The Award for ‘Pathetic and Desperate’ Goes To…

Awards.  Recognition for achievement.  For goodness.  For professional and community accomplishments.  For being a “good animal”.

Awards Banquets.  Rubber chicken and peas.  Cash bars.  Enthusiasm for deserving friends and colleagues.  Casual adults awkwardly formalized for a special event.  

Last week, a friend was recognized with a prestigious organizational honor – Technical Fellow.  Wanting to cheer him on, i was happy to buy my ticket to show my enthusiastic support!  Despite the glitches getting out the door, i arrived on time.  Right at the start of the cocktail reception.  i’ve found it’s always best to drink a bit at these things…

Hoping to block a table for our cheering squad, i was surprised to find “assigned” seating.  Crap.  i went to my table – Lucky 16 – and tossed a napkin over the back of the seat to nail down the best seat, closest to the bar.  And proceeded to wander off, congratulate the winner and his family, and grab a drink…

The venue filled.  Tongues were loosened, backs were slapped, and festive gossip exchanged.  Time to sit down – and my first chance to meet my table mates for the evening.  Je-aysoos Ke-rist on a Podium!  On my right?  A annoying former colleague with his third wife.  His second wife was a pretty good friend, and i hadn’t realized they divorced.  Awkward.  On my left?  Our organizational corporate development officer (CDO), who was physically wrapped around her apparent date for the evening – the Operations Chief from Organization Y.

Looking over at the next table, i noticed my office folks – people i truly enjoy!  A Redneck PhD who is our division Tech Director.  Snarky, direct and big fun!  Oooh – an empty seat next to him!  On the other side of the vacant seat?  The Big Man!  PhD Physicist from Alabama – who is always a delight!  DOUBLE CRAP!  Too rude at this point for me to get up and move…

The formalities began, and it wasn’t until the invocation that i caught my tactical error.  During the prayer, while others had their heads bowed, i was staring blankly into space, humming a Joe Cocker tune, and thinking through my “to do” list for the next day*.  And noticed that i was at Table 17.  Furtive glance to my right… That empty seat?  An abandoned blue napkin was perched on the back.  It was mine.  DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!  Stuck… Trapped, like a politician in an airport toilet stall…

The meal might have been pleasant.  Colleague to my right was fine – we talked about past projects, his new wife seemed bright and engaging.  To my left?  Ms. CDO was incessantly groping her date – a tall ‘suit’, who couldn’t be a bigger professional zero if he were made of cellophane.  Ms. CDO?  Divorced mother of several.  Doesn’t just sweat desperation – it comes from every orifice, Ebola-like. 

We had one brief conversation about a year ago – regarding being single and mid-40’s.  i mentioned that i was having a good time dating many gentlemen and doing my own thing.  She wanted to meet for lunch – because she was having a hard time meeting men.  Tempting to tell her to stop bringing her living room furniture along on the second date and perhaps things would go a bit better…  Somehow never managed to get that lunch on my calendar…

Mid-way through dinner, i was compelled to send an e-mail to my friend, the goose-slayer.  “I paid $33 to watch CDO eat dinner with her arm wrapped around the thigh of your counterpart in Organization Y”.  His reply: “Ha!  I got that for free at a formal dinner last week”.


* i’ve already conceded eternity in hell.  why fake it?


15 thoughts on “The Award for ‘Pathetic and Desperate’ Goes To…

  1. Don’t they have anti-fraternization clauses in your contracts? I assume that Organization Y competes with yours for something. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Desperation makes strange bedfellows.

  2. Ah, mid-aged women and “desperation”, a touchy topic that I try not to go near anymore after a few cyber-faux pas’s. No one likes to admit to wanting to be with someone after they reach a certain age. They parrot the party line that being single is just fine and dandy and proof of their place on Maslow’s pyramid.

  3. We have our annual awards banquet next Friday and yours truly will be reviving his role as Master of Ceremonies. I’ll try to have some enlightening stories for you next week.

  4. there couldn’t have been enough alcohol to dull that pain… hope you’ve recovered sufficiently.

    hmmm… what would’ve happened if you started fondling his other knee?

    (does anyone hear screaming?)

  5. silverstar – as long as there’s no impact on supervisor/employee relationship, then it’s fair game. there is also nothing in the rules about being gross at a formal dinner, unfortunately…

    tNb – unfortunately, no. but i made friends with the bartender early, and my drinks weren’t the least bit watered down!

    dolce – oooh, yeah! i’ll be the one in the glitter horns and matching cloven hooves…

    Bb – yeah. i kinda deserved that sort of punishment. but the tables – they looked EXACTLY alike! Round, white cloth, blue napkins, same centerpieces….

    unbearable banishment – it was more like a freak show than a show. believe me, i’m not a prude. have been known to engage in my own “undertable expeditions” on occasion… but there was NOTHING covert about the crotch grabbing…

    rob – no, but clearly not getting enough sleep is a factor!

    annie – i dunno. i’m pretty happy… not sure it’s the right answer for anyone else, but i’d much rather sleep with a dog than settle for something just for companionship.

    umdalum – wear a tuxedo jacket and a black satin banana hammock. you won’t have to tell a single joke! the audience will be yours from “hello”…

    gnu – they simply don’t pay me enough to play with Mr. Cellophane’s body parts… and i suspect that Ms. CDO would have stabbed me with a fork had i come anywhere near him…

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