My Business Outfit is Missing a LITTLE Something…

Funny - Slipping Stockings
So then…I pop open my suitcase to pull out my special outfit for the big client presentation on my four-day whirlwind trip to Hong Kong. I need to look my most professional for our clients and the executives at the Shenzhen manufacturing plant this morning.

I’ve brought a special black silk suit — and yes, even pearls and high heels. But when I open the brand new package of pantyhose, I discover that it actually contains…stockings.

You know, stockings. The kind that are just individual casings for the legs, that are supposed to clip into the special garter belt you wear around your waist. Only I didn’t bring a special garter belt. Because I don’t own one.

I only wear pantyhose. You know, the kind with legs connected into a nifty little casing for your butt and waist that you just pull up — and everything stays in place like it’s supposed to? Only I didn’t buy pantyhose. I bought stockings by mistake!

OK, no need to panic. I’m an intelligent woman. I’m staying in a sophisticated metropolis.

Surely I can solve this problem before meeting the client downstairs at 7:00 a.m.

I call the hotel operator. She says, “So sorry. Hotel gift shop not open until 9:00 a.m.”

I rifle through my suitcase. Two pairs of blue jeans. I had sent the business casual pants to the hotel dry cleaners yesterday.

I call the operator again. “So sorry. Hotel dry cleaner not open until 8:00 a.m.”

Back to the suitcase. Two pairs of black trouser socks that come mid-calf. I try on the black silk skirt, which comes mid-knee.

But maybe…if I can just pull down the skirt a bit…and stretch the socks up as far as they can go…and just sort of hunch through the day, maybe it will work. I look in the mirror. Uh…no.

OK, perhaps I’ll just wear the suit without pantyhose. How bad can that be? Yes, it’s January. Yes, it’s freezing. My legs are just a shade whiter than snow. And I haven’t shaved since Halloween. I look in the mirror. Uh…no.

OK, I know, I know! I can call my co-worker. He’s just down the hall. Perhaps he has some pantyhose. Maybe his wife accidentally packed some for him. Or maybe he just travels with pantyhose for his own personal reasons. Who am I to judge? (I decide it’s better not to know.)

Back to the suitcase. I pull on the stockings. They actually look great. I walk around the room. With each step, they slide down my thighs, closer to my ankles. If only I had something to keep them up. I rummage through the hotel bathroom amenities. Qtips, cotton, shower cap, mini nail file. Where’s MacGyver when you need him?

So that gives me a great idea. I call the front desk and ask if they happen to have pantyhose available for forgetful guests. “Pardon me?” she says.

“You know, like when guests forget toothpaste or hair dryers or whatnot, and you provide it for free? Well, I need pantyhose. Does the hotel provide complimentary pantyhose?”

“So sorry. We do not offer this to guests,” she replies.

“Oh. Um…well, do YOU have any pantyhose I could borrow? Or even a garter belt? Black would be best, but at this point, I’m pretty desper—”

Click.

OK, no problem. I can handle this. My eyes dart around the room frantically, looking for some device to keep the stockings safely mid-thigh. I see the desk, which gives me a brilliant idea.

I zip downstairs to the 24-hour hotel business center. Luckily, it’s deserted. I make a beeline for the complimentary office supplies and rummage through paperclips (too short to hook to my panties), glue (too messy), and staples (too painful).

Aha! Scotch Tape!
This Business Outfit Scotch Tape
I hike up my skirt as discreetly as possible and wrap the tape around the top of the stocking and my right thigh several times. I walk around. It seems to hold pretty well. I strap the other stocking to my left leg with layers of tape and I’m good to go. Excellent!

I sit through most of the journey to the factory in the Chinese countryside, so all is well. I alternate between smiling at my little secret – and worrying that it might be discovered. But I’m determined to be professional regardless.

As we tour the factory, I’m surrounded by the manufacturer’s executives (all men) as well as my client’s team (also all men). As I walk, I hear little crinkly noises as the layers of tape on each thigh rub against each other. I glance around to see if anyone else notices. My key buyer has a furrowed brow – but is that because he’s examining the factory’s material testing process – or because he’s thinking “What the hell’s going on under Darcy’s skirt?”

As we progress through the factory, I can feel the tape losing the adhesive battle. It makes a valiant effort, but it can only withstand gravitational forces for so long.

The stockings start to slide. I start to panic. I can’t even imagine the shock on my colleagues’ faces if my stockings and wads of tape suddenly drop to my ankles. I’d be mortified.

I quickly excuse myself to the ladies room, just as the left stocking stutters to a halt at knee level. I rip off the stockings and limp tape, stashing them in the trash can.

When I rejoin the group, the men practically have to shield their eyes from the bright white of my pale legs. No one mentions the missing stockings. I pretend to be calm and confident as my white bare limbs blind passersby.

To be candid, I’m mightily disappointed in the product quality of Scotch Tape. As I hobble through the rest of the tour, I consider sending them a strongly-worded complaint about their inferior adhesiveness in relation to the human thigh on a typical Chinese winter day.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Ever forget a crucial item on a business trip or vacation? Any wardrobe malfunctions or clever fixes? Share in the Comments Section!)

This Business Outfit P

GOLDEN SIDEBOOB AWARD
Meanwhile, funny Mike Regione from Joe Floggers sent me the Golden Sideboob Award, which was created by awesome Lizzi Rogers at Considerings as a crazy award for people brazen enough to post the award to their blog!

