Fond Farewell, Mr. Fullerton

It seems that Critical Mass is losing too many good people within a very short period of time. First, it was a round of layoffs nearly three weeks ago. Now it’s a series of resignations. Among them is Arthur.

Arthur came to Critical Mass about two months after I’d started. He’d moved into the interactive agency world after realizing that banking just wasn’t for him. He sat next to me in our old building. Starting off in QA, Arthur worked himself up to the point where he could switch into Web Development, where he did a variety of projects before landing on the Mercedes-Benz account.

For at least two years, Arthur was the lead Web Developer on the Dealers projects, although last year he also ran the Web Development end of the Collection migration. In no case an easy job. He worked long hours when necessary, and never once complained about the job. Truly a model employee.

But it wasn’t work that defined him. It was being himself. He’s thoughtful, kind, caring, always willing to help, and will go out of his way to take on a challenge when he sees the opportunity. This is how Arthur came to be my coach and mentor for physical fitness. He’s the one who set me up with my program, changed my eating habits, and encouraged me to try different things and move ahead.

And I wasn’t the only one who had seen this sort of thing in him. Many people at Critical Mass who have come to know Arthur over the last three and a half years would be sad to see him go. Which is why on Friday, we held a going-away party for him at Vicious Circle.

I don’t know exactly how many people showed up, but we’d pulled out well in excess of 50 people. We had three our four large tables at the club filled with folks. Well, all but one person in particular. Arthur was late. Somehow, I wasn’t particularly surprised that the guest of honour was running 45 minutes late.

People came and went over the next few hours. Soon, we were down to a solitary table, harbouring Arthur, Angie, Pat, Colin, Reid, Jude, Rudy, John, and myself. Somewhere around midnight (I’m guessing), we opted to move to a different venue. So we were off in a few vehicles for what we call the No Name Lounge, a club near 17th Ave. and 14th St. that, quite literally, has no name. (It’s probably a numbered company for the purposes of liquor licenses, et al.)

We’d been there once before for Rudy’s little send off before he’d vanished to the South Pacific for a month over Christmas. There were significantly more people inside this time around, but as was the case before, the music was stellar, and the venue loads of fun.

Just after 1:30, we’d realized that we’d had enough for one night. Arthur, Rudy, and Jude had already vanished for the Cherry Lounge, but the rest of us were not to follow. Angie went home (Reid making sure she got there okay), while Pat, John, Colin, and I saddled up for the ride home.

Dropping John off at his place, Pat, Colin, and I headed in search of sustinence. We were starving. A night of revelry and far too much beer for our own good (we were pretty much sober by this point, incidentally) brought us to the most popular eatery on 17th Ave. for those out partying: Wicked Wedge. A slice of a “Chief Wiggum” pizza and a small Coke did wonders for me … and probably not for my diet. (I was willing to make an exception.)

Pat and I drove Colin up to his place in Rocky Ridge (pretty much most of the way to Cochrane), engaging in a bitch-fest the likes of which I haven’t been in for a very long time. The three of us are long-time Critical Mass veterans (except that Pat was laid off three weeks ago), so we’ve seen it all. Literally. And we know what’s good and what needs help.

Sigh If only we ran things. (And while I’m dreaming about things I don’t really want, I’d like to be a famous movie star.)

Pat dropped me off just after 3:00. The house was cold and dark. But I didn’t mind at all. I crawled into bed, curled up in a fetal position, and let the sleep of the wicked steal me away for a few hours. I just hope no-one else leaves anytime soon. I don’t think my body can take it.

In a couple of weeks, Arthur leaves for Toronto. No more morning workout sessions. No more suggestions on how to improve. No more crack comments as he passes my desk. (Hmmm… suddenly, this isn’t looking like such a bad thing.) But such is life. You can’t get into a pattern for too long before something has to change.

Take care, Arthur! I’m sure our paths will cross again.