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slowkneenuh
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I've been sitting back and just enjoying reading the posts. The most recent posters, Ed, Daryl, Arthur, and Mark continue to provide stories that I've only dreamed about happening to me, while others, I can easily relate to in some way.

Keep the stories coming folks as you have a very appreciative audience!
John

"A poor workman always blames his tools"
arthur stead
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Another great installment, Daryl ... thank you!

Folks who have read my previous stories might remember that in the early 1980's I worked as Musical Director and pianist for the "new" Mamas And The Papas. This was with the original members John Phillips and Denny Doherty, plus Spanky McFarlane from "Spanky And Our Gang" replacing the late Mama Cass. John's daughter Mackenzie (from the "One Day At Time" TV sitcom) also sang with us, having taken the place of John's ex-wife, Michelle.

Since John was still on probation (he and Keith Richards had been busted for buying a drugstore in New York City), he could not travel overseas. So our performances were limited to the USA and Canada. Nevertheless, we toured extensively for almost 2 years.

Our shows were very well received. But one day a dangerous element entered our lives: Mackenzie started getting stalked. Some nut-case kept writing to her, explaining that he believed they were destined to die together. He intended to shoot her while she was performing onstage, and then take his own life. One of this psycho's letters even contained a bullet! At that point, we all started taking it seriously, and contacted the police.

The end result was that for several months, we were constantly accompanied by two undercover secret service bodyguards. These guys were "the real deal." One of the dignitaries they had previously provided security for was Henry Kissinger. (And man, oh man, did they have some candid stories to tell about the private lives of politicians and members of the United Nations ... Kissinger included!)

Our two bodyguards were always armed. Whenever we boarded for a flight, they checked their weapons with the pilot. And picked them up again the moment we disembarked.

Meanwhile, the threats from Mackenzie's stalker got more and more intense. He was determined to kill her (and himself), and nobody knew for sure when he planned to stage his attack. One thing I can tell you, is that it's quite disconcerting, performing onstage in a theater, when you suspect that at any moment, someone could walk in and start shooting! The bodyguards were with us 24/7. They stayed with us at our hotels. They accompanied us during all our travels. And they also met with local police in each city we performed in, coordinating extra security in strategic positions in the audience at all our shows.

The biggest problem was that no one knew what the stalker looked like. So he could easily have bought a ticket and blended in with the audience, before deciding to fire off a few rounds.

What made things even scarier at the time, was that our guitarist was married to a crazy biker chick. And she found out that he had slept with Mackenzie! His wife's resulting anger knew no bounds, and she was determined to get revenge. So we were getting death threats from her, too! (But not with a gun. Her preferred method, apparently, was to detonate a bomb which would kill all of us).

So our whole band and crew was dealing with a possible double whammy: Night after night, not only did we fear getting shot at by the nut-job stalker ... we also expected to be blown up by the nut-job wife!

Anyway, the end of this story is a bit of an anti-climax. Because to our combined relief, Mackenzie's stalker eventually got caught, and went to jail. And don't ask me how, but our guitarist managed to calm down his wife, and for quite some time juggled his relationships with both her AND Mackenzie (before finally getting divorced). That's life in the fast lane for ya!
Arthur Stead
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Daryl -the other brother
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Quote:
On Feb 23, 2014, arthur stead wrote:
That's life in the fast lane for ya!

Surely make ya lose your mind. Smile

PART 7 Runnin with the devil Smile

While wandering through the Van Halen jackets I eventually ran into Tommy, the road manager. He looked a lot like Jason Lee in "Almost Famous". (This was the 80's, they all looked like Jason Lee) When I told him we were contest winners from Chicago and our hotel was $100 cab ride away, he apologized for the poor planning and invited us to have a snack in the restaurant while he went to look into this.

Just as we were finishing our nachos, Tommy walks in with a big smile on his face. He says "We're going to show you how Van Halen treats contest winners. So if you wouldn't mind being our guests for the day you can get some bathing suits at the gift shop and hang by the pool. They have a great bar here so order some drinks and have fun. Dinner is at 5:00 in the restaurant and it is all courtesy of the band."

Smile Well this day took an unexpected turn!

