I used to sell cars at a big dealership. There was an older salesman there, John. Early, mid 50s. A year or so before I started working there, he was homeless and walked into the dealership looking for a job. He was hired and immediately began taking customers for all they had. Why not? He was homeless a month ago. He drank on the job and although it hasn't been confirmed with evidence he did drugs, too. Smoked a ton and wore a suit a little too big. If you looked at him, you'd think he was a car salesman straight out of the 70s.
Despite his shortcomings, John was an interesting man to talk to with a zany and dark sense of humor. I'm half his age and we would call each other Dad and Son sometimes as a joke, but he was like my dealership dad. He was liked by everyone so much, that a lot of salesman pitched in some money to buy him a car we took in on trade.
John sold a lot of cars and squeezed every last penny out of every customer to be able to see his two kids. I think they're 8 and 12. When he made a big commission, he would take a day off and take them to see a ball game, go to the zoo, awesome dad stuff like that. John rarely ever got to see his kids, though. He was divorced and the wife is a lawyer who fucked him as hard in their divorce as hard as he fucked his customers selling cars. From what John told me, he was a stay at home dad. He had managed some restaurants before and had some jobs here and there, but the last several years of the marriage was him taking care of the kids. He had to pay her child support.
John was a wreck after the marriage which is probably why he started drinking heavily and doing drugs, selling cars as his last resort. I left the dealership after a year and a half, but still met up with John every few months for a drink. We would talk about what's new, political horseshit at the dealership, which girls in the bar we'd like to be inside of. He always had some insight for me painted in with whatever joke he was telling next.
Last time I saw him was a few months ago for drinks. He tried out working at another dealership, but he wasn't their kind of salesman. He tried going back to the dealership we sold at together, but they wouldn't take him back. He was living off unemployment.
I got a call today from another guy we worked with. John was found dead in his bedroom this morning. He hung himself. My mind can only make up so many scenarios as to what happened and why...but the one that keeps pushing itself forward the most is that John wasn't able to find work, and couldn't support himself anymore. If he couldn't support himself, then how was he going to pay to see his kids? They were his last shining light. But as an aging man, I don't think he has much chance in today's world to make anything more of himself.
I hate some of the bitterness I see on here about not getting married and the anger phase many are in. But it makes me wonder if John hadn't gotten married, would he be a better man who hadn't hung himself out of love for his children and shame of himself? Will that be me someday? Will that be you?