The Golden Sideboob

Of course, when you brag to your friends about receiving this award — instead of applauding, they’ll look befuddled and say, “Who sent you a Golden What?” Winners get to nominate the next winner — someone funny, bold, and brazen enough to post it, so I award the Golden Sideboob to Liesl Testwuide at Hairpin Turns Ahead. Congrats, Liesl! Add THIS beauty to your resume! — Darcy Perdu

GOLDEN SIDEBOOB AWARD
More good news! Funny Fran Fischer from Fishducky, Finally! also bestowed an award that my blog is Fish Ducky approved!  She says it’s almost as good as a Nobel Prize for Literature!  I’ll take it!  Thanks, Fran!
Fishducky

Attempting to Save Face at this Business Lunch — But Ready to Stab Sheila with a Fork!

Trying to Save Face at this Business Lunch -- But ready to stab Sheila with a Fork!  Honestly, Sheila!  #funny #office #car #humor

So then…he asks me a question and 10 eyeballs stare straight at me – all 5 executives wait intently for my answer.

Now normally, I LOVE to be the center of attention! I’m happy to chitter-chatter away, non-stop, on all manner of topics.

But this is a BUSINESS lunch meeting – and Dan’s question is FINANCIAL – and I have NO BUSINESS answering a FINANCIAL question.

Oh, I got me some skills, yo – but Finance is not in my jurisdiction – (it’s not even in my solar system). And half the words he USED in his question aren’t even in my VOCABULARY.

But I’m the only one representing my company at the meeting and we’d really like to do business with this group, so I take a stab at answering.

Initially, my long-winded response elicits a furrowed brow of confusion from one of the women executives (come on, Sheila, give a sister a break!) – but then I toss in some buzz words and a couple insightful points, and everyone seems to nod in agreement.

I breathe an internal sigh of relief, spear a morsel of salmon, and secretly congratulate myself on my delicate menu choice. I’ve suffered enough disastrous business lunches to know NEVER to order
* the Goopy Sauce-Spewing Pasta
* the Crunchy Noisy-as-a-Wood-Chipper Salad
* the Mouth-Full-O’-Sandwich Conversation Blocker — or
* the Bean Burrito (no explanation required).

I’m even wearing my fancy work outfit today – the one that needs to be DRY CLEANED. That’s right, no washable poly-cotton blend for these execs – I’m rockin’ the DRY CLEAN ONLY blouse. Yes, I said it – BLOUSE, people. That’s how corporate I am today!

So the dialogue continues – I ask some intelligent questions – I nod thoughtfully at their answers – I appear professional, competent, and even – dare I say it – sophisticated. I’m making a great first impression!

Just then, the server comes over and asks, “Does anyone here own a blue car parked out front?”

I do.

I own a blue car parked out front.

“Um, why do you ask?” I say.

He says, “Someone just came in to report that the car is running and all the doors are unlocked.

***

So I mumble, “berjurmertalabrim,” bolt out of my seat, and dash to the parking area –

and sure enough, there is my car with engine running and doors unlocked – where it has been for a solid 30 minutes.

The electronic key is in the cup holder.

I must have forgotten to press the engine stop button.
And grab my key.
And lock my doors.

So now, I have to go back into the restaurant.

Or DO I?

What if I just drove away right now and never returned?

Would they finish my salmon and talk about that weird girl who disappeared so mysteriously?

Or do I return to the restaurant and…

1) Pretend that it was NOT my car:

“What? Huh? Nope. Not my car. I don’t even OWN a car. I WALKED here.”

Or

2) Just admit that I’m a doofus:

“I don’t even possess basic common sense to turn off a car, but you should totally trust your BUSINESS to me.”

(And by the way, who’s the guy who reported this occurrence to the restaurant in the first place — thereby causing my embarrassment!?)

(Oh, YOU may call him a Good Samaritan. I call him a Big Fat Tattle Tale!)

So I slink back into the restaurant and take my seat as Dan says, “Was it your car? What happened?”

I pick up my fork and say nonchalantly, “Oh, I like to keep the engine running and the doors unlocked to make it more convenient for car thieves. I’m a giver like that.”

They laugh.

Sheila says, “Oh my! So your car’s been running THIS WHOLE TIME?

Oh, shut up, Sheila! Mind your own beeswax! (I say in my head)

“Yep,” I say blithely. “Hey, if they’re not gonna recognize an easy score when they see it, they really don’t deserve to steal my car. Don’t you agree? So Dan – tell me more about your plans for next quarter.”

— Darcy Perdu

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Oh, Wait — So You ARE the Boss of Me?

Funny - Darcy ConfusedSo then…my boss says those four words that signal I have officially arrived in The Corporate World — even though I am only 23 years old: “You can hire staff.” I’m so excited! I’ve spent my whole life hustling for jobs and taking on more and more responsibility and work – and now I get to hire someone to help ME!

Now granted, “staff” implies multiple employees and my boss means just the one. And that employee will help me AND the whole department. And that employee will actually be a college student summer internBUT STILL! My very own staff!

I myself have just graduated college last year and already I get to hire someone! I’m ecstatic! I’m so overwhelmed with my workload, often working evenings, so I can’t wait to… (shudder of anticipatory delight) … to DELEGATE.