Not being one to disrespect authority (especially when it's to my advantage) we said good bye to Tommy (he would see us at dinner) and headed off to the gift shop. After equipping ourselves for a day of fun in the sun (basically suits and sunblock) we were off to the pool. OMG... I don't know which was more stunning, the pool with it's swim up bar and 20ft waterfall or the bevy of beautiful women that were around it! Smile I had barely settled into my beach chair when a waiter came over to take our drink order. For a second I paused to take this all in. An hour ago, I was in the back of a cab, angry and frustrated. Now here I was poolside at a luxury resort, surrounded by pretty women (including my GF), being waited on and the whole thing is being paid for by Van Halen? Smile

Could this day possibly get any better? Stay tuned for the next and final chapter..."That's a Wrap"
arthur stead
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Hey Daryl,

Thanks for continuing your great saga! You're a real tease to "stagger" the story like this. But it's a wonderful story, and I can't wait for the next chapter!
Arthur Stead
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How wonderful, Daryl! It's so nice to hear about times when famous people turn out to be really great fun people!

Well I guess I'll try to hold up my end here.

Some of you may know that around Valentine's Day, I wandered into playing a small part in a production of Romeo and Juliet. So here's a very recent story, about fate putting me into another interesting situation, that just fell into my lap.

Well, about about a month ago, just as I was finishing up my little bit in Romeo and Juliet, I got a phone call from my old high school friend, Burt. We've been in touch with each other, oh, roughly every five years or so since college. He went to med school and is now the head Ob-Gyn doctor at a big hospital on Long Island, and he is also a Professor of Medicine at a local University.

Oh, and one more thing. He told me he had finished writing the books and lyrics to a musical about Albert Einstein called The Rule of Disorder which he had entered into a local contest and had won--so it's getting a workshop "concert" production at the Patchogue Music Theater in Patchogue, Long Island. "Concert" version meaning, no scenery  or costumes or even elaborate staging, but actors and singers performing in front of a few microphones.  Just one performance. The play was to be done as part of their "lobby" series--the lobby of this beautiful old vaudeville theater is actually large enough to hold 100 people, and so they hold events in the lobby as well as in the 1200 seat theatre.

Well, anyway, he called me up, out of the blue, told me about all of this, and then he said: his play had the perfect part for me, Jules the narrator. I told him I no longer can remember my name half the time, never mind more than a mini-role.  He said it was a large-ish part but not to worry about it, because Jules is the narrator and I could carry around a script onstage. So I said okay I would do it. And then he told me oh by the way, I would have a song to sing and I would have to sing with the chorus on other songs. Yikes!

Burt and I figured out that the last time the two of us were in a play was 45 years ago.  The last time I had to sing on a stage was also 45 years ago. But I swallowed hard and said okay. As long as I didn't have to do it again for another 45 years.

So I spent the next two weeks practicing with and listening to wonderful singers and actors singing wonderful music.  The music was written by a fellow named Jon, who unfortunately couldn't make it to the performance. You see Jon, besides being a brilliant composer and font of Broadway musical knowledge, has another job as well; he's a rocket scientist. Yes, you read that right,  a rocket scientist. On the night of the performance unfortunately he was in Washington DC launching a satellite into space and so couldn't attend the play.

Briefly, the play is about Albert EInstein and a fellow physicist, Paul Ehrenfest, in the period between the two World Wars.  It follows and contrasts  both their conflicting scientific lives as well as their chaotic family lives. It's treated in a very light, humorous, popular Broadway musical vein, and unlike some recent musicals you can come out of the theater humming the score.

Now, here's one more ridiculous thing--Burt somehow got in touch with Mr. S, the high school drama teacher of both Burt and myself 45 years ago, and Mr. S. promised to attend!

So, two weeks of intensive rehearsal, being very intimidated by these professional singers, then the night of the performance. The play went great.  We had a sell-out crowd of 100 people who were a little reticent during the first act, but by the second act they were right with us and gave us a very good reception at the end. I even hit most of my notes.

I was happy with my performance given the short rehearsal period. My high school drama teacher, Mr. S, looked very well at age 76, and had nice things to say. He had become the principal of a local public high school in the intervening years, and has been retired for the last 12 years.  I got to drive him home from Patchogue back to his apartment in Brooklyn. I managed to freak him out, however, by remembering the name of his cat from 45 years ago--Ftatateeta.

