Here Today...

”Hey, did something happen to Marvin?”

I didn't quite understand my friend's question. He elaborated that he'd overheard a motley crew of coworkers in a corner discussing the company's elderly proofreader, but couldn't quite catch what they were talking about. He thought maybe the guy had been laid off, or gotten hurt or something. I didn't know anything, but told him I thought I'd seen him sitting in Burger King at lunch that day. Our conversation drifted into other areas, and the starting point was forgotten.

On Wednesday, it was my turn to overhear things. “It will take two people to replace him...” I thought I heard someone say down the hall. In hushed whispers in the office next to mine, I caught the word “sad” once or twice. I started to piece together that the guy had been let go. It would explain why he was so casually sitting in a booth at lunch, clearly in no hurry to get back to work. I didn't really know or have much interaction with him, but from the few times he ventured out of his office and shuffled down the hall, I got the impression that he'd been there forever, and was well past the age of retirement.

Later, during a meeting, more coworkers made cryptic comments to each other. When somebody mentioned someone “finding the body” in the men's room, I kind of had to ask. People seemed shocked that I hadn't heard. “Marvin the proofreader passed away yesterday at work,” my writer told me. Apparently someone who was working early found him in the bathroom. There were conflicting accounts of whether or not he was already deceased, and whether or not he'd been there overnight!

After the meeting, I headed to my friend's office to tell him he'd been right. I stopped at my desk first, to find a companywide e-mail sharing the sad news, with the more delicate details left out of course. In the hall, the guy who'd discovered the man was sharing his tale with some of his staff. Apparently he walked in to find the man half collapsed against the sinks. He asked if Marvin was okay, and got a faint smile in response, one he initially took as reassurance. But was it? He left Marvin in private for a moment as he wondered whether he needed help. When he popped his head back in, Marvin was no longer responsive. The other guy rushed to find security, paramedics were called, and though they arrived within minutes, it was already too late. It seems a heart attack was the culprit.

I didn't know Marvin too well, but I vaguely recall him walking through the dining area a few weeks ago while I was in a meeting there, and some of the ladies at the table remarking that he didn't look too healthy. The guy who found him said he was 62 if I heard correctly, which was about 20 years younger than he looked. I can't imagine what I would have done if I'd walked in on him, or how I would have handled what happened afterwards. The guy who found him seemed to be okay, but I imagine it's all still sinking in and may hit him later. From what people told me, this Marvin had been a pretty good guy. My writer told me he always remembered her birthday and brought her a gift every year, and he would bring people books if he knew he had some about a topic they were interested in. It's so strange how someone can be here one day, and gone the next.

And the thing that's really freaking me out is, if this guy passed away on Tuesday morning, who did I see in Burger King that afternoon...?


Blogger Lyndon said...

That's pretty trippy. Like something that would happen in a TV sitcom!!

But it happened in real life, so sad. Reminds me of my friend. Happily eating dinner with his family, next thing he's collapsed on the floor, dead of a brain aneurysm.

Life's too short :(

5/13/2010 2:39 AM  
Blogger b13 said...

Not the first time I have heard of seeing someone, somewhere, shortly after they have passed.

5/13/2010 10:03 AM  

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