So HR sends me some resumes of outstanding college sophomores and juniors looking for great internships to beef up their resumes. I’m fairly certain the kids (yes, I can call them “kids” now – I AM 23, for Pete’s sake) will consider this summer internship a plum assignment since we are a Fortune 500 company located on Park Avenue in New York City – AND our internships are paid!

I begin the interviews with confidence that the kids will be tripping over themselves to snag this job.

College Junior Tom’s interview is going very well – good grades, great referrals — then he tells me, “I can write stuff and work on projects, but I don’t want to copy things – or run errands – or be, you know, a ‘gopher.’”

Huh? I furrow my brow at Tom.

I quickly explain to him, “But you DO know that in Latin, intern means ‘gopher,’ right? That’s why we hire interns – to do all the work we don’t want to do. If it was fun, interesting, challenging work, we’d do it ourselves.”

Huh? Now Tom furrows his brow at me.

So then, I interview College Sophomore Clara. And I love her! She’s outgoing, perky, and seems very competent. Clara seems like the kind of can-do gal who can do!

I like her so much, I throw her a softball question: “What’s your greatest strength?”

I figure her answer will be something like “I learn fast, work hard, and I can write, research, plan events — whatever needs to be done!”

But instead she says, “I think my greatest strength is managing people.

Huh? I furrow my brow at Clara.

She’s applying to be an intern, for God’s sake. That’s the lowest head on the totem pole. In fact, it’s not even ON the totem pole. It’s a small head – like a shrunken head – NEXT to the totem pole, LOOKING at the totem pole thinking, “Oh, I hope one day I get to be ON that totem pole.”

But her greatest strength is managing people?

I say, “Um..OK. But how would you feel about taking a summer job where you manage NO ONE – but you are managed by EVERYONE?

Clara says very confidently, “Oh, that’s OK. When I joined the French Club at the beginning of the school year, I was just a member — but by the end of the school year, I was the President of the French Club!”

I pause and say soothingly as though talking to a mental patient with a tinfoil hat, “Um…OK, but you do realize that at the end of the summer internship, you probably won’t be the President of our company, right?”

Clara shrugs imperiously, as though to say, “Well, maybe not by the end of summer.”

I figure that the last thing I need is an intern who wants to boss me around – for God’s sake, I want to do the bossing!

So I interview a few more people — and I find Susan who turns out to be ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS – qualified, smart, hard-working, and with a great sense of humor. It’s a good thing too – I’m more likely to crack jokes than crack the whip anyway!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have you ever received some surprising answers from candidates during your interviews? Or have YOU given an odd response to a prospective employer that you wish you could have taken back? Any fun summer internship stories? Share in the Comments!)
Funny - Oh Wait - So You ARE the Boss of Me

I’m a Cat on a Hot Tin Roof — ON METH

Meth Cat Sketch
So then… the plane shudders and moans – and my stomach flops and churns.

I’m usually a pretty calm traveler –

but the plane makes a SUDDEN and SHOCKING DROP!

The passengers emit a collective gasp!

It’s the Tower of Terror times a million. And what’s worse is that the cockpit is strangely silent. No intercom announcements like “whoops, sorry about that folks — just spilled my latte in my lap, we’re back on course now.”

And no “Oh, so THAT’S what that button does.” Nothing. We fly in spooky silence.

And NOW, we can’t seem to land. Something about the excessive heat and winds in Nevada today make the plane SHAKE violently – along with a horrifying, THUNDEROUS noise.

So the pilot brings the plane back up.

He circles and tries to land again, but the same thing happens – deafening noise and visible signs that the plane is literally SHAKING like it’s about to SHATTER.

A third attempt fails.

By now, even the most stoic macho world-weary world travelers are sitting up, half leaning, craning to look out the window, asking “what’s happening?!” and “what the hell?!”

THE PLANE FEELS LIKE IT IS GOING TO SHAKE COMPLETELY APART!

People are literally shouting expletives — and some are practically hyperventilating.

I am numb with terror.

If people around me remain calm, I can hold it together. But when they start to freak out, I turn into a puddle of panic.

I silently grip the arm rests, eyes wide, heart hammering.

On the fourth attempt — plane shaking, skittering, dipping, pounding – and emitting an ear-piercing noise – we land!

And something amazing happens.

As soon as we’re grounded, everyone experiences a collective amnesia of the past 30 minutes.

It’s like it never happened.

People grab belongings out of the overhead bins, check cell phones for messages, stuff books into purses.

Their faces indicate that they’re already thinking about which rental car counter they need to visit, scheduling their son’s orthodontist appointment, paying the property taxes by Friday, and…life goes on.

I want to shout:

“OH MY GOD, CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED? WE ARE SO LUCKY TO BE ALIIIIIVE!”

But they’re just chatting on phones, filing out of the plane with all their briefcases, purses, and overnight bags in tow.

It’s like the selective amnesia you have after 12 hours of brutal child labor that makes you think, “Ah, that wasn’t so bad. Let’s get pregnant again!”

But after those four terrifying landing attempts, I do not forget.

No, I hold that fear like a cold dark claw in my chest, ready to rip my heart out at the slightest provocation – a flight…..a mention of a flight…..a paper airplane.

Once a laidback traveler, I am now like a cat on a hot tin roof – on meth.

A Meth Cat.

Take a high-strung cat.

And a strung-out meth-head.

Combine.

