumors abounded who was doing pot and LSD.Winters was no more immune than Mt. Pleasant, Iowa or Ashland, Kentucky.

There were students who took their rejection of parental morals and values to the top level of absurdity.One guy decided to stop getting haircuts and taking baths.I had graduated by the the time the lice showed up.My brother told me it got so bad that students could always tell when Mike either arrived or departed.

I once worked with an attractive young lady named Nancy.She had it all, a pretty face, a friendly smile, a nice figure, until something made her laugh.


Some people have unusual laughs, but Nancy's diaphram would gush all the air through her windpipe with a notable sound.


My first job in the hotel industry was at the headquarters of Amfac Hotels and Resorts in Brisbane, California, just south of San Francisco.I worked in our central reservations office, which had a staff of 15.It was a busy place and we were usually kept hopping on a daily basis.I sat beside my friend, Dhami, and an attractive young lady named Lauren, who could pass as my Laury's sister.

There was a lull between calls when Lauren turned to me.

"John, what's your take on the universe and Darwin's Theory of Evolution?"

Then she went back to answering the next call.

We had an employee named Lu Luzon.She lived on the next planet.Her speech pattern was definitely up in the clouds.

"Ahhhhh, John," she asked."I would looooove to share some spaaaaace with you."

I figured she was pretty harmless so we decided to do lunch at a nearby park.

We left at noon sharp but detours to the bank and the post office delayed our arrival at our destination until 12:20.Lu then proceeded to fire-up a joint.

"Ahhhhh, John, I am sooooo glad to share this spaaaaace with you."

I indulged, but kept my eyes on the clock.Here it was, 12:45, and I hadn't even started on my cheese sandwich.Lu, meanwhile, was enjoying her lunch hour.

We got back to the office at 1:30.Being the afternoon shift supervisor, I could get away with it.But I got a better understanding of Lu's patterns.She had been taking long lunch breaks.I came to realize her lunch hour ran from the moment she lit her joint to the point when she ate her last bite of Twinkie.

I just happened to overhear Lu and Analise carrying on a conversation, starring me.

"John sure becomes quiet when he gets high," noted Lu.

Analise laughed."If you think John talks too much now, you should have seen him coming back from Napa.He wouldn't shut up!"

You never knew what you would get from Analise on a particular day.She wore her emotions on her sleeves.On a good day, she would be a walking, talking, excitable reservationist.

"Good morning, Amfac Hotels and Resorts, this is Analise, may I help you?"

All in one breath.

It was another story if she was having boy problems, car problems, or just plain problems.

"Hulloohh, Amfac Hotels and Resorts.This is Annalise."

Analise was truly a soap opera come to life.To the rest of us, she was never a dull moment.

One Friday night, I went out to a disco with four of our lady reservationists.They were laughing, joking, drinking, smoking, and dancing the night away, keeping me in shape as the only straight guy in the bunch.Remember, this is San Francisco we're talking about.

"Eat, drink, and be merry!," shouted Jacqui."For tomorrow you could be Analise!"

Jacque spoke a hundred-miles-per-hour, chain-smoked Benson and Hedges Menthol cigarettes, and kept talking about ice cubes.

Ice cubes?

I decided that IBS or not, I better have another glass of wine.

It's a good thing I didn't get caught driving home that night.

"Ahhhhh!," smiled Lu."So you got drunk Friday night?You need to give up the drink and take up the good stuff."

We eventually had to let her go.

There used to be a sign on Betty Waterman's desk that asked the question..."Why be normal?"

Betty certainly played the part.Whenever a customer gave her a hard time, she would look at me cross-eyed.I have never met anyone who did a better job of blowing off steam, even though her methods were radically off-the-wall.

"Watermaniac!," screamed Fuchia, as Betty started practicing new dance steps, her reaction after taking a call from a supposed VIP who acted more like a jerk.

On a rough day, Betty did her imitation of "Swan Lake" as she waltzed her way out of the sales office and into the break room.

