I think Mark Twain said it best, when he said, “Of the demonstrably wise there are but two: those who commit suicide & those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied with drink.”
While no one will argue how important our collective futures are, but don’t make the mistake of ignoring the past. Artists such as David Middlebrook, Paul Soldner, Peter Voulkos, Robert Arneson, and Marilyn Levine have previously trodden the soil being plowed by today’s ceramic artists! Those before us offer valuable lessons we can glom onto. Mistakes, insights, successes, and yes even the occasional knee to the groin has already been made available for advancement; or not.
The problem is we never believe anything in the past is relevant in today’s high tech multi-tasking existence. For most of my peers at the Dry Ice Factory Studios as well as the curmudgeons at the bar, multi-tasking is ordering another beer while maintaining eye contact with our busty bartender! This is truly sad albeit tougher than you think.
Our annual Christmas party is coming up in a couple of weeks. I always look forward to this event and have attended all but one in my last 25 rotations. These drunken affairs always offer a chance to witness a dichotomy of epic proportions. On one hand most celebrate with gusto but within the expected civil behavior and Christmas spirit. On the other, yes as the two or three of you still reading this penetrailia has already surmised….those that commit professional suicide!
I love most of these people, and maintain a close affiliation with these my friends. It is a festive occasion and almost never disappointed. I cut my teeth on office party etiquette and learned the do’s and don’ts of alcohol and its potential for ending one’s career. Over the many years I’ve known these fornicators I’d like to think I’ve influenced most of them in a positive way, yet I’m perplexed at how easily they throw it all away within the context of celebration. Let me discuss some of the more egregious examples:
Mr. Groggins is near my age and should know better. Last year when the boss’s wife approached him obviously drunk and wanting to dance, he should have bolted. Instead he led her to the dance floor where she dry-humped him shamelessly! Everyone was laughing and thought it funny because after all its harmless fun, right? Wrong! While everyone was watching the lewd behavior on the dance floor I was watching the look on the boss’s face, and he was not amused. This seemingly innocuous act of fun severely affected his career, not to mention getting his legs broken. Not surprising he resigned a week later.
A couple of years ago I was two hours into the open bar drinking with my protégé grooming him to be my replacement. Less than an hour later he committed professional suicide! Palmert ignored the buffet and began pounding shots on an empty stomach, thereby heightening alcohols unimpeded path to the bloodstream.
At times like these, one’s sense of equilibrium and judgment are at best “iffy.” I can’t say for certain, but I think it was soon after the sixth round of “Car Bombs” that Palmert thought snorkeling in the egg-nog bowl would be funny. It was definitely funny; right up until ‘911’ had to be called to revive him after vomiting into the bowl subsequently choking on a cube of ice. Struggling for air he fell onto the floor spilling five gallons of nog onto the carpet. Palmert was gone in a month!
The most scandalous act embarrassing us all was performed by Vinny who’s been like a son to me. I’ve imparted nearly every sales trick in the book to him and have had the pleasure of watching him blossom and rise to the top echelon of his craft. Staggering and slurring his speech badly, Vinny began to literally press the flesh. He gasconaded loudly so all could hear that his ‘johnson’ was bigger and thicker than every other man in the house! To prove his point he was not shy about whipping it out and model to all the married women for comparison. Jeez!
This of course brought the house down. Amongst the giggles and some admiring complements, he’d lost track of what he was doing and meandered off mumbling something about finding a yardstick. Unfortunately, he had to urinate and didn’t think he had time to find the bathroom. So he got behind a potted plant, dropped trou, and relieved himself directly into the plastic pot. What he failed to recognize is his little faux pas was directly in front of the buffet. Security was called and he was escorted to the street where he promptly passed out next to the FedX drop box…‘Johnson’ still in hand.
Vinny always means well as most of us do, so in the following days of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and ‘Atheistic’ celebrations…..be sure to check your level of alcohol by asking a stranger if they think you’re drunk as your friends will lie to you.