Engineered Himself Out Of A Bad Situation

, , , , , | Working | January 21, 2020

(This is one of my dad’s many stories. In the late 80s and early 90s, he was a very highly skilled network engineer, which at the time was just an emerging field. As a result, he jetted around a lot to help clients with installs and training on the new technology. In this case, he was sent to Argentina. My understanding is that it has cleaned up a lot in the last 30 or 40 years, but back then, it was not a great place. While at the hotel, his primary client contact insists that he should go to the club district while he is in town. My dad, not knowing any better, agrees, and picks a bar at random. The entrance to the bar is a steep set of metal stairs, which will be relevant later. He sits at the bar and orders a drink, but he starts getting a bad feeling about the place pretty quickly and decides he should go elsewhere, so he asks for the tab shortly after.)

Bartender: “Four hundred dollar.”

Dad: “What?”

Bartender: “Your bill. Four hundred dollar.”

(Bad feeling confirmed. My dad takes out all the money he has — a little over $100 — and places it on the counter, backing away slowly.)

Dad: “Look, this is all I’ve got. You can have it. I’m just going to leave.”

Bartender: “Four. Hundred. Dollar.”

Dad: “I don’t ha—”

(He is cut off by a blow to the front of his head from the billy club the bartender produced out of nowhere. Due to sheer bull-headed stubbornness — okay, and probably some adrenaline — he doesn’t black out, but manages to stumble towards the exit. Just as he gets there, he feels one of the bartender’s friends grab him by the shoulder. He very quickly decides on a course of action, and grabs the guy’s arm and yanks him down the stairs with him, doing his best to make sure that the other guy hits as many of the metal steps as possible on the way down. At the bottom, my dad gets up; the other guy does not. This is apparently enough to make my dad “not worth it” and he stumbles out onto the street. He tries to flag down a passing Policia, but the guy seems to develop a curious case of blindness at the bleeding American crossing his path. In the end, a hotel concierge manages to catch him before he stumbles deliriously into an even worse part of town, and after refusing a ride in an ambulance — 80s Argentinian hospital = NO — the gash in his head is super-glued shut and he is sent on his way. He actually finishes the job, with a huge knot on his forehead, and when he gets home to his workplace…)

Boss: “Whoa. What happened to you?”

Dad: “I got mugged.”

Boss: “…”

Dad: “In Argentina.”

Boss: “…”

Dad: “After the guy you sent me to work with told me to visit the club district.”

Boss: “Huh. Well, that sucks. Did the job get done?”

Dad: “Yes.”

Boss: “Great! Anyway, next month we have another trip lined up for you…”

(Yeah, my dad didn’t stay with that company too much longer.)

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