When she really got into her work, Betty would start bouncing in her chair, shifting gears, and when the going got tough, would put on the brakes.

Say this about Betty, she really was a professional, the best at what she did, and behind the craziness was a good person.

One day, she brought in pictures of her first child.To close the book, she had a photo of her son crawling away, his butt to the camera.The End!

I miss Betty.She was fun!

Kathy used to go into gyrating activities with her arms and upper body whenever she had to deal with difficult customers.

As I have mentioned in my other writings, I have been known to tell it like it is and admire people who do the same.On the other hand...

One Friday afternoon, Berta asked Maylee a question.

"Hey Maylee!," asked Berta."What are you doing this weekend?"

"Oh, I don't know," responded Maylee."What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to make love to my husband," Berta proudly announced.

I used to be a fan of Benny Hill but some people can be ridiculous.

At a party, a group of us were talking.

"I was up early this morning," admitted Erika."As a matter of fact, Drew was 'up' early.I got what I wanted!"

Whatever you say.

When Laury and I were dating, a gay co-worker became very offended because I kept the flowers she had delivered to me.

That was his problem!

One of my ex-bosses used to love giving karate chops to the PBX operator who was very gay and quite the screamer.

"Get away from me, you, you!"

Darren took great pride in being gay.He loved teasing me for my straightness.But I would always get him back.

"She says she didn't but I know she do," I would declare.

"Thank you," smiled Darren.

Once, he saw Princess Diana when she visited "Nordstrom's" in San Francisco.Returning to work, he was gloating about it.

"I don't tell me," I said."You probably went up to her and said..."You may be the princess, but I'm the queen!"

Revenge is so sweet.

Rosalyn might not have been either a queen or a princess, but she did keep a picture of Marilyn Monroe at her desk with revolving sets of quotations.

We used to call her Roz for short, which only made sense because she was, indeed, short, and a bit plump.

Her sense of humor rated somewhere between nonsensical silliness and downright insanity.Roz had this innocent grin that gave it away most of the time.

Being me, I was an open invitation.I got "Rozzed" on more occasions than I care to count.She always got away with it because she was so lovable, cute, and liable to tell it like it really was, which made her a friend.

In the daily process of being myself, Roz could always look at me and break out into that big grin which I swear took up two-thirds of her body.I never really figured out what it was about me that made her smile.If you're read this manuscript this far, you probably have already figured it out.

When the going got tough or something went wrong, Roz would always look at me and smile.She used to compare me to some character on "South Park."I have never seen the show and it is probably just as well.

I once introduced Laury to Roz.Rosalyn proceeded to give my wife her greatest condolences.

Roz could bound off the wall like a ball.See her here, see her there, see her running everywhere.Rosalyn wasn't Irish, but she sure had the gift of gab.Her temper was animated, !@#$%&:/!, amongst other colloquialisms.

Again, that innocent smile.

Roz could always put together one whale of a party.This job was perfect for her as she really was a one-person party complete with confetti and noisemakers.Working with Rosalyn was like working on New Year's Eve.

Roz recently got married.I gave her husband MY greatest condolences.

There are characters in the field of education.

One of my early colleagues moonlighted in the roller derby.

I've also worked with lounge singers, pizza delivery drivers, and newspaper carriers.Teaching was their day job.

We have a good excuse.We have to work with children, each one different, each one challenging.

Teaching builds character.It also develops characters.

But, let's be honest.Every workplace, no matter what the job, has its cast of characters.Some even have nicknames, like Nasty, Brown Sugar, and Crazy Erik.If you can write, you can probably tell me just as much as I've just told you.

Finally, as for your own character, consider a line from the late comedian, Redd Foxx...

"Next time you stop at a signal, look at the guy on the right.You're gonna' bust out laughing because he's sooooo ugly.  But if you look and he's laughing at you, what can I say?"





Submitted: March 09, 2020

© Copyright 2021 John Ross Hart. All rights reserved.

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