"You mean he actually sat all 'suited and booted' waiting for them to come and invite him back to the office!"
"Exactly, that's what I am saying. There he was, all spruced up, not a hair out of place day after day waiting for the 'call'!"
"And how long did it take for him to realize that nobody is asking for him, that things are moving on without his 'indispensable' presence?!"
"Well he was at it for nearly a week. Then one day he threw off his tie and shouted at his wife for making a shabby knot. He fumed and fretted for the whole day blaming bad weather, bad food, everything and anything and then he locked himself in his room."
"What happened then?"
"He never really recovered from the shock. His temper tantrums became a daily feature and he became suspicious of everything and everyone, hinting at conspiracies and all that. He would get quite agitated and aggressive and abusive at times!"
"No wonder the doctors declared him paranoid. His family tried so hard but he had to be institutionalized…"
"What a pity!"
Indeed what a pity, I thought, after hearing this conversation between two of my friends. They were discussing a common acquaintance who had always been so full of himself that he actually started believing that he was indispensable. As the time came for him to retire from his job he would shake off this certainty with a smug air believing that his department could never function without him!
"It's not easy to have a set-up like I have worked up! No sir! They can't afford to do away with me. Not that I would mind. The fact is that I deserve a break and would really enjoy my retirement but they will never let me!"
Till the actual day of his retirement he kept waiting for the 'extension', which he believed would come even though he had not even applied for it! When they held a farewell party for him, he made quite a speech – an ode to himself – extolling his virtues, enumerating his achievements, wallowing in self-praise… And all the while he said to himself, this is no farewell, you suckers, just wait and see!
The 'last' day came and his colleagues escorted him home. Some of them even got emotional and some at least pretended to! He humoured them all, at times having to pinch himself so that he could keep a straight face. He was tickled to the bone, thinking that he would yet have a last laugh when he retuned back to head them once again. He was sure that the authorities were as usual too taken up with other things and would realize soon enough that things couldn't be managed without him.
As days went by, to his utter disbelief he discovered that the sun still rose in the mornings and the earth rotated on its axis (very much evident by the fact that night and day still 'happened'). What's more his department too seemed to carry on – it didn't quite collapse into a heap, defying his belief and his predictions – that too without his active participation! For days altogether he kept lifting the phone receiver to check whether it might not be out of order! They say he still jumps up in exultation whenever the phone rings, there in the asylum where they kept him.
Pathetic isn't it! But then that's the way it is always going to be for people who are too full of themselves. It is a pity, isn't it, that people get so puffed-up with their sense of self-importance that they forget that they are not exactly indispensable. Such people usually find the ground quite hard when they hit it, though of course there are some who live it up in their own megalomanic fantasy world!
It is not all that rare a phenomenon at that, this bloated sense of one's own worth. There was this very vocal politician, not so long ago who started believing that he was a modern day Atlas who carried the world, or at least his party, on his shoulders.
His party leaders did not quite subscribe to this view and so, to his consternation, he soon found himself plummeting towards Old Mother Earth at such a speed that before anyone could hand him a parachute he landed with a rather resounding thud! Dazed though he was, the poor chap retained enough sense not to kick up a row and so there he is back to being 'yours faithfully etc. etc.' to the high command.
A strange malady this and you never know who is going to get it. It does affect people quite badly. They seem to swell so much in their own estimation that even the sun gets eclipsed for them by this bloated self-image of theirs. Such people perhaps forget that Atlas is just a mythological figure and in real life the world does not rest on any individual's shoulders…
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at firstname.lastname@example.org)