That is me.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any travel tales of terror? Share your survival stories in the Comments below. But ONLY survival tales please. If you are dead, do NOT write about the travel disaster that got you there. That will totally mess with my Meth Cat Mind right now, and I’m NOT havin’ it.)
Meth Cat Sketch P

They Do WHAT on Page Six?

They Do WHAT on Page ^?  (or why I almost threw her of the hotel roof!) #funny #romance #Harlequin #books #humor #generationgap

So then…I set up camp on a lounge chair on the glorious pool deck on the roof of my downtown hotel. We’re so high up, you can’t even hear the horns of the Chicago traffic below.

There’s only one other person lounging poolside – a sunbathing girl in her 20’s.

She gestures to the pool and skyline, and says, “Pretty great up here, huh?”

“Yeah,” I agree. “My business meeting ended early so I’m playing hooky to read at the pool for awhile.”

She asks what I’m reading, so I show her the cover of the suspense thriller. I nod in her direction, and she shows me the cover of her book.

“Harlequin Romance?” I ask excitedly. “Oh my God, I haven’t thought of those in years! My sister and I used to read those all the time!”

She sits up. “Really?”

Nostalgia floods me. “Oh, yeah, they’re awesome! There was this huge box of old Harlequins at this little tiny library near our house in Louisiana that would let you borrow six paperbacks at a time.  So we’d ride our bikes over there every week and borrow six Harlequins, read ‘em, and get six more the next week!”

She sips her soda and says, “Wow, you musta really liked them.”

“Yeah, we loved them. They were mostly by British authors so everything was ‘colour’ with an ‘our’ — or ‘realise’ with an ‘s’ instead of a ‘z.’ And the plots were always the same every single time.

“The same plots?” she asks.

“Well, like the same formula. You know – gorgeous sweet young virgin meets tall, dark, handsome man – usually 10 years older, very wealthy, and from a different country. They have to work together on some project in the English countryside – or she’s the governess or something.” I say, warming to my topic.

They Do WHAT on Page 6 H Sultan

I continue, “They hate each other and fight the whole book – and his snobby fiancé named Fiona or Penelope keeps popping up in the way of true love. But then toward the end something happens like –”

They Do WHAT on Page 6 H Beloved

I think a moment, then recall — “Oh! Like he sees her teaching orphans how to paint – or she sees him feeding blind puppies or something — so on the last page, they realize they love each other! He proposes, they kiss – and fade out to happily ever after! Fabulous!”

I smile with the rosy memory of those lazy summer afternoons lying around reading sappy romances.

“Oh,” she says, looking like a doctor with bad news about the operation.

“What? Have they changed?” I ask. “I haven’t read any Harlequins since I was a tween, so are they diff—“

“Well, first of all, the heroines aren’t virgins,” she says.

“What?”

“Oh, no, they’re having sex by page 6.”

“WHAT?”

They Do WHAT on Page 6 Bikini

“Oh, yeah,” she says. “And Harlequins cover everything these days – divorce, abortion, rape, domestic abuse, bondage, incest – you name it.”

Stunned silence.

“Seriously?” I ask in a very small voice.

“Oh, yeah, they’re great. Very hot and sexy.” She grins.

I hate her.

I hate her and her stupid Harlequin Romance. I want to throw them both in the pool.

How dare she sully such a lovely childhood memory!

Believe me, I love some hot debauchery as much as the next gal – but my sweet little innocent Harlequin Romances evolving into Jerry Springer-type tales?

Such a shame!

I resist the urge to catapult her and the offending tome off the top of the roof deck into the Chicago traffic below.

I smile and make a big show of settling down into my lounge chair to telegraph that I’m ready to read my book.

I self-righteously return to my suspense thriller — then realize that I’m only 40 pages in, and there have already been 3 vicious murders.

Ah – Who am I to judge? It’s not like either of us is reading War and Peace here.

I smile feebly in her direction and she gives me a big grin.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Anybody else out there remember the sweet comforting formulaic Harlequin Romances of yesteryear? Anyone reading the hot & steamy romances of today? Is it all Fifty Shades of Debauchery these days? Do tell. No seriously, DO tell – go slowly, be descriptive, what EXACTLY are they like now? Ha!)

My BIGGEST FEAR about Attending BlogHer…

My Biggest Fear About BlogHer
So then…panic grips me. It completely devours the excitement I’d been feeling about attending my first BlogHer conference with 5,000 other bloggers in Chicago later this week.

My BIGGEST FEAR about attending the conference reveals itself:

I’m not used to wearing a bra all day long.

At home, as soon as I get back from work, I pop off that constricting torture device and let the girls roam free in a stretchy comfortable camisole.

But at BlogHer, we’ll be going from workshops and sessions directly to dinners and parties.

Bras will probably be expected.

But right about 5:00 pm –

as I’m sitting in a sea of women all attentively focused on the pearls of wisdom dripping from the articulate mouths of the amazing BlogHer speakers –

I fear that my torso will begin to tingle –

my shoulders will begin to squirm –

and my lumps, my lumps, my lovely lady lumps, will yearn to be freed!

I will try to ignore them.

I will concentrate mightily on the speeches and readings and presentations.

But all the while, I’ll be distracted by my aching bosoms, longing to be unfettered.

After all, they’re accustomed to release — right about THIS time EVERY DAY.

I’ll itch. I’ll twitch. I’ll twist and turn.

