Greg England was kind enough to share some of his Beet Red moments in life, and asked if we had any to share. Mine was a bit long for the comments section on his blog, so I thought I’d share it over here instead.
It was the Adam’s Mark Hotel in St. Louis, MO, at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference in 1989. I think this was the first time I’d ever been to the conference (this was a BIG deal for me – the company only paid for the Certified Industrial Hygienists to go to the conference, but for some reason, we were allowed to go that year). There are a couple of good industrial hygienist stories from that year, but this one is universally amusing…so I’ve been told.
Anyway, Mine Safety Appliances always had a HUGE cocktail party on Tuesday evening of the conference – free drinks for anyone registered at the conference. I think they still do this, but I haven’t been to the MSA party in a long time – besides the lack of interest, who wants to fight with 5,ooo or 6,000 other people for a drink?
So, as we were leaving, there was a v-e-r-y long escalator from the ballroom floor down to the lobby. At the bottom of the escalator, I could see one of my co-workers talking to our supervisor. The co-worker – Tom* – was facing away from me as he talked to Rick. When I reached the bottom of the escalator, I reached out and pinched Tom on the butt. He turned around with a VERY surprised look – and to my great surprise, it wasn’t Tom. It was someone I’d never seen before. All I could say was “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” I quickly walked away – and then the real Tom walked by. I said “Oh man, I’m so embarrassed. You won’t believe what I did.” To which Tom said “What did you do Joe Bob, pinch somebody on the a**.”
Wait – it’s not over.
Next day. Big meeting of the industrial hygienists who worked for like-minded companies (we had a name for this “working group,” but I can’t remember it). As I was getting settled, my boss walked in, along with the guy I’d pinched. He proceeded to introduce him to me as the Industrial Hygiene Manager for [major competitor], who said “Yes, I believe we’ve met.”
*names not changed; they don’t need the protection, and I’m pretty sure they’ll never read this post.