I was glad also that I got to tell him that he had impacted the life of at least this one person...
arthur stead
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Nice one, Landmark! Thanks for sharing. It's amazing how life's "coincidences" can come full circle after so many years.
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slowkneenuh
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Folks, some time has elapsed since the last posting on this interesting thread. Possibly enough time for new folks to join in or the previous contributors to have recollected some more stories. In any case, let me start with a more recent story.

It's probably a traveler's worst nightmare... Last September I was fortunate to be able to go on a Mediterranean Cruise. It was an extended cruise with many, but brief, stops. Among the many stops was the opportunity to visit the Acropolis in Athens. Because time was very limited and some unrest in Athens, we (my lady friend and I) decided to participate in the ship sponsored tour. As with all the stops, the cruise line kept telling us to limit the cash we brought with us and be aware of possible pickpockets who were very prevalent in the popular tourist areas.

So, with a meager amount of cash and the serenity of knowing we were on an organized tour sponsored by our ship, I had the luxury of thinking "What possibly could go wrong now?" and then dismissing the thought.

After what seemed like a lengthy journey from the ship to the site we arrived and were met by the local guide who unknown to us would be taking over the tour at the Acropolis from the ship's guide. Apparently the ship's staff serves as a go between (gets the money) between the tourists and local agents. It didn't take me long to realize that this had a high possibility of not turning out well. For starters, the crowd was so dense that you could barely move and you had to go with the flow of people. In addition, any attempt at staying together as a group was soon dismissed because of the chaos by so many other visitors. To top it all off, our guide was a speed walker. With a considerable struggle we managed to stay in touch, mostly, until when it was time to leave.

It seemed like everyone at the site had to leave at the same time! Part of the path to the Acropolis was steep, slippery and narrow enough for only one person at a time. So before we got to the path that led to our vehicle, we became separated from our group. However, I vaguely recollected that when we arrived she gave us instructions on where to go to get the bus. Unfortunately, because of the crowd, it was not to be the typical location for buses. But not to fear, "follow the path down and eventually you will get to the street for the bus". So our concern was minor at the moment but rapidly increasing with my companion. Our anxiety jumped considerably when we started down the path (long separated from our group) and came to a junction that required a left or right decision. So now getting to the bus immediately became a 50-50 proposition. It appeared that most folks were taking the path to the left, so we followed. What became more puzzling, as we continued down the path, there were less and less people but we were committed as we didn't have enough time to retrace our steps and start over again. Finally, we saw the path ending in the distance, and a good thing too, because it was time for our group to be at the bus.

Can you imagine our disappointment when we arrived at street level in the middle of a neighborhood we didn't recognize and it had no association with the major tourist attraction in the area. Well how far from the bus can we be? Yes we should have been there by now but they will surely wait a few minutes extra for us. Let's just continue down the street. Oh, did I tell you that no one we encountered spoke a word of English to give us directions.

To be continued.....
John

"A poor workman always blames his tools"
Daryl -the other brother
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Sounds like a great cruise John. I've been on a few but never to Athens. I can imagine that sinking feeling when you saw the bus was not there.
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The Greek Islands was the very first cruise my wife and I ever took, way back in 1983. It was on one of the Greek cruise lines, a ship called The City of Mykenos. El Cheapo! The cruise was great, the ship less than so. But we were too youg and inexperienced at the time to know the difference. We've done a lot of cruises since then to some very exotic places, but that Greek cruise is still up at the top. The Parthenon at the top is worth the climb from the Acropolis! And I was a youngster back then! It's something, isn't it John? Did you get the see the place where Socrates took the hemlock? Did you get to do the tour at Delphi, home of the Oracle?

I love Greece. They say you can never go back, but Greece is one of those places I would go back to. Eager to hear the rest of your story John! There has to be some Retsina and Ouzo there as well!
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

My neighbor rang my doorbell at 2:30 a.m. this morning, can you believe that, 2:30 a.m.!? Lucky for him I was still up playing my drums.
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I'll jump in but before I start I have to inform each and everyone of you whom posted how much I've enjoyed the stories! I had been away from the Café for a while (until last month) and so had missed this interesting thread when it originated. I'm so glad it was restarted as I would have missed a gem!! It's like reading a novel which you can't put down.