My bra will compress more and more like a boa constrictor crushing its prey.

And I’m absolutely terrified that –

completely against my will –

my bra will spontaneously SNAP OFF and go flying through the air!

And my grateful breasts will sigh with exquisite relief as they plop into my lap where they belong.

And much like new mothers who uncontrollably begin lactating at the sound of someone else’s crying baby –

I fear that my 5,000 fellow female bloggers’ breasts will sense MY lady lumps’ liberty –

so THEIR bras will ALSO spontaneously SNAP off THEIR bodies and go flying through the conference room!

Snap! Boing! Blam! Ping! Whip! Pop!

Boobies will be bursting out EVERYWHERE!

A huge wild scene of cute breasts and bodacious ta-tas and funky tattoos and nipple rings waving free in the night:

RELEASE…THE…HOUNDS!

And the speaker on stage will see a kaleidoscope of thousands of black, red, white, purple, and pink constricting lingerie popping off the bodies of shocked and horrified women, who are absolutely humiliated that their formerly pert and perky boobies are now puddled on their dinner plates.

And everyone will look to me as the instigator –

either with revulsion

or wait, perhaps…

perhaps…

gratitude?

Will they grin with relief — and hail me as the Emancipator of the Bras That Bind?

Will they clap and cheer, letting their boobies breathe the sweet cool air of the unencumbered?

Will we break out the body paint and GO WILD like the women in my BOOBALICIOUS & HILARIOUS post?

No one knows for sure. But synchronize your watches for 5:00 pm Central Standard Time the first night of the conference – and let the games begin!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do YOUR boobs begin to strain and push against your constricting bra at the end of the day too? Don’t you hate TIGHT things? I used to tell people the first thing I did when I got home from work was to take off my bra and my wedding ring. Then someone asked, “Your bra and your wedding ring? Whose home are you going to!?” If you’re attending BlogHer (or any type of conference) soon — what’s YOUR biggest fear?)

My Biggest Fear About BlogHer P

Making a Bodacious Blunder – in Front of My Boss — OF COURSE

Of Course I Make a Bodacious Blunder in Front of My New Boss! So Embarrassing & So Funny!  #humor #boss #office

So then…she starts rattling off all the things we need to do on the day of the big benefit, so I scribble notes as quickly as I can.

This is only my second week on the job, so I’m not entirely familiar with everything my boss is saying, but there are 3 other staffers in the office with us and they all seem to be nodding along.

I just graduated college — and now I’ve moved to Manhattan to work in public relations at a Fortune 500 company on Park Avenue! I can’t believe my good fortune, but I know I have to work my ass off to keep the job!

My co-workers are all fast-talking New Yorkers, so I struggle a bit to keep up (what with me being a sweet drawlin’ Southern gal and all).

My boss lets loose a brisk list of directives involving the caterer, tele-prompters, speakers, nametags, photographers, and music.

As she doles out assignments, she says, “OK, Darcy, you’ll take the limo over to CBS to pick up one of the honorees, Marlene Sanders, and bring her over to the Waldorf Astoria. Go straight to the VIP reception. Brenda, make sure the speeches are in the press packets over in the — ”

But the rest of the sentence fades away because all I can think of is the part where she told me to go pick up broadcaster Marlene Sanders at CBS. I can’t do that.

But I don’t know if my boss knows that I can’t do that.

And I don’t want to interrupt her rapid-fire commands to the group – especially since everyone else seems to be taking their tasks in stride.

I’m starting to sweat. I can barely concentrate. I want to be the can-do girl, I really do – but I have to tell them I can’t do this. It will be worse if I keep it to myself.

So in the middle of her monologue, I boldly blurt, “I’m so sorry but I can’t pick up Marlene Sanders and take her to the Waldorf! I only have a Louisiana driver’s license, not New York! And I think you need to have a special LIMO license to drive a limo, anyway, and there’s no way I can get one of those by Friday—“

Everyone stares at me.

I blush from head to toe.

My boss bursts out laughing. “Darcy, we don’t expect you to DRIVE the limo to pick up Marlene. Just go IN the limo with the chauffeur, pick her up, and escort her to the VIP reception to make sure she gets where she needs to be.”

I am mortified.

Everyone giggles. The other staffers roll their eyes at my naiveté. They will repeat this story in the lunch room for weeks to come.

But I don’t care.

Because I am so frikkin’ relieved!

I cannot tell you the PANIC I felt — just thinking about me being unlicensed and trying to drive a big-ass limousine through the chaotic streets of New York, desperate to find a parking spot near the CBS building!

Thank God I only had to ride in the limo. This is a talent for which I am uniquely qualified!

— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustration by Mary Chowdhury for So Then Stories

(OK, out with it! Share the times you’ve embarrassed yourself in front of your co-workers or boss! Whether it was a summer job in college – or your first day in your current career – I KNOW you made a bodacious blunder or a funny faux pas – so share it with us in the Comments below!)

Honestly, CONTROL Yourself

Honestly CONTROL Yourself
So then…I hear the guy sitting next to me say to his companions, “Did you see Trey at the club last night? What the hell was on his neck?”

I slide my eyes over in his direction, while pretending to continue scrolling through my phone. I’m sitting in the waiting area at the Las Vegas airport and the conversation to my left is much more interesting than my work emails.

What was on Trey’s neck? A hickey? A ruby necklace? A boa constrictor?

