About a year ago, I was forced to sit behind a guy I couldn't stand at work. For the most part, he was quiet. But when he did open his mouth, he was loud and obnoxious, often saying offensive things to the people who sat around us. He was also a big flirt. I'll never forget the day he asked an old woman in our department if she'd ever been spanked. I assumed she'd get offended, but she blushed and giggled as she walked away. That was the effect Dice had on everyone. He was the guy that you either loved to hate or hated to love.
Eventually, Dice (nicknamed after Andrew "Dice" Clay) became my sidekick. He was the only other person of color in our office so we became each other's 'go-to' person. He showed me around the city I worked in the way no one else did. Dice hipped me to Simmy's, a spot where I could get everything from chitterlings to moo goo gai pan. We made frequent runs to the dollar store and I allowed him to hide his goodies in the bottom drawer of my desk. He told me the true meaning of the word "skank" ('a skank is a broad who hooks up with all your friends, but won't give you the time of day') and I helped him clean up his language when referring from women. I got him to go from skank to broad and finally to chick. Unfortunately, that was as far as I could get him to go.
Dice lived a mysterious life so we were all caught by surprise when he quit and said he needed to go "find himself." He said his goodbyes, piled into his truck and drove off to some distant land. A woman was hired to take his place. Although she was very nice, I missed having someone who understood what CP Time meant and could accompany me to Simmy's.
Eventually, Dice returned to tell us of his adventures. He had been in Officer Candidates School and was now a lieutenant. Everyone congratulated him and then the 'An Officer & a Gentleman' jokes started. Someone even nicknamed him Lt. Mayonnaise after Richard Gere's character.
I talked to Dice about a week ago when he gave me the news: He's going to Iraq. He's set to leave sometime in June and he wasn't sure how long he would be over there. He sounded upbeat, about as upbeat as you can sound about a war. I told him I'd keep him in my prayers and made him promise to send me his information once he got settled. (Already at work, plans are underway to send him care packages). I also made him make an even more important promise. When Dice returns, he'll have to come to our office in full uniform. When he finds me, he'll pick me up and we'll march outside like Debra Winger and Richard Gere. Unlike the movie, I'll have to go back inside to work. And he'll have to run around town chasing "skanks."
(Photo courtesy of http://www.topfoto.co.uk/gallery/LoveisintheAir/images/thumbs/0552127.jpg)