Here's my story which is strange, but true, and somewhat humorous (or so I think) which happened six months before 9/11 before air travel changed forever. My story involved how I got on an airplane, travelled out of country (Canada to the US) with no ID, no passport and no tickets or boarding pass. Here's how the story unfolded.

I had purchased tickets to a magic convention, the hotel was pre-paid, and the airline tickets were paid for. I had managed to take some time off from a very busy schedule. I really really needed this vacation and my mom had offered to loan me the money to take a trip. About a year before this happened my b/f and I had broken up and I had taken over our house payments and eventually bought him of his share out so had been working up to four jobs to make that happen.

The night before I was supposed to leave I did a quick trip to the grocery store and discovered my debit card didn't work. I tried my cc and that didn't work either. Concerned, I returned home and realized that the new purse I had purchased had a magnetic clasp which caused all my cards to be demagnetized and therefore inactive. Oh No! The next morning before I was to leave I made a quick trip to the bank to get a new debit card (there was not enough time to get a credit card) and a new purse and I raced home with mins to spare before leaving for the airport.

I was at the check in counter at the airport and was asked the nature of my trip which I told the agent and then "ID please" I open up my purse and realize to my horror I had grabbed the wrong purse -the one with the magnetic clasp which I had emptied. I had nothing! No ID! Not even a Drivers Licence or my passport and not even a debit card. I probably looked like I was going to cry which I was trying not to as I knew my mom had worked hard to loan me the money for this last minute decision trip. Before anyone thinks I was a total idiot (which I was that time), I was also a seasoned traveller starting at age 17 when I visited London by myself, having an adventurous spirit, I used to work at several jobs and save my money for trips all over the world. In all, I had been to 27 countries so it wasn't like I didn't have experience travelling...but back to the story.

The agent asked me to step aside and go through my suitcase while everyone else passed me in the lineup. I was pulling stuff out but knew it was no use I had left my wallet and passport on my kitchen table. I could tell the agent was sympathetic as by now there was no one left in the lineup and I was the last one. He asked, "don't you have anything with your picture on it?". Dejectedly, I held up my Magic Rings newsletter which had a teeny photo of me with my name listed underneath. "I only have this", I said," but this is me". He glances at the tiny black and white photo and surprisingly said, "Okay, I'll let you go but you may get held up by customs - good luck." He also told me to run as everyone else had already boarded the plane but they'd hold it for me.

I ran in my high heels (relying on my long distance racing I hadn't done since high school) Someone down the long hallway said
"Quick! Thrown your bag down this shoot, you've only got about a min ...and so I ran even faster.

I was thrilled to reach the door huffing and puffing and the the flight attendant said "Ticket please". Crap! (I actually said a stronger word) I realized the suitcase I had thrown down the shoot contained my tickets in the side pocket. I don't exactly remember what I said and I don't really understand how 1) I could have been so stupid that day 2) I must have looked so lost? trust worthy? honest? sad? or ? that everyone felt sorry for me? Whatever it was - the flight attendant and I believe it was either the pilot of first officer next to her told me to "Get on".

Yes, that actually happened and I now can't believe that I was allowed to do that. Thankfully, I met friends at the convention who bought me meals or else I would have been too embarrassed to ask anyone to loan me money. I even snuck into one of the shows which you needed to pay extra - egads I'm admitting that I once did something criminal and hope I'm forgiven as normally I'm very honest but I had come too far to miss seeing all the headliners on that last night.

I had a really hard time getting back into Canada as I now had to take two planes home as I had a layover in Phoenix ,again no ID of any sort but at least I had my tickets. So twice I was questioned and as I was a Canadian citizen trying to get back home I was allowed on the planes. Funnier still, I was questioned for 2 hrs by Canadian immigration as the first question - passport? (which I didn't have) then was where I was born (It wasn't Canada) so I had to go for an interview but was able to successfully convince them that I lived there and was allowed to enter. In total, I was allowed on three planes with no form of ID except for that tiny b/w photo of me in my magic newsletter as proof of who I was.

