Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The D.O

When all of us first encountered her, we were enchanted. Brilliant. Slight, fragile, pretty – and brilliant. She belonged to a higher order of Mensa than Mensa – yes, there is such a thing. She talked about Fibonacci sequences and Fermat’s last theorem. We competed to take her out to lunch. But then, gradually, all of her discovered, sadly, that she had a chickenshit personality.
She was always and forever seeking to reenforce her positive view of herself – which consisted entirely in her being so smart. Oh well, she also wanted attention – desperately. She would actually wear earphones and listen to music while walking in the office -- until HR told her not to.
I became disillusioned when we were holding contests on the email at the magazine where I worked. The D.O. (as we referred to her) always won – naturally. Then someone in the library told me that the D.O. would visit and consult some books before submitting the right answers. When she gave as an answer to the question, who had the highest batting average in history?, as Tyrus R. Cobb instead of Ty Cobb I knew she was cheating.
I offered to teach her how to play chess. She did not show up. And later I saw her outside talking with other people. When I confronted her about her missed appointment, she blamed ME for not reminding her of our date. She looked so proud of her cleverness in seemingly turning around the situation. My fault, not hers. I stared at her. You are out of my life, I thought – you could not even apologize.
Everyone became disappointed with her at around the same time. One woman said that she saw the D.O. coming toward her office, to chat, so she ducked under her desk. “Even the D.O. got the point.”
Someone sent me a message. “I pity her husband.” I wrote back, “Knowing her for 2 weeks is like being married to her for 20 years.” I accidentally sent it to her. Quick as a flash, she asked if I was referring to her. I denied it.
Out of the need for attention, she had an affair with our magazines art director. And she told everyone about it! I heard about it from other people. But then she actually said to me, “My affair is not going well.” The art director had dumped her.
I want attention, too; I also want other people to reflect my positive conception of myself. But on a scale of 1 to 10, in terms of needing attention and admiration, I’m a 6 or 7. She was a 10. And with no insight and therefore no attempt to cure herself.
When a mutual friend died, there was going to be a funeral dinner. But when I heard that the D.O. was coming, I bowed out.
Maybe because her flaws and shortcomings were too like my own. Or maybe because I was just so repelled by her – “My affair is not going well.”
The name “the D.O.” stood for the Demented One.

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