Trouble in paradise, business


Please meet Oscar. He called a week ago and said he’d like to meet with me. He resides out of state and had been conducting business in Pittsburgh. He set a three-visit schedule to meet his time crunch. So, Oscar, I asked as we greeted in the waiting area, how was your drive? “Longer than I planned; however, I needed the alone time.” What prompted this connection? How did you find me — not that I’m hiding?

Oscar was wearing a silk shirt, pressed slacks and Italian shoes with dark socks. He easied into the chair and gladly accepted water.

“Well, to answer your questions, I was in Pittsburgh on a business trip. I like to take several days or a long weekend to discover some of the surrounding area. I live in a big city and thoroughly enjoy country drives. We finished our business yesterday and I packed lightly for a ride. I needed time away from work. I’ve got serious concerns. Once I realized how far I’d come from Pittsburgh, I stopped for gas and coffee. Your area immediately gave me a calm; a sense of peace. I need to clear my brain. I’m carrying a lot. I’ve seen a therapist before which brought good results. So, I Googled therapists, I called and you were the only one who answered. I figured the timing was a positive sign. So, here I am. Thank you.” So, Oscar, will today suffice?

“Well, I might need more than today. My plan is to drive around your beautiful countryside and allow myself an adventure. I have several days before I leave. I’m terrible, however. I fly on a corporate jet. I’ll call them as pre-planned or perhaps I’ll add a few more days. You see, I’m head of a board of trustees for a major financial group.”

Well, Oscar, I’m glad to meet you. What do you want to talk about? Are you burdened with information that needs an ending? “Yes. I brought a journal with entries that go back years. What I meant to say is that I’ve been keeping private notes for years. Today, I brought a journal that gives a synopsis of years of entries. I wonder if you might have time to read some of it. Otherwise, I have volumes of journals at my office in the privacy of a safe. What I’ve brought coalesces years of observation. You probably wonder what all this represents.” Oscar, will you give me a summation? And will it point directly to your concerns? “I believe so, Marshall.” Oscar took a gulp of water, sat up and read a journal entry.

“The financial group that I represent was led by a married couple. They inherited the company from the originator. He and his wife made lots of money in investments. Their only child, a girl, grew up to acquire healthy insights and skills with business. She married a very bright man with great potential. Together, they conducted high-end business. I was friends with her dad and mother. A board of trustees was formed to help oversee planning and operations. I watched many years of success bred from their cooperation. This was a heavenly experience for me. My wife and I enjoyed dinners, trips and luxury. I’m not boasting. We’ve done well. Then, the crap hit the fan.” What then followed, Oscar?

“I’m sorry. I think talking openly is more meaningful than reading. You can hold onto the journal and read at your leisure. I think another visit will be helpful. Right now, I want to lay out the facts if that’s alright?” Sure, Oscar. Please proceed. “Well, the business ran smoothly for eight years. The couple’s first names are Joan and Babe. His folks loved baseball and were Yankees fans; thus Babe for Babe Ruth, their baseball hero. They projected a good marriage. Though her family started the business, Joan and Babe worked as equals. They have two children who are lovely. Meetings held quarterly were run professionally. We, the board of seven business-oriented professionals, were treated with respect. Our ideas and advice were well-received. Then, the eruption took place. Joan and Babe were divorcing. She was having an affair and announced her intentions to bring this new person, her future new husband, into the business.”

We set a date to meet again.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Marshall Greenstein, a Cassadaga resident, holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email