I didn’t make my boss look like a crook even though that’s what he tried to do to me. 2,692 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.
Bobby van Arnold wasn’t corrupt. He just knew how to game the system. “It isn’t cheating,” he insisted. “It’s working the loopholes so guys like us can make a living.” He underscored his point by poking me in the chest when I handed him my first weekly expense report after he’d hired me in 1970.
He grunted, “What’s this?” and went through all my neatly arranged figures and doubled them, turning $5 into $10 and $10 into $20. “How the hell can I turn in my expenses when send them this? You want to make me look like a crook?”
“But that’s all I spent,” I said weakly.
“So what? You think the producer is gonna be happy with a cheapskate publicist? You want him to think we don’t care enough about his film to spend the hell out of it? Fill out a new one and don’t make the same mistake.”
I quickly learned that movies weren’t a job, they were a racket. Bobby made this clear to me right after I doubled my expense report since the company was paying me poorly. That’s how it worked.