Monday, June 29, 2009

Side Benefits

After far too long we caught up last week with our old pal Belacqua, with whom we’ve been friends since 5th grade, or thereabouts, and who many years ago was a part-time running podnuh of ours, back when we both had hair and a reasonable amount of youthful vitality. He’s also, as you may not know, one of Our Town’s most astute commentators on culture and commerce, especially after a beer or two. As he and I and the wives gorged ourselves at that venerable Indian restaurant in Rice Village, we spoke of many things: the artistry of The Wire, the pomposity (perhaps justified) of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the late-life pleasures of puttering in our respective suburban yards (just like our dads did!) and in general of the narrowing horizon as we maneuver through middle of our sixth decade of life on earth.

Belacqua reported that the Houston-born-and-reared IT corporation for which he’s happily toiled for a decade now has more employees in India than it does here in the county seat of Harris, and that many of his remaining colleagues in the locality also hail from the Subcontinent. The outsourcing has allowed the company, which sold its headquarters and now rents back space from the new owner, to close off some of its formerly occupied cubicle space. For Belacqua, that has meant a shift to telecommuting, which most workdays spares him from making the long commute up 45 and on to the Beltway and back down again in the afternoon. A half-empty sort, Belacqua did not sound sanguine about his future prospects—perhaps explaining his professed desire to get in on the ground floor of SuperSexy Donuts®*—but his wife says he shouldn’t complain, and we agree. In his mid-50s, he’s finally achieved the real American Dream: He’s getting paid, and he doesn’t have to wear any pants to work.

*SuperSexy Donuts is a soon-to-be-registered trademark of Slampo’s Place Inc. All rights reserved.

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