I’ve Ruined Lives

I don’t really believe I’ve ruined lives, although I’ve been accused of it. I do admit that I am a person who makes atypical choices, but I never suggested that anybody do as I do. More than anything else, I believe in individual liberty. I recall a tall, good-looking copywriter with whom I worked. I knew he had psychological weaknesses, because his car was a canary yellow Corvette coupe. There’s nothing wrong with driving a Corvette, if that’s the image you want to project, but there is no excuse for a canary yellow car.

I was separated from my wife, and was staying with a lovely college girl from the west coast. She shared her loft with a roommate, who was also lovely. She was from another city, and had been adopted as an infant, by a wealthy family. One day after work, Manny wanted to come with me, to meet my girlfriend and her roommate. Manny was married to a lovely young woman who also was from a wealthy family. He just wanted to look, so he said.

When Manny asked me if he should try to date Casey, the roommate, I told him it was none of my business. We’re all free to do as we choose. He decided to take up with Casey, and he soon split from his wife. Obviously, he was hasty, and the relationship with Casey also wilted. So Manny was out, on his own. No lovely, wealthy wife who’d always taken good care of him. No sexy girlfriend with an apartment. This had to be somebody’s fault, so he stuck it on me, for ruining his life. See what I mean? It wasn’t my responsibility to make his decisions for him.

Eddy was somewhat the same as Manny. He was a good, entertaining friend. You know, those short guys who build up their bodies to compensate. I always knew that Eddy was hanging around with me because I had the sports car and the speedboat and that sort of life, and he didn’t. Now, I never did anything bad to Eddy, I just became friends with other people where Eddy didn’t fit in. I was a writer with television credits and he was a booze salesman. I wasn’t available for Eddy to enjoy my stuff for a while, and in that way, ruined his life.

Ella was a pretty, blue-eyed blonde that applied to me for a job. She didn’t get the job because her qualifications weren’t adequate. I did date her, however. For about six months, we enjoyed dinners together, and weekend drives in the country, and some evenings at home. There was never any talk of it being more than a dating situation. She had her own apartment, about a block away. When I stopped dating her, she said, “You gave me a lot, but you took a lot from me, too.” I took nothing from her, ever. But I somehow ruined her young life.

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