TODAY is a day I had been dreading for almost six years.
Ever since a loud, imposing, charismatic and slightly balding man stepped into the Riv office in 2014.
Because May 22, 2020, will forever be etched in my memory as the day Andrew Mole deserted me and the entire Riv team to return to the dark side – public relations.
It’s been a rough few weeks for me, enduring a rollercoaster of emotions from shock, devastation, denial, depression, anger, more denial and eventually some kind of acceptance.
Because you see, from the moment AMole dubbed me ‘Vu Baby’, I knew I had found the boss I had been looking for my entire life.
And not the way you think (you dirty bastards). He could be my father as he keeps reminding me during tales of my endless exploits.
As a boss, Andy goes above and beyond the call of duty.
I mean, imagine having a superior who helps you write your cover letters for your job applications.
Or manages to squeeze in your five MUST stories for the next day’s paper at 4.30 in the afternoon on a publication day.
Or comes to your house at 8.30 in the morning to jumpstart your car when you accidentally left the interior light on all night.
Or spends all night writing an awards application on your behalf because he has no social life.
Or finishes the rest of your Mama Mayhem because you’re suffering from your weekly writer’s block or midlife crisis.
Or books the venue for your 40th birthday party because he “knows people”.
Or supports every theatre production you’ve starred in (ironically the only one where I had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction, seeing a lot more of me than he expected for $40).
Or gives me most Christmases off (okay, all) because he knows it’s my favourite time of year and it just won’t be the same if I can’t see my family in Queensland.
So, when he rings at all times of the morning and night with a story, question, comment or just to find out where the hell I am, I try not to hang up on him.
It’s no surprise I speak to him on the phone more often than my own family. But for a man who can talk, it’s incongruous how anti-social he is, yet still manages to be the life of the party.
Even when it’s only to make his usual five-minute appearance at social events and maybe stay for a red lemonade (with lots of ice) if you’re lucky.
The only place he’ll stay longer than it takes to say, ‘How are ya Cobber?’ is a trivia night.
Possibly because the man is a walking encyclopedia. There’s no need for Google when he’s around.
Politics, history, geography, English – he’s got it covered. Just don’t ask him a maths question. But this useful (and sometimes useless) trivia knowledge comes in very handy at times, unless of course he’s on the opposing team of a quiz night.
Andrew has not only been my boss, he has been a valuable and often unsolicited financial advisor, warning me against buying “spendthrift” and “unnecessary” items.
Although I don’t see why spending two hours’ wages on colloidal silver, new shoes or taking the girls to Dreamworld to “create family memories” is wasteful?
Speaking of my kids, I’m pretty sure they will miss Andrew too.
Especially the chocolates and ice-cream he slips to them when they come into the office unbeknownst to me and his wife Helen's leftover cake she makes for everyone's birthday.
Helen, more affectionately known as ‘Presh’, and Andrew have come to be my surrogate parents and I will miss Presh’s friendly face, chats and banana cakes when she comes into the office to proof-read pages (all voluntarily of course).
Professionally, Andrew has moulded me into the writer I am today.
While I can’t pump out a story anywhere as quick as him (I'm talking five minutes) or come up with a witty headline in three seconds, I know now how to capture a reader’s attention and hold it, I have interviewed prostitutes and dealt with a few death threats. And I'm still alive.
If I one day possess half of Andrew's talent and knowledge, I'll be happy.
And while I won’t miss the constant nagging, “where’s my story? Is it done yet?”, the late-night phone calls (professional of course), or early morning texts “Are you awake? Are you? Hello?”, I will definitely miss his leadership, guidance and support.
To help me with my grief, I am thinking of having a lifesize cut-out of him put next to my desk, along with a recording of duck quacks (his phone alert for when he has to take his tablets and any other reminder, which goes off at least every hour) and his booming voice demanding "where’s my story?" just to keep me on my toes.
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