Six months after 9/11, I was offered a job in N/Y and by then the world had changed and the security was unbelievable that what had happened six months prior would never be allowed to happen again.

Anyhow, I hope those who are reading this had a chuckle at my expense.
landmark
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Great story Crystal! Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Welcome to Speakers' Corner Chrystal. I really enjoyed your story. As you mentioned, in this day and age traveling as you did will never happen again. On several occasions of international travel, I was able to be in the cockpit during take-offs and landings by merely asking. I was only refused once (the times that it worked was probably because I was in business or first class). Today if I asked, an air marshal would handcuff me and the pilot would probably land the aircraft immediately to have me escorted off.

Please don't hesitate to share more of your stories.

John
John

"A poor workman always blames his tools"
Chrystal
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Thanks very much Slowkneenuh. I've loved hearing about other members experiences and view a glimpse of their lives that I knew nothing about.

I'll share another one of my stories which still causes me to chuckle even now. I'm sure the former police chief won't forget me either.

Most of my memorable stories revolves around various jobs I've had. I've always had a at least 2 jobs since my teens and this time was no exception as I was putting myself through university and lucked out getting hired on a student grant. I was a Criminology student and the Solicitor Generals office offered a one year grant in which 3 students were hired to do research in the Criminal Justice system. I was one of the 3 chosen.

The grant involved working at each place one day per week - The Remand Center, The Court House and the Police Department. My favorite was the Police Dept as it involved riding around the cars with a police officer. I was supposed to be there as an observer and not allowed to get involved with any incident. As time went on ,however, and I was allowed more responsibility and was allowed more freedom in the Police Station. Eventually, I was given a small desk in the Community Relations Dept just outside the Police Chiefs office. He was a nice man who allowed us (the students) to sit in on Crime Prevention Programs and often asked us our opinions probably because we were young and he wanted to get our perspective. His step son was one of the other students hired on the grant.

Life for me was very busy at the time, as not only was I working at those three places above but I also worked p/t at a Pre-school and was taking a full course load at school. When I ran into people who appeared to know me I had a hard time placing them. Did I know them from University? Pre-school parent? Someone from lockup whom I handed out a legal aid application? A victim of crime or perhaps an offender? A police officer I never wanted to ask (in case I was wrong) so I just chatted away and as a result I knew a lot of people but for the life of me couldn't remember where I knew them from. Truthfully, it never mattered to me as I liked chatting with a variety of people. It also helped me on the job when I had to interview people from all walks of life.

At the end of the year I was surprised when we were presented with these beautiful certificates with our names embossed in silver signed by the Police Chief and the Mayor for our outstanding work we had done. Whooo Hoooo!

So after my long winded story this isn't the reason the police chief has never forgotten me this is why.....
I was thrilled to get that certificate as it would look great on my resume.

I remember when the chiefs step son told me the previous year that his dad loved salmon - his favorite food. As I had friends that were fisherman I got the biggest salmon to present to him as a way of thank you. It had been frozen right after being caught.

I arrived at the police station with the salmon wrapped up and went up to the Community Relations area. It was late and no one was there except the janitor. I explained I had something for the chief and was allowed to leave it on his desk with a note I simply said , I hope you enjoy this. I didn't sign my name. I figured the fish would be okay as it was frozen solid until he arrived the next day. I also didn't realize that that janitor was also going on holidays.

A few weeks later, I stopped in for a visit and noticed the rooms have been painted. I was told some nasty person left a rotten smelly fish on the Chiefs desk. Whazzat????? It was me and it was a gift!, I told the fellows on the floor. OMG! Don't tell him it was you, I was told.

Apparently, the Chief went on holidays for 2 wks and his office was locked for the duration.....well you can guess what happened next....the fish spoiled until the smell permeated throughout the entire floor! As a result, the place had to be painted.

I leave the rest for another day as I've written a lot already.....
landmark
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LOL! You woke me up with a good laugh!
Daryl -the other brother
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That's a good one! I thought he was going to think it was a message from the Mafia! Smile
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Glad you enjoyed the story Landmark and Daryl.

I gave it away when I said the police chief would never forget me but I'll continue that story at a later date.