Until the flight boards, I listen in on their conversation while they trash Trey, debate the merits of two dancers they met at an after-hours club, complain about their hotel, and dish about their co-workers.

I am fascinated. Of the three guys, Bobby, in particular, is my favorite since he’s funny, irreverent, and gregarious. The whole time they’re talking, he is ripping off pieces of a gigantic blueberry muffin that is literally the size of his head.

It is the most ENORMOUS muffin I have ever seen.

He rips a piece, eats it, then joins in the verbal banter, rips a piece, eats it, and so on.

This goes on for 20 minutes, then finally he has eaten the entire muffin except for one last teeny tiny little piece on the paper plate.

Honestly Control Yourself Crumbs

He looks down, dramatically wraps the plastic wrap over the plate, and pointedly says to his companions, “They say you should always leave something on your plate; don’t be a PIG.”

He tosses his head, smiles smugly, and sits back in his chair.

All of us bust out laughing.

I don’t even try to pretend I’m not eavesdropping.

Bobby gives us all a fake “what? what?” look, then joins in the laughter too.

***
Now whenever I am down to the last tiny bite of a HUGE plate of pasta or a GIANT piece of cake, I think of Bobby and demurely push aside that last teeny bit, so that I “always leave something on my plate” lest someone thinks I’m being a piggie.

— Darcy Perdu

(Do you leave a little on the plate – or polish off every last bite? What’s your best method to control yourself while eating, drinking, shopping, gambling, sexing? Ever overheard something funny in an airport? Do tell in the Comments Section!)

Honestly CONTROL Yourself P

I’m Sorry — WHO Planted That Evidence?

Who Planted That Evidence
So then…he says, “Listen, I have bad news.”

“What kind of bad news, Sam?” I ask the broker on the phone. “Your client’s scheduled to move into one of our office buildings next week. He’s already signed the 7-year lease, so he can’t try to renegotiate terms now.”

“Well, no, it’s not the terms. It’s my client. Philip told me this morning that his company can’t lease your building,” the broker says.

“What? Why?” I ask.

“Well, the FTC shut him down, seized his documents, and froze his assets for allegedly advertising fraudulent government grant programs,” he explains.

“Are you kidding me, Sam? You’re his broker. You vouched for him. You gave us references who vouched for him. We’ve already paid your commission out of his deposit – but now we lost this tenant and have to start over looking for a new one? How could you not know he’s running an illegal operation?” I ask.

“Oh, he’s totally innocent,” says Sam. “But you know the FTC – if they can’t find evidence against ya, they’ll just falsify documents to prove you guilty.”

???

(Oh, yeah, I did hear that about the FTC – in Communist Russia — in the 50’s!  Not. Since when does the Federal Trade Commisson have a reputation for framing businesspeople?)

If I ever get arrested, that’s what I’m going to say: “Oh, I’m totally innocent — but you know the cops, if they can’t find evidence on ya, they’ll just plant it.”

(Hmmmm. Well, actually, that defense DOES work. As long as you’re a celebrity.)

— Darcy Perdu

(Anyone try to give you a lame excuse to get out of a deal? Ever been accused of fraud by the FTC — or Russian Communists? Ever planted evidence on someone – like a sibling, perhaps!?  Post a comment!)

Odd Photos I Found at the Firefighter Office

Fire 1
So then…I try to focus on the comments of the fire officer about the project site plan on the counter between us – but instead, I am staring at the enormous photographs of fires behind her.

We’re in the lobby of the regional office of the county’s fire department and I am stunned by the spectacular fiery images that grace the entry wall.

There are 4 gigantic photos – each about 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide – and each portrays a terrifying blaze.

But here’s the thing.

There are no firefighters in the photos.

No one is putting these fires OUT.

These are just huge photos of unabated, unrestrained, WILD fires.

Houses, hillsides, forests, shopping centers – all ON FIRE.

I look at the fire officer as she continues discussing the fire access roads for the site plan – and she appears unfazed by the bizarre imagery behind her. Other fire officials walk around, talking to other visitors – and no one seems at all disturbed by the photos.

Surely they have some nice pictures of firefighters dousing fires — saving trapped children — spraying flames with enormous blasts of water? Wouldn’t that be more appropriate imagery to show in the lobby of the fire department’s regional center?

Or are they trying to convey the message: “Hey, look at these terrifying ferocious fires! If it weren’t for us, these fires would scorch the earth and you along with it! Mooh-whahahaha!

I mean, these huge photos of raging fires would be like showing giant photos of criminals committing crimes at the police station.

Not cops handcuffing criminals. Or arresting them.

Just big photos of criminals robbing banks, selling drugs, stabbing people.

Unabated, unrestrained, WILD criminals. Committing crime with impunity! Such abandon!

Here again – the subliminal message would be – “You are in the police station – look at these terrifying photos – if not for us, these criminals would rage across the country, annihilating everything in their path, including you! Mooh-whahahaha!”

The fire officer tries to call my attention to the fuel modification plan for the slopes, but I am still thinking about this unusual visual tactic, which is basically:  “Behold the Calamities We Tame!”

Would the lobby of an accounting firm feature 6-foot tall photos of incorrect spreadsheets?

Would the reception area of a beauty salon show 6-foot tall photos of supremely hideous people?

If not for us…. Mooh-whahahaha…. indeed!

