On Saturday morning, I got a text message from a former coworker. It said: “Every time I see an article about CES, all I can think about is you having to dance on CNN while “BB” was hungover and stealing sandwiches.”
If you think that sounds too ridiculous to be true, then you’re right. “BB” – my colleague and our firm’s account lead for CES – only stole a Diet Coke from a refreshment stand at 8 o’clock in the morning. My friend was probably confused because later in the day, he got within two inches of my face and said, “I just scarfed down a tuna fish sandwich. What did I miss?”
The rest of her text is totally accurate.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the video proof.
The amazing thing is that the CNN taping wasn’t even the most entertaining thing that happened at CES. My friend’s text did nothing to capture the first four days, which BB kicked off by approaching a Taiwanese camera crew on a casino floor and attempting to lure them to our client’s booth with the promise of free X-Boxes.
“I don’t think they speak English,” I whispered to my other co-worker, the third member of our PR team.
“They definitely do not,” he whispered back.
And with that, he and I executed a series of backwards lunges in perfect unison through a row of slot machines before blending into a line of attendees for that night’s keynote address. We weren’t the only ones who laughed as BB, having exchanged business cards with the broadcasters, finished his performance with a formal bow and sauntered back across the lobby.
“That’s how it’s done,” he said, spiking the business card that he had just collected to the ground before plowing through the doors of an overflow room for the keynote.
“Isn’t that the card…” I asked my other co-worker.
My co-worker flicked his wrist, as if to say, “No one cares about Taiwan and we don’t have X-Boxes,” and then walked away.
He and I were going to make an OK team.
The next day brought even more excitement when BB learned that a neighboring booth was raffling off an adult-sized electric tricycle.
“Tell me when it’s 3:30,” he said. “They’re doing the drawing at 4 and you have to be present to win. That’s how they get you.”
Here’s another part of the story that you might have a hard time believing: I told him when it was 3:30. In fact, I set an alarm on my cell phone. Because I sincerely wanted BB to win that tricycle. In my wildest dreams, he would ride it back to our booth, take a victory lap around the video display and crash it into a bench – preferably the same bench that an elderly man hit with a Rascal power scooter earlier in the day.
“It’s time,” I said to BB when my alarm went off. “Good luck!”
“It’s 3:30 now?!” he asked. “Can you tell me when it’s 3:45? I can’t leave right now. They want me to introduce the booth speaker.”
I understood his conflict. “Introduce the booth speaker,” is another way of saying, “The client is going to let me use the microphone,” which, on the fun scale, falls just north of trying to win an electric rickshaw.
Sadly, BB returned empty-handed. And that loss, coupled with a no-show from the Taiwanese broadcasters, seemed to put a damper on the day, which may have been what prompted him to order several martinis over dinner and announce that there was “no way” I’d get promoted the following week.
“It took me forever to make Vice President,” he said. “And you’ve only been here, what, a year? Less?”
It was possibly the first thing he said all week that made any sense and I hated him for picking that moment to start. Because there was a good chance he was right. And it just didn’t seem fair that he – the person who would go on to spend the rest of the night dancing on a table during a set by will.i.am – was ahead of me. But he was.
When BB failed to show up the following morning, I got even more aggravated, as did our client.
“Where’s BB?” she asked. “Have you seen him?”
“He’s caught up at a panel,” I lied. “I’ll call him.”
And I did. I called him on his cell phone and in his hotel room every twenty minutes from 9 a.m. until 10:30, when he finally answered.
I didn’t do it because I cared about his career. I did it because I cared about mine. I wasn’t going to let an otherwise successful week get derailed by a grown man who couldn’t handle his liquor. And I certainly wasn’t going to let him tip the scale if my promotion wasn’t already decided.
“I overslept,” he said. “Is anyone looking for me?”
“Everyone is looking for you,” I said. “You better have a good explanation ready when you get here.”
But he didn’t. Instead, BB showed up with yet another bottle of Diet Coke, slapped a senior executive on the back and walked full speed into an artificial tree.
“And yet, somehow, not one of the most embarrassing things he did this week,” I said to my other coworker. “I mean, who puts a tree there? Could’ve happened to anyone.”
“Totally,” he agreed. “The social media guy walked into the window yesterday. Cracked it.”
I don’t know how I missed that – or the mile-long strip of blue duct tape that was now holding the glass wall of our booth together – but I did.
Maybe it was because I was busy filling space in the back row when CNN did their drive by… or maybe I was fixing the bench after the scooter accident… or covering for some other dim-witted thing BB did even though he’d never return the favor.
Maybe I was busy doing my job. Maybe I was busy getting promoted.
In less than a year, in case anyone else is keeping track.
Guess what? Advice I Needed is on Instagram! That’s where I’ll be posting photos and bite-sized updates of my travels in the coming year. Follow along here and I’ll follow you.