Anyone else want to share one of theirs?
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Hi Chrystal,

Thanks for reviving the Speaker’s Corner! Loved your stories! I’ve really missed reading about everyone’s fascinating true-life adventures. Your story about traveling without a passport reminded me of an experience I had in 1983:

I was on a European tour with Public Image Limited. We spent the first two weeks flying to each major European city to do live TV promo appearances. And after that, we boarded a tour bus to begin the tour proper, performing in many more cities within each country.

During the first leg, we flew from London to Schiphol airport in Holland. This July will mark my 20th year clean and sober. But in those days, my life-style was a lot looser ....

So on that day, I was really drunk when going through customs. And try as I might, I simply could not find my passport! I was holding up our flight to Paris, checking every pocket and digging through my carry-on luggage. I remember all the other passengers had already boarded, and I was sitting on the floor, totally out of it, sorting through piles of dirty laundry. But no luck. Finally, the customs agents had had enough, and waved me through! They actually let me board and fly without a passport!

Now wait till you hear this: After all our TV appearances, we flew back to Holland, where we were to pick up our tour bus from a company in Amsterdam. But when I disembarked in Schiphol airport, they wouldn’t let me in! Even though, this time, I HAD my passport. The trouble, they explained, was that as a South African, I was forbidden to enter the country! No amount of reasoning or arguing could sway the officials. They made me feel like I, personally, was to blame for the apartheid system! (Even though the Dutch themselves started it, way back in the 1600’s).

End of story is that they made me fly to Brussels in Belgium, and I had to meet the rest of the band there to join the tour bus. I can tell you that, shortly after this (and a few other unpleasant experiences in Germany and South America due to my South African passport), I applied for, and was eventually granted American citizenship. Hallelujah!
Arthur Stead
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Another nice story Chrystal! I bet folks who deliberately plan a prank like that have less success than you did doing it innocently. Smile

Arthur, I am hoping citizenship in "our land of the free and home of the brave" had something more to offer you than easier customs clearance. Smile It's good to hear another story from you.
John

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Great story Arthur and thanks for sharing it. Congrats on your 20 yr anniversary as well!

I'll continue with the "Fishy story" of how I refer to it.

Well I didn't listen to the fellows in the office to not to fess up it was me...kinda ironic doncha think? I felt so awful about what happened I did go see the Chief and tell him it was me. He listened without much comment and then broke into laughter. All was forgiven!

About a year or two later, I was asked out on a date to a fancy affair being held at a hotel. It was some kind of award ceremony and most businesses purchased tables for their employees who were allowed to bring a guest. The fellow who invited me, I suspect was trying to impress me as it was a black tie event. As a poor student living on student loans at the time, I rarely got to go to these types of events. We sat with his boss, his co-workers and their spouses.

After dinner the ceremonies started and they introduce the guest of honor/key note speaker who will present the awards. OMG! It was the Chief! As he steps up to the podium I realize he has seen me with my date and except for a slight smile he didn't appear to acknowledge that he knew me.

His speech was inspirational and as he was closing he started talking about trust and honesty in business. He then pauses and said he's going to switch gears for a moment and tells them the "Fish Story". The room breaks out into howls of laughter and I can feel my face getting redder and redder. I wanted to crawl under the table and prayed he wouldn't point to me and say, "that's who is responsible!". When the laughter subsides he ask the room, "Now would you admit that you did this?" I can hear a few people in the room out of the 500 say, "Nope", Uh huh , Nada....." My date even , leans over to me and says , "No way would I admit it was me". I gulp my wine and smile feebly. I feel I know what's coming...I'm sure I'm going to be outed in this room of people. Egads, people have nightmares like this!

Instead, he continues and says, "I'm not so sure I would have either", but this young lady came to me and admitted that she did it. "Now I respected her for her honesty and there's a lesson there." He continued to speak about honesty even if no one is looking over your shoulder to see what you did...but I didn't hear the rest. I let out a big sigh and was glowing.

The awards were presented after his speech ....Ha! Most of the awards centered around Ethics in Business.

After the ceremonies were over the Chief came by to say hello and I introduced him to my date. My date was impressed as he said afterwards, "Wow! you know the Chief! Where'd you know him from?"
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Beautiful story about a beautiful woman.
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