Wednesday, February 01, 2006
There comes a time when in mixed company that your vocabulary is held hostage. Sometimes you are in a public place, which forces you to exercise discretion before speaking.
The Corporate Secretary was retiring after 40 years at our company. There was a party in the Board Room in his honor. Attending the fete were all the Board members, company executives, department heads and office managers. There was loud banter as thirty plus men and women snacked on cheese and crackers and sipped champagne.
....It seemed that everyone was engaged in some kind of discussion and each conversation was louder than the next. I was in the small group of office managers who had camped out closest to the snacks and the bubbly. Despite knowing that I had a low tolerance for champagne, it didn't prevent me from going easy on the stuff.
Our little group had devolved to telling our latest jokes to our peers.
....I was the center of attention as I accepted the challenge to tell the next joke:
A young man came home from work to find his wife crying. From the pile of tissues on the table in front of her, it was obvious she had been upset for some time.
...."What's the matter, honey," he asked placing his hands upon her shoulders.
....Trying to hold back the tears his wife replied, "I just came back from the doctor..." She grabbed another tissue and wiped the corners of her eyes. "The doctor said I have acute angina."
....The young man sighed as if relieved...
At that moment, my back turned, the Chairman of the Board had stepped up to the dais. The room fell into silence ... At the very instant that I, voiced raised, espoused the punch line ...
...."That's not so bad. You got a great set of tits too!"
For several pregnant moments I could hear my heart thumping like a bass drum. I felt like Wiley Coyote falling to my doom to the canyon floor a mile below. I could feel every set of eyes in the room gazing and glaring at me. I made eye contact with Walter, the retiring Secretary. I don't know if it was an act of suave qui peut or desperate savoir faire, but I spoke quickly, "Walter, if you cancel your retirement, you can hear the beginning of it."
....A round of laughter and giggles spread through the crowd.
....The Chairman cleared his throat and said, "Thank, Mr. Ashley. I was looking for a good opening statement to break the ice. As always, your input is invaluable."
As I said above in so many words, there comes a time when one should open one's mouth, insert foot and chew vigorously! In my case, there comes a time to forego the champagne.
....I must admit that the Chairman of the Board was not one of my most favorite people. He was certainly a likeable fellow, but I was a victim of a major reorganization he had implemented six months earlier. I was two days away from being promoted to Assistant Vice President of Operations when his company-wide two year plan of restructure was announced. It went into effect immediately. Several departments were merged into one center of operations. The department and the position I was about to settle into ceased to exist. Not only did I not get my promotion, but I was just as abruptly no longer a manager. In one fell swoop I was a Senior Clerk! There was one consolation, my salary was increased 25% on the spot. That made things a lot easier to swallow.
Back to when he said my input was invaluable, I had to bite my tongue. I was tempted, but thought better of it, to say to him, "Kiss my ass!"
I only wish that I had known of an alternate way to have said the same thing. It's too late now, but I have one now. The next time I want to tell someone to plant their lips on my derriere and there is mixed company around ... All I have to say is ...
Take a journey to the center of the behind!
Curmudgeon responsible for this post: Hale McKay at 12:10 AM