Friday, February 23, 2007

Vodka, Chili, Panties & The Glory Days

A few weeks ago my former employer, actually my former-former employer, was forced to layoff a large number of people due to the continuing changes in the industry. The music business is in turmoil and going through a painful metamorphosis that is taking a toll on many, many people.

A couple days ago I called a few of the people that were affected just to say hello and encourage them as they figure out what they want to do next. On one of those calls I learned that a small group of those folks were coming to Nashville for a wrap up meeting to hand off company materials, account relationship details and other things necessary to bridge the changes with customers. He mentioned that a group of former staff were gathering Thursday night for dinner and to hang- the sad fact is that it may be the last time several of them see each other. He invited me along.

We showed up at a local sports bar/restaurant- Jonathon’s Grill, but it was too loud to talk, so we decided to head to a nearby hotel restaurant. No one ever goes to those places for a good time, so we knew it would be quiet. It was.

It was great to see the guys- a couple remaining guys still at work in the industry, a few scheduled to end their position in a month, and a few more that had left a month ago and even one that left a couple years ago. It was a blast. A decent Absolute Gimlet, a bowl of horrific hotel chili, and great conversation. Its always fun to hang with friends and talk about the glory days- there is something comforting and supportive about a group dynamic that makes reminiscing fun instead of sad or pathetic.

All was going well until one gent begged me to tell my ancient story about Chris. I refused, assuring him and all the others that they had heard it at some point over the last 16 years and I wasn’t going to bore them with it again. Several spoke up insistent that they had never heard it, and I was implored to tell. And so I did. And I will tell it once more again here, and then I’m done with it.

It’s really not that funny unless you know/knew Chris, so you might as well stop reading here. Have a nice day.

Ok, for anyone left, here we go. Chris is a big guy. Bigger than me, and what someone would call lumbering. He has a heart as big as Texas, but his brain processes everything out in the open. Where most people filter out the thinking process when they go through ideas or options privately, spot the glaring errors or problems, and then decide on a course of action, Chris plods through this by speaking out loud so everyone can peak inside his brain. While he usually ended up making a decent choice or decision, he suffers much ridicule and teasing on the way. Hope that paints a good picture of him.

Many years ago, on one of many sales conferences that brought the far-flung sales reps together for meetings, I waited in the lobby of the hotel during check-in to see who I was to room with. I was told my roommate was Chris, and so headed upstairs to unpack and then head out to dinner. The sales team gathered for dinner that night, and afterwards we all headed back to our rooms- we had an early start the next morning- 7AM meeting start.

Chris and I walked to our room, and I immediately collapsed into my bed and turned the TV on. Chris, who had arrived late from Florida, started unpacking. He then headed to the bathroom, and when he came out and walked in front of the TV I caught a glimpse of him- he was committing a no-no when rooming with a co-worker. He was completely naked except for his undies.

And that’s when I saw them. Big, droopy, silky, ruffled panties. Way too big even for Chris’s massive frame. Things were hanging out that shouldn’t have been.

“Chris, what are you wearing?” I asked incredulously.

He then informed me, with absolutely no hesitation or embarrassment that he had run out of clean underwear right before the trip, and had no choice but to wear a pair of his wife’s panties. He said they rushed to get his clothes washed and packed, and fortunately had just enought time to pack his own clean underwear for the upcoming week although they were still a bit damp.

I suggested to Chris that next time, if this ever happened again, quietly and without commentary, slip a pair of your own clean underwear out of the drawer, head into the bathroom fully dressed, then change underwear, get dressed for bed (that would include some sort of pajamas or robe so as not to freak out your roommate), and never mention that you wore your wife’s panties. Chris said “Yeah- that probably would have been better.”

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Anonymous said...

I remember that story, but still almost spit tea at my screen this morning as I laughed at it again. Thanks for a fun start to the day.

DigitalRich said...

Michelle thought I should point out that while this is embarrassing for Chris, I did get his ok some years ago to freely repeat this story. And, as he is no longer with his wife, there is no hard feelings regarding the big-bloomers thing. Just thought I would throw this in for any that think I am being mean or insensitive with this post. Ta.