Mingles is my loyal sidekick at work. He is one of our three security guys, the middle child, if you will, a Seinfeldesque character with a knack for witty comments and sitcom-ready idiosyncrasies. With a baseball cap perpetually covering what is rumored to be a Darth Vader-like bald head, always dressed in black and white, Mingles keeps the jokes coming. Mingles keeps me sane.
I first met Mingles before I took on my current leadership position. He struck me as affable and down-to-earth, maybe even cute in that just-one-of-the-guys way. Once I became his boss, Mingles proved to be instrumental in helping me feel at home. He has become an older brother figure, someone I can tell about some of my personal business, someone I can vent to when I’m ready to punch my not-so-supportive colleague, or the first guy I call when I need to search a locker for drugs or stolen goods. Mingles teases me when Porky sniffs his big snout around me, praises me when I make a smart remark, and gets me lunch when I forget to pack one. As is the case for most folks, I didn’t realize how important he was to me until he was gone.
Mingles lost his mother after her long battle with liver cancer. He has been away from work for three weeks. I have had to monitor the front of campus by myself, which in itself is no problem, but I’ve missed our inside jokes and banter. I have missed his 40something male advice on my personal life. Today, Mingles returned and I am grateful.