You never get a second chance to make a first impassioned monologue.
Naomi is the only person in the comic firmly based on someone I knew in particular. Hank doesn’t quite count; basing a quiet guy on an actual quiet guy and then imagining a history for him isn’t quite the same. Time for Sears lore!
When I worked at Sears, I was jointly hired by two managers, a guy named Dave that corporate had brought in from Chicago, and a woman named Marie. Marie was a black woman from Quebec in her 30s (I’d estimate) who had been a law student, spoke perfectly annunciated English and was a single mother. How that collection of backstory and personality characteristics came together in a manager at a Sears in a mall in Florida I’ll never know, but I had coworkers from three continents and everything was so weird that hardly any of it seemed weird at the time. I worked with a Lebanese guy who could do a spot-on Donald Duck impersonation and championed the virtues of Esperanto; Marie was probably the most normal person there.
She was a consummate professional with exactly one idiosyncrasy, which was the pens-in-the-hair thing you see here. At first I thought it was kind of a joke on her job, but that was before I came to experience the store’s chronic pen drought. I once distributed something like 200 pens throughout the store, only to find that 95% of them were gone within a week. Marie – who didn’t really wear the kind of clothes that had pockets, at least as I recall – solved the problem in her own way.