Lum: Bestest loyal friends forever | AspenTimes.com

Lum: Bestest loyal friends forever

Su Lum
Slumming

Don't you love it that the media reports that Donald Trump is hiring the people who were loyal to him?

Loyal meaning, like, they endorsed him? Guys like Chris Christie, who was one of the first ones to bite the dust, who has a bit of a reputation himself for revenge?

Or is it loyal meaning the guys who were steadfast in their hatred of Trump, like Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney, who couldn't have denounced him more if they had been standing behind pulpits and cursing him with waving crucifixes. What's a little demonizing among loyal friends?

As if loyalty or friendship had anything to do with it.

Rick Perry would make a dandy head of the Department of Education, or is that the one he forgot he wanted to eliminate? No matter. You don't have to be literate to hold government offices, as Dan Quayle showed us a few years ago.

I don't know if they're fooling Trump, but it's all about the big jobs. A man can eat a lot of crow if secretary of state is the dessert at the end of the tunnel.

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The first time I witnessed the job game in action was in 1957. With my self-taught shorthand and two-finger typing I had copped a secretarial job at a branch of Thiokol that paid about $60 per week, a small fortune at the time.

I hadn't been there long when rumors started flying around that there was going to be a huge shakeup in the government contracts department, which was the whole floor we were on, of several hundred employees.

The word was that one of two higher-ups was going to be promoted to head honcho and the other one was going to be out the door. Like the stock market or horse racing, the game was to pick the winner and establish yourself as a loyal member of his team.

There was plenty of room for error. A man (they were all men except secretaries who didn't count) might pick the correct side, but his own boss might not be on it.

For weeks, courtships reigned on the contracts floor to pitiful degrees. It's disconcerting to see your "superiors" crawl and grovel.

These were the days of the three-martini lunches, which stretched out to four or five so that by mid-afternoon all the guys were schnockered, the desks of the major contenders piled with treats and bribes with the most serious offers not in sight and who knew what they might be.

Finally the morning came when we were all assembled according to alliances, ready to hear the decision between (we'll call them) Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Harrison. When Harrison was announced the winner, concomitant groans, cheers and a great deal of shuffling and tap dancing ensued, largely to no avail.

New organization charts had already been printed and were passed out. If someone else's name was in your box, you were fired. If the whole box was missing, the entire department was dissolved.

If Mr. G and Mr. H thought that any of the underlings cared squat about them, they were quite wrong and vice versa — Trump's loyal friends don't care squat about Trump except insofar as their crocodile kisses might lead to a government position, the higher the better.

Su Lum is a longtime local who had early training playing musical chairs. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at su@rof.net.