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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

If you think his injury was tough to sit through...

Beware the Ides of March. For sure, the last couple of weeks have seen their fair share of welcome departures. Tommy Amaker and Duke come to mind, but perhaps the least lamentable is the removal of Joe Theismann from the Monday Night Football broadcast booth. Now, there is no reason to pile on the well worn territory of how still-born that triumvirate was. Instead, I will relate a few annecdotes about an event that occured in your correspondent's professional life about a year ago, that involve Mr. Thiesmann.

[Begin boring background information]
For large regions of the United States, there exist large regional electicity grid managment organizations, that utilize power grids comprised of individual utilities working together as one. This is done for reliability and cost-advantage reasons. I was assigned to go to an "annual stakeholder meeting" (and it sounds better than it actually is, beleve me) of the Midwest Independent Electric Transmission System Operator in Indianapolis last year. As such things go, not a bad gig. Free golf, frequent flyer miles...expense account. You know the hustle (or at least I hope).
[End boring background information]

So Im walking up to the first tee, having been united with 3 other free-loaders of simularly low importance, when all of the sudden Im damn near blinded by the contrast of disturbingly whitened teeth and tanned flesh. Given the New Jersey-esque lustre of both, you can be sure neither were naturally occuring. Once I saw the wave of bryllcream-enhanced hair, It occured to me that I was looking at none other than the keynote speaker for that evening's post-dinner remarks, Joe Thiesmann himself. After hacking up a rather upscale Indy golf club for a few hours, I lanugished through an unendurable "happy" hour with some of the other assembled stiffs, and was then seated at a table with some comparably irrelevant parties.

Some more satisfied customers

Throughout the whole day, I was morbidly curious about what our keynote speaker was going to discuss, and what this room of 2500 seemingly innocent midwestern utility middle-managers had done. The (soon to be leaving) CEO of the Midwest ISO, and ad hoc master of ceremonies for the evening, said in a somber tone: "Some of you requested a keynote speaker after last year's dinner, but also wanted to be sure to keep the costs low, so in light of that, I present our keynote speaker, former Notre Dame and Washington Redskins Quarterback Joe Theismann".
Now I dont remember the entire text of the speech obviously, but I do remember a hell of a lot of quoters regarding: His injury (low and behold he remembers the date and says it really dramatically like everybody else knows it), his conversion from Joe Th-eee-sman to Joe Thighs-man, how he really had no idea what we did here, but when he saw all the power that flowed through the midwest, he said "man, these numbers are impressive!", his prowess with the ladies, which for your information, was not a step he lost after the injury, and about how he was of the view that he was quite the cat's ass because he emerged victorious from the debacle of ESPN's sunday night "nitro" broadcast spectacle, and his next stop would be the big stage of MNF.
What I cant convey as well is the looks of embarassment, confusion, and boredom on the faces of those who realized that their quest to make a low-maintenace living working for the power company had led them to this albatross of an evening. 'Thank god my kids cant see me now' thier faces seemed to say.
So anyway, happy trails, and dont quit your day job...without a fight.


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