— Darcy Perdu

(Do YOU think that’s a bit odd to show photos of raging fires in the lobby of the fire division? Notice anything odd about businesses or shops that you visit? Ever dated a fireman? That last question is not exactly “on topic,” but the answer is sure to be interesting, so – DO tell! Share in the Comments below!)

Awkward Elevator Moment — Me & 4 Stoned, Scantily-Clad Men

So then…I adjust the shoulder strap of my leather briefcase. I’m taking an empty elevator back to my 28th floor hotel room after my business meeting on a sunny afternoon in Las Vegas. Important negotiations with lawyers today — so I’m in my grey business suit, white blouse, stockings, and sensible black pumps. I’m even wearing pearls today, so the corporate-executive look is complete.

The elevator stops on the 5th floor, home of the pools and spa – and in tumble four college kids obviously enjoying Spring Break in Vegas.

These four tall guys are all in swim trunks, tanned and shirtless, wet hair, laughing — and definitely stoned.

It’s just them and me in the elevator.

As the elevator rises, they giggle and whisper and fidget. There’s a small lull of silence and one of them says, “Wow, it smells a little like weed in here.”

They exchange glances and stifle laughter, since the pot aroma is definitely emanating from them – and they’re certain that they’ve shocked me, an uptight corporate woman.

I turn to them and say sincerely, “Oh, I’m sorry, that’s me.”

Startled looks.

I shrug and say, “What’re you gonna do? Long client lunch.” I make the international gesture for toking a joint.

Ding. 28th floor.

I exit to whistles, whoops, and a “Damn — we should party with her!”

— Darcy Perdu

(Any funny elevator stories to share? Or perhaps a funny smokin’-weed story? (Ah, hell, ALL smokin’-weed stories are funny – especially if you ARE smokin’ weed!) Share a comment or story below!)

Oh No, You Can’t Expense THAT

Apparently, it is not (I repeat, NOT) OK to expense THAT on your business expenses! Totally Mortified!  #funny #office #humor

So then… she utters those words that strike fear into every travelling businessperson: “I need to talk to you about your expense statement.”

My heart races just a bit – the Catholic school girl in me is guilty already, wondering, “Oh, hell, what does she know? What proof does she have?”

But the weary traveler in me is indignant, bristling at the potential accusation from an accountant who never leaves her desk and therefore has no knowledge of flight delays, lost luggage, boring transcontinental flights, mind-numbing client dinners, and noisy hotel room neighbors – all of which necessitate my extensive bar tabs.

I straighten up in my desk chair and speak as casually as I can into the phone, “Whatever do you mean?”

Margaret, who looks like a kindly grandmother but is actually a fierce stickler for rules, rustles some papers over the line and says, “It’s about your trip to Minneapolis to call on Target Headquarters.”

My mind races, trying to recall what questionable expense items I might have listed from that trip several weeks ago. My anxiety stems not so much from my own questionable creative accounting practices, but from Margaret’s apparent disdain for the travelling sales team.

(When James, our Sales Manager, expensed a bottle of aspirin on a business trip because he had a headache, Margaret called him to ask him how many pills he took on the actual trip. When he asked why, she replied that he should only ask for reimbursement for the pills used on the trip, since he’d be using the remainder of the bottle on his own personal time. When he balked, she said then he should donate the rest of the bottle to the receptionist’s desk, so that the rest of the company could use the remaining pills when they have headaches. I’m pretty sure James took the rest of the pills right then and there.)

So I say, “OK, Margaret, what about the Minneapolis trip?”

She says, “Well, it appears that you went to a local Target to buy some competitor’s samples of our products…”

“Yeah, so I could show the Target buyer that our products are superior to his current vendor,” I say defensively.

“And you also bought a bag of Potato Chips and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream…”

“Yes, that was my dinner,” is my churlish reply.

“And you also bought some feminine hygiene products?”

“Oh.”

Damn! Had I really forgotten to buy those on a separate receipt? Hmmm, I don’t suppose there’s a rational reason that I would need to buy those for business purposes.

But that certainly does explain the salty chips and chocolate ice cream for dinner.

“Heh, heh,” I laugh weakly. “Oops! Sorry for that mistake, Margaret. That’s a little embarrassing! I’ll reimburse the company for those items.”

“OK, see that you do so by the end of the day, please,” she says primly.

As an end to our phone call, I try a little levity and say, “I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t try to expense condoms! Heh, heh.”

To which she replies, “Well, if it’s a sales call, that’s allowed as an ‘Entertainment Expense.’”

Touché, Margaret, touché.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any questionable items you’ve claimed on your expense statements? How about a funny business trip story? Share your comments below. I love to read them!)

The Snap Heard ‘Round the World

I'm nervous enough on this job interview, and now he insists on a Japanese-speaking sushi restaurant -- things go hilariously downhill from there! #funny #interview #sushi #humor

So then…he says, “How about sushi?” and I respond enthusiastically, “Sure!” – because how could I not? He’s the interviewer and I’m the interviewee.

Even though I’m 25 and live in Manhattan, my experience with raw fish dining is severely limited, since I was raised mostly down South where we prefer our meals cooked, battered, and deep-fried.

However, Ted clearly loves authentic Japanese fare, since he’s ducked into a dim-lit little restaurant whose patrons are all Japanese, except us, and whose menus are all in Japanese with no English subtitles. There are pictures though — and I desperately look for something that appears to have collided with flame at some point.

