Celtic Illumination, part 382, Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru, but don’t forget Shizaru.
For a lot of the time I actually felt that I was living in a Hans Christian Anderson story, The Emperor’s New Clothes. I was surrounded by all these brilliant people yet I could see no evidence of it. And don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t so far up my own arse that I thought I was the most brilliant person on the planet, well; not too far from it. I would often wonder if in fact I was wrong and they were all correct. I know that I am so clever that some mornings I wake up and can’t remember my own name. Richard had not just been put in to NWCS by social services to run the company, but he was also a learning disability consultant with a private company that operated from the Wirral. For those of you unfamiliar with the Merseyside area, on one side of the River Mersey sits Liverpool, on the other side of the river is The Wirral Peninsula where the people like to think they are better than everyone else, so they are not Scousers, it is not Liverpool, it is the Wirral. It didn’t matter one iota to me as I was still a bloody foreigner whichever side of the river I was on.
Now I had this company full of ‘experts,’ and ‘consultants,’ who seemed to make a very good living out of presenting courses, or talks, on the evolving world of learning disabilities. I never questioned these people and their pedigree, although I have to admit I did wonder how on earth they could justify such high fees. It was one day when my service manager Joe, informed me that he was going to become a consultant for this company and earn himself five hundred pounds a day giving talks that I began to really wonder about them. This is the fellow who had given his aunt, the one who couldn’t read or write a job with my team. This is also the fellow who had noted my comment that I loved the company so much I was going to have the company name and logo tattooed on my forearm. He actually lived close to the two main houses I managed and I was surprised one Friday evening to get a telephone call asking me to nip over to his house.
I did so, and didn’t think it strange at all. Richard had every second senior managers meeting held in their private houses. Moving from one to another, he even had his secretary attend to take notes. I wandered over to Joe’s house and actually liked it. It was a solid red bricked house, well-proportioned and very relaxing. It was clean and tidy and decorated in a lovely ‘arty’ way; it certainly didn’t match the persona that Joe dragged around with him, like his knuckles. He was having a party and wanted to show some of his guests something on his computer, the computer wasn’t responding as he thought it should, so he asked if I would have a look at it for him. I don’t think Joe knew that when I said my tool kit consisted of a GFH and a GFS, a great fecking screwdriver and a great fecking hammer, that he believed me.
He left me with his computer and I began to work my way through the system to see if I could figure out his problem. His first problem was that he was only five feet tall but there was nothing I could do about that. People were wandering about, as you do at parties, and before long I had an audience, luckily for me they didn’t contribute to my task. They didn’t give me any assistance with the computer but brought me beer and pickies and one even produced a joint which was sparked up and passed around the little group. I learned that Joe had spent most of his working life selling washing machines till the shop closed down and he joined learning disabilities. Through a bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time, he had made team leader and then catching Richards eye, was promoted to service manager as they moved over to NWCS.
So it would be fair to say that I am not impressed. In fact I had learned that the top honcho in the private consulting firm, the fellow with all the letters after his name who was producing learned paper after paper, was only waiting until he had enough money before opening his own restaurant in Liverpool. I fixed the problem with the computer and left Joe’s party returning to work. It was at our next assessment that Joe told me he was not going to report me for drinking alcohol on duty, or for taking drugs, which he had been told I had done at the party at his house. However he was going to report me for hitting Jimmy. I was sporting three short scratches on my cheek received from Jimmy during an incident which I had recorded in the appropriate diary.
I was talking Jimmy out for the afternoon and had opened the front door of the house. There were one or two steps, nothing tricky or dangerous but Jimmy was sixty plus so could be unsteady on his feet. I reached out both of my hands to offer him support but something spooked Jimmy. He leapt back and I turned to see what had made him jump. Before I knew it Jimmy attacked me. Nobody with learning disabilities can put together a coordinated attack, so it’s not like being in a real fight where your opponent will usually aim for a specific target. People with learning disabilities usually just lash out, as Jimmy had done. Depending on their mood, and how badly spooked they were, would determine the length of the attack. The other thing you have to remember is that unlike a real fight where you would immediately take a step back, gauge your opponent and then decide on your course of action, here it was better to close straightaways and put an end to the attack.
A big bear hug usually did the trick, clamping their arms along the side of their body so they can’t harm themselves or you, and always remembering that a head butt might come next. I had gone straight for Jimmy and using a sort of grab, twist and trip, had placed him on his back on the floor. His focus is now of course off attacking me and his energy is used to try and get himself back up, should he attack me again, I would grab, twist and trip, placing him back on the floor until he hopefully became more exhausted than me. Joe had asked me how I had received the scratches on my face and I told him that Jimmy had attacked me and I had to put him on the deck. Joe had thought about this for a couple of days and had now decided that ‘Decking’ someone meant hitting that person and he deduced that I had actually hit Jimmy. I explained to Joe that I accepted that some people might use the word ‘deck’ to mean hitting someone, but as an ex member of the armed forces it is how we referred to the ground. To place, or put, someone ‘on the deck’ meant that we had put them on the floor. Joe wasn’t having any of it, he was convinced that he was correct.
I was in a horrible situation, there was no proof that I had hit Jimmy, but Joe was convinced that I had, so it was his word against mine. I could then see that if Joe mentioned the beer and joint at his party, again which he hadn’t seen, there was a good chance I could be out of a job. Of course Joe was a very clever man, who had made a name for himself in the world of washing machine sales, so he wanted time to think about it. Normally I think I might have convinced myself that I could argue my way out of a situation like that. What had happened at the party at Joe’s house was away from the workplace and was absolutely nothing to do with the incident with Jimmy. I could sit beside Jimmy and have a bit of a laugh, which would be impossible to do with someone you may have attacked, people with learning disabilities might not have skilled capabilities in the communication world but if they thought someone was a bully they would certainly show it through their body language.
My only problem was that Joe, the would be consultant in learning disabilities, was a fecking idiot, and it doesn’t matter how clever you are, an idiot will always manage to bring you down to their level. As George Carlin said, “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” I don’t know if he was playing a game with me or not, but he kept putting it off, saying that he was still thinking about it. My gut feeling was that he was not going to report the incident, because if it had been true, it would have been serious and by delaying reporting it, he was in fact getting himself in trouble, for if I was a danger to Jimmy I should have been removed immediately.
The situation rolled on for a week or two and I have to admit I was looking around other companies for a new position, I had had enough. I had almost completed a night shift and received a telephone call from Joe. At the end of my shift I was not to go home I was to report to head office. I could tell from his voice that he was in a pretty serious mood so little else was spoken between us and I feared the worst. I was surprised to see a group of bleary eyed people gathering as every team leader in the Liverpool side of the company had been called in. I couldn’t understand what was going on as we were all invited to sit in the meeting room. Kath gave the game away as she smiled at me and said, “The Irishman’s in trouble,” I could see she was delighted and wondered just what was being said about me throughout the company. I couldn’t work out what Joe was playing at but was determined to fight my way out of the situation. With all the team leaders in the room the service managers came in. I could hear myself reminding myself not to swear when it started. Then the two owners came in. “We’ve gathered you all here to inform you that Richard no longer works for the company.” Richard had been fired. Well; thought I, the king is dead, long live the king.