NOTE: I wrote this speech to deliver at Debby's retirement reception last week, but for fear of breaking down and crying did not deliver it. Some details in this essay may or may not be factual.
Debby Tingle tried to avoid me for over twenty years. I worked over at RMP until 1999. She was doing Lord knows what here in the Blue Building: working in the plant, inside sales, purchasing, blah blah blah. Then I was sentenced to six months at faraway Washington Specialty Metals in Lawrenceville.
At the turn of the century (you know people are old when they talk about the turn of the century – and that's the year 2000, not 1900 you wiseguys), I joined the fabrication department in the main office building. I had finally made it after over twenty years. The same building that Debby Tingle worked in. Or so I thought.
Cunning veteran that she is, Debby stealthily slipped away, moving over to my old haunt: the very same Washington Specialty Metals. Some people will do anything to stay away from me. Later she worked in the RMP office while I was down the road at North Berkeley. I think you can agree that I wasn't going crazy – Debby Tingle was doing whatever she could to avoid me.
Even when we were all forced into the same sales office, Debby was down the way, back behind me, very much out of my line of vision. Lord knows what she was doing behind my back. It was only when we both moved upstairs into the Program Team office that we were officially together.
Ah, those were the days. I discovered that Debby and I actually had several things in common. A love of college football. An unlikely mutual friend. We both sang in church choirs (ok, that was a long time ago for me). Former coworker Hugh Clark went to high school with Debby. My wife had inherited a barnful of yarn (not literally) and Debby loves her knitting, so I was able to smuggle out bagfulls of yarn for Debby. Future shipments will be directed to O'Leary.
Debby likes her some Crimson Tide football. Like most real Bama boosters, Debby was born a Bama fan. Don't mess with her on autumn afternoons. You know she's a real fan when she listens to games on the car radio traveling on backroads on vacation. Kids these days don't even realize they broadcast football games on the radio.
Or that cars have radios.
Somewhere along the line either Debby adopted Dennis Arrowood, or Dennis wisely attached himself to Debby, to ride her coattails. Might be the best decision Dennis made in his life, aside from marrying his wife Angie. I have no idea what Dennis will do once she's gone. Dennis and Debby sat next to each other in at least three different offices, right? And took breaks and lunch at the same time for how many years? I entered a work order just to calculate how many lunches they ate together. By my count it's at least 3,500. Over seven million calories. That's almost as many walks as Chris Tarquinio took with Jim Catlin (sorry, that's an old timer joke). Almost as many spreadsheets and mapinators that Bill Baldwin created in his career. Almost as many words that Sandra Born spoke in one day.
But back to Debby. This afternoon Debby was featured on our company's website – shortly AFTER she walked out the door for the very last time. Great timing by the old home office.
Yes the years working with Debby in Program Sales were filled with fun. But again I say: or so I thought. Me and the EZGo team were summarily booted out of Program Sales, kicked downstairs into the direct line of fire known as the Transactional Sales Team. It's taken me a couple of years of interviews and investigations and research to undercover what really happened. Now some new information has come to light - I have it on good authority that it was indeed one Debby Tingle who was behind my ouster.
Debby had planned on working several more years. But due to these recent new revelations, Debby is now resigning in disgrace. It's certainly a shame that such a long and distinguished career has to end like this. In a related note, the NCAA has announced that the University of Alabama athletics department, and head football coach Nick Saban, are being investigated for their complicity with Tingle in the Murphy incident. Plans to erect the statue of Debby outside the Peachtree Industrial office have been put on hold. So sad, too. The statue had her knitting.
Regardless of these circumstances, I still wish Debby enjoyment in her retirement years. Love you, Debby!