More than forty years ago, Walt Oleksy bounced in and out of my life. Then less than a week ago, there he was again, friending me on Facebook!
He sat behind me in a bullpen at the Home Office of Allstate Insurance Company located in Northbrook, Illinois. We were writers of various employee publications for the company and I loved it. I did the Home Office publication "All Hands". Walt hated it. There were about four of us, maybe five. All of us were happy except Walt.
Never a corporate man, he’d slide his face down daily holding his cheeks with his enormous hands and would groan something like “Kill me, get me out of here now.” Often I couldn’t understand what he was saying because his face was smashed into his desk. Most writers were thrilled with a steady paycheck to supplement their freelance work, but not Walt.
Ultimately, I was never sure whether he was fired or if he quit or if it was something in between, but I talked to him on the phone afterwards one day, and he was blithely researching an article which involved a tennis racket and an ironing board as I recall. He really didn’t like many people a lot, and men in suits weren’t people at all to him, I don’t believe.
Then he hit his niche. He wrote articles galore and something like thirty books. He’d grab hold of a topic, work it like a pit bull, write a book then move on to another topic that was totally unrelated. Here's a list: http://www.ranker.com/list/walter-g-oleksy-books-and-stories-and-written-works/reference
He’s amazing and fascinating. He has at least one website devoted to old movies, loves Errol Flynn, his dog and has lived in the same place, I think, for as long as I’ve known him. Eccentric, interesting, always ready with book recommendations, never married and nobody’s fool, Walt is worth keeping track of. I found one of his books in a library once and then I found him on the web, got an email address somehow back when and we chatted a little but now this.
I love Facebook for more reasons than Walt, but he’s reason enough. What a guy. I feel sorry for people Facebook scares. Consider what they might be missing!