Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Sling up yo' monkeys!

Classes start for my summer session in approximately fifteen hours, and as I am a professional and a dedicated professor, I spent many hours in preparation doing: nothing.

Perhaps I fear becoming too involved, that at any moment the other wing tip will drop and stomp me directly back to the glamorous and fashionable world of temping. At this time last year, I was working at an Authorized Businesspeople Convention, and although it had something or other to do with sports it was still officially sanctioned by the Corporatespeak Bullcrap Society of America, as evidenced by the workshop entitled “Thinking Outside the Box”—-8:15 AM Monday, top of the schedule. These people were not messing around. They had more clich├ęs thrown into their Powerpoint presentations by 9 AM than most people saw all day.

In all, the suckage factor on this assignment was fairly low, if you excused the $74.50 Twix in the vending machines, but because my highly specialized skills were so desperately needed in the T-shirt distribution booth, I was unable to attend such fascinating conference sessions as the following:

“In this workshop, we will discuss proper construction of group activities concerning rules, officiating, and full participation, which will allow fun to occur.”


Then there was this one: “Exercise Programming for the Deconditioned Population.” Working Title: “Getting Up and Sitting Down For the Terminally Fatassed.”

But this was my favorite-- “The Role of Recreation and Youth Sports in an Era of War and Terrorism: Recreation and youth sports are an important instrument for peace. In this session, you’ll learn how to implement strategies for promoting world peace into your organization and identify existing youth sports organizations that are including strategies for world peace in their programs.”

That’s really tremendous, because there’s not enough pressure on kids in sports already. “DAMMIT, BOBBY, THROW IT TO THIRD!! THE PALISTINIAN-ISRAELI PEACE ACCORDS DEPEND ON IT!”

I also served a tour in the registration booth, where I met Larry the Horrible. All Larry wanted out of life was to know if every person he had ever met in life was in attendance at the conference, none of whom, for obvious reasons, were.

“Is Amy Cassleton here? No? What about Tim Rosdower? Well, he was here last year. Reggie Hamlin? Not him either, huh? Is Bob here? I don’t remember his last name, but he was definitely at the August meeting, and he is a wizard. Can you just read off all the Bobs you have on the screen there? What about the guy who X-rayed my bags at the airport, has he checked in yet?”

I remember that attendance at the convention was off thirty percent from the previous year, 29.999999% of which, I think, was directly attributable to Larry. Terrorists, gas prices, and four hurricanes in six weeks? Were nothing compared to the repelling power of Larry.

My very favorite registration moment came from the World’s Most Prim Asian Woman, who signed in with an email address of “FoxyThunder28,” closely followed by hearing a guest yell down the line, “Hey, look at that guy’s monkey!” And--indeed--there was some guy wandering around the lobby, primate slung around his neck like a high-tea accessory. Because, come on, what’s an athletic business supply conference without your monkey in tow?

Off to play T-ball for the starving children in Ecuador at:

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