Meeting mishaps

. January 9, 2013.

Historically my family has had its share of 'open mouth cram in foot moments'. Therefore, when asked to introduce one of the leaders in cancer research at an American Cancer Society benefit in Ann Arbor, my Right Guard Extra Strength wasn’t even close to doing its job.

I valiantly tried to suppress the memory of one of my Dad’s memorable moments. He was asked to present an esteemed colleague, Mr. Emil Beznits. He was commonly known by his nickname “Buzzy” Beznits.  My Dad stood at the podium after two glasses of Merlot trying to maintain seriousness and decorum. In front of a packed dining hall, he cleared his throat and stated, “It is my great pleasure to introduce Mr. Fuzzy Buzznuts.”

An 'apple doesn’t fall far the tree' occasion occurred during my college days while working in the medical records department at a local hospital. I was busily writing information on a blackboard in front of a group of physicians when I felt a bump in my pant leg. I did a little of what I hoped was an under the radar adjustment, yet I still felt something. In desperation, I gave my leg a hearty shake and to my horror the panties I had worn the night before came down the inside of my pants and plopped on the floor. On a positive note, I had never thought it was possible to top the day I walked around the hospital with the back of my skirt firmly tucked into my nylons.

Every day was a new adventure when I was the marketing/special events director for an animal shelter. Many times I would take a little furry friend with me to speaking engagements. To this day, I still wonder what possessed me to stray from the norm and take what looked like an “industrial sized” labrador named Daisy to a meeting at a cable company.

Things were going well until Daisy decided I was the love of her life and began humping me during my speech. I immediately recalled the words of wisdom from one of the shelter employees that informed me that “humping” is many times more about dominance than passion. I quickly rechecked the gender of the frisky beast and ascertained that the pooch was definitely a “Daisy” and not a “Doug”. I made the quick decision to sit down with Daisy by my side. Similar to a few humans I know, I thought she may be having issues with my close to six foot frame. Sometimes, the best ideas in theory do not translate well into the real world. Instead of making her more at ease, I just became an easier target. It took two people to get her off me.

Roosevelt once said, “The more prepared I am, the luckier I get.” With this in mind, here are a few helpful hints for a successful meeting.

Do not quote relatives who are remembered for their quick wit, bright floral swim caps, and ballet dancing after one whisky sour.

Saying things such as “I have three things I want to explain” is never a good idea. By the time you have shared “1” and “2” you will completely forget “3."

Do not attempt to make a strong argument while holding a pen or any other object. They can become easily dislodged from what you thought was a firm grip.

Limit the cocktails if you are having a guest speaker. My Dad was once at a meeting where there was far too much imbibing. The honored speaker began and many of the guests were still admiring the little umbrellas from their beverages. The speaker informed the crowd that his Dad had flown in for the event.  He said, “Dad would you please stand up and be recognized?” to which his father responded, “Son, I would but I just can’t!”

The good news is that even if you have experienced stressful meetings that would rate a 7.2 on the Richter scale, at the end of the day you get to go home. A Corgi with south of the border skin issues, a clogged toilet, and math homework that makes me want to scream, “I don’t care when “Train A arrives! We’re taking the bus!” might be waiting for me, but so are three amazing young women. They will want my undivided attention and, although I've given them above average cooking instruction, dinner. Now that’s one meeting I never want to miss.