We sit at the counter. There are a few tables, but all in all, it’s a pretty small place. Ted passionately describes how fresh the fish is, how inventive the chefs are, and how the restaurant is so genuinely Japanese, the staff doesn’t even speak English. It’s clear he enjoys the cosmopolitan aura.

When the sushi chef comes over for our order, Ted lets loose an impressive list of exotic Japanese names for various raw fish.

I point to the picture of the chicken teriyaki.

While we wait, Ted asks about my current position, education, and interest in changing industries. I try to appear intelligent, dedicated, sophisticated, and witty.

He’s about 10 years older than me and has been working in the field I’d love to join, so I have lots of questions for him too.

When the meals arrive, Ted gleefully surveys his colorful platter of bite size sushi and deftly begins plucking away with his chopsticks.

My chicken teriyaki is in one large piece. It has not been pre-cut into thin little slices.

There is not a fork in sight. Nor a knife.

A quick scan of the restaurant confirms that no one here is using a knife and fork – and that such a request of the sushi chef would probably result in deep shame, loss of honor to family, and possibly hari-kari.

I’m too embarrassed to mime “knife and fork” to the chef, so I gamely pick up my chopsticks and try to corral the chicken into my mouth, while simultaneously answering Ted’s interview questions.

I manage to spear some thinly-sliced cucumbers which appear to be garnish, but I still can’t make any headway with the chicken. Finally I stab the chicken with one chopstick and start sawing off a piece with the other chopstick. I manage to make a little progress, but then suddenly, the sawing chopstick snaps in half with a deafening “CRACK!”

Time stands still.

Everyone in the restaurant turns toward me, sees my broken chopstick held aloft, and every self-respecting Japanese person shakes their head, rolls their eyes, and whispers “Gringo” to their companions. OK, maybe not “Gringo” literally – but whatever the Japanese word is for “dumdum Yankee who can’t even dine properly; someone bring her a Big Mac.”

I feel like such a hick. I turn bright red, but Ted, without even skipping a beat, just picks up another set of chopsticks and hands them to me, while continuing his next interview question.

I am so relieved! What a prince!

We finish the interview – I even manage a few bites of the chicken – and we walk back to his office. I collect my briefcase, hand him a clean copy of my resume, and thank him for the interview.

He smiles and says, “Yeah, it was really fun. Maybe we could have dinner together some time?”

This takes me by surprise. I was trying to exude the “please hire me” vibe – not the “please sex me up” vibe!

I shoot a look at the photo on his desk with his arms around a woman and two young kids.

I say, “Yeah, that’d be great. Will your wife be able to join us?”

His face falls and his eyes narrow. He’s trying to decide if I’m being deliberately obtuse or if I’m just genuinely naïve.

He coughs and murmurs, “Um, she doesn’t get into the City much.”

I want to say, “Well, I guess not, since you’re so busy dating.” But I hold my tongue.

I just smile cheerfully and tell him I look forward to hearing from him about the position.

I don’t get the job.

I do, however, learn to use chopsticks.

And I also learn to more nimbly thwart unwanted advances from current or prospective employers.

I find that a slightly regretful expression, combined with a heartfelt, “Oh, my fiancé’s so possessive about my evenings” is a fabulous face-saver for the colleague. It shuts down future invitations since I’ve just informed them of my pending nuptials – and it allows them the delusion that if it were not for my jealous fiancé, they would totally have a shot with me.

The only problem occurs if you get the job and after a while, someone asks why your fiancée doesn’t ever attend the company parties – in which case you’d have to consider hiring a fake fiancé for the events which is, of course, a rom-com in the making. So do that.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Can you share a story about an embarrassing dining experience? A job interview gone wrong? A boss or interviewer who asked you out?)

Hmm, Me Thinks He Doth Protest Too Much

What is Mark hiding? Mark: Why do you ask? (Hmm, methinks he doth protest too much...) #funny

So then…I pick up my office phone in hopes that I can get some work done today.

It seems everyone I call this afternoon is distracted by a meeting just about to start — or they’re at lunch — or out running an errand.

I dial the cell phone of Mark Wilson — Vice President at a company bidding to be our vendor.  I’m hoping he’s available to discuss the proposal that his firm submitted.

Ring, ring.

“Mark Wilson,” he says a little hesitantly.

“Hey, Mark, it’s Darcy Perdu. Can you talk?”

“Well, yeah.” Pause. “I’m not drunk, if that’s what you mean.”

What?

I burst out laughing. “Drunk? Why would I think you’re drunk, Mark? Are you in the habit of imbibing during the business day? It’s only 2:00, for God’s sake!”

“No, it’s just that you asked if I ‘can talk.’ Of course I can talk. Let’s talk.” He says all this a little quickly, a little defensively.

Is he joking around? Or is he pulling a BFM? (Barney Fife Maneuver)

You know, like when Sheriff Andy says, “Barney, the bank robber escaped! Where is he?”

And Barney says, “I have no idea where he is, boss. He’s certainly not hiding under the desk!”

Of course Barney’s nervousness results in him admitting the very thing he’s trying to hide!

So is Mark actually drunk — and trying to unsuccessfully divert attention from that fact?

Or does he just have a warped sense of humor?

Either way, I’m putting his company’s bid at the top of my list.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any fun work stories to share? Odd behavior of vendors or co-workers?)