When I saw the man that stood up when I called his name, I really couldn't stop myself from greeting him this way. That was my first impression when I saw the black leather jacket, the shag haircut and the attempt at bedroom eyes. Well over 6 feet tall, he folded himself into the chair in my office.
At first, there wasn’t much for him to say, and that gave him time to work the silk into voice when I did ask for his story.
Trying to hide the surprise from my voice, and not quite succeeding, I asked him, “You haven’t worked since May of 2009?” I also couldn’t keep my eyebrows out of my hairline. I kept facing my computer screen until I could regain control. I kicked myself for losing it in the first place, but I couldn't help but wonder what he could have been doing all that time. That was all the opening that he needed.
“I had to go to Kentucky to take care of my sick son. And then, in December, I had a heart attack. They put two stents in my heart,” he said, reaching around to take out his wallet to produce a laminated card showing a graphic of a heart with X’s to show where the stents were placed. The card didn’t have his name on it.
Well, OK, I thought. That goes along with his horribly atrophied musculature and paunch above the stick legs. Not very good shape for a man in his 40’s. He had a tremor, his head shaking back and forth that matched the shaking of the hand that held out the card to me.
“I’m on 4 medications and can’t work. The doctor won’t release me.” He turned on the bedroom eyes again and tried to increase their intensity when I told him he was probably in the wrong place for what he needed.
Without missing a beat, he said, “Oh, I’ll work, if that’s what it takes. I just can’t drive truck or lift over 50 pounds. I won’t be able to get a doctor’s release without driving to Kentucky again because that’s where my doctor is.”
No, he couldn’t call the doctor to fax a release. He didn’t know the doctor’s name.
“Well, then forget about that. I can work. Just change it in the computer.”
Uh, no. Once info goes in, it doesn’t come out. At this point, just as many red flags were going off as the glints he tried to put into his eyes. Sorry Charlie, David Cassidy you’re not. And he was relentless, so I called in the Big Guns. This time, the story was even more embellished.
“I’m an insulin dependent diabetic. I can’t drive truck.”
“So, who’s the doctor that prescribes your insulin? Who writes your prescription for it?”
“Oh, I haven’t had a shot of insulin in 3 years. I control it by diet. I hid it from my employers so that I could drive truck.”
I couldn’t keep my mouth shut this time. “But you just said you were insulin dependent.”
That was it. It was a done deal. As much as he tried to dance, there was no going back. I gave him his instructions and sent him on his way.
The bedroom eyes didn’t work this time.