I am not in the least bit ashamed to admit to my guilty pleasure: for the past several years on most weekdays I have lunch with a hot Latin redhead. On Friday’s I get lucky when my hot Hawg-loving girlfriend makes it a threesome.
Yes…I watch “The People’s Court” with Judge Marilyn Milian (“the hottest judge on television”) at noon on KOZL, channel 27 here in Springfield. MO. Shelly joins us most Fridays.
I am proud of the fact that one of the highlights of my 14 years with Arthur Andersen revolves around that TV show.
The People’s Court made it’s debut in mid-September of 1981. I was finishing up my last quarter at Oregon State. Back then I was eating lunch with Judge Wapner. Until I moved to PDX and became a cube rat at AA&Co. in May of ’82, I watched that show most days.
Flash forward 4 years to June of 1986.
I was 1 of the team of 10 new managers in Andersen’s Portland office: 5 consultants (system nerds); 1 auditor (bean counter); and 4 tax geeks (including me).
We were charged with providing the entertainment for the first evening of the Partner/Manager Retreat…where we worked hard and played hard…like every day at AA&Co.
Roasting senior managers and partners was part of our charge…which had an element of risk. Some of those in the audience weren’t known for their sense of humor, especially at their expense….
We pow-wowed a couple of times and came up with several activities.
The highlight of the evening was “The Peon’s Court.” We had three skits, roasting the leaders of each division.
In each skit my friend Dave Evans played the role of Judge “Hairy” Demorest…including wearing a shaggy wig to emulate the office managing partner’s hair style.
At the retreat, as we started our skits, Harry was flanked in the back row by a couple of “big unit” partners. We didn’t know that members of the firmwide board of partners would be in the audience. If we had known, we might have toned it down quite a bit. But probably not…
For the life of me, I cannot remember the skit roasting the audit division leadership. But the other 2 are etched deep into my memory.
I played Hank Laun in “Asleep at the close” in the second skit.
The head of the Portland consulting division was a class act. Everyone liked Hank Laun. Our skit was based on something that apparently had happened on more than one occasion as he was wrapping up a candidate’s in-office interview.
My script read something like this: Feet up on the desk. Ask a softball question. Hands behind your head. Close your eyes. Lean back in your chair. Toss another softball. Snore a bit. Fall over backwards. Hop up…shake hands…and ask when the candidate can start.
The crowd roared. Hank loved it. Everyone did.
The head of the tax division (my direct supervisor) was named Brian Murphy. He was about five-six. He was never around. This was before cell phones. Getting ahold of him was challenging.
And his writing made the tweeting twit in the oval office seem like a Pulitzer prize winner.
I played the role of prosecuting attorney.
We charged Brian with “premeditated murder of the English language.” We tried him “In absentia.” Mike Morgan played the role of Brian and testified via phone….on his knees he wasn’t much shorter than our HOTD.
I presented three key pieces of evidence: 2 memos to the entire Tax Division that Brian had written, and one letter to a client. I displayed them on the big screen….including all of my edits and editorial comments. I was BRUTAL!! (what a shock, eh?)
Misspelled words. Run-on sentences. Incomplete sentences. Fubar punctuation. One of the memos was three-fourths of a page long….and one paragraph. I bled all over all three pathetic docs.
I caught the reactions from the guys sitting next to Harry as I was “making my case.” The audit mucky-muck leaned over and said “this is a joke, right?” Harry just smiled….and said “no. that is a real memo.”
I probably shouldn’t have included the client letter. The high-unit consultant’s reaction was almost exactly the same as my client’s when he received the letter from Brian that announced he was going to be the engagement partner.
The first words I heard from my client Mike when I answered the phone: “What the fuck is this? Who the hell is this guy? Did anybody proofread this word salad shit?”
That evening at the retreat, the words from George Shaheen (google him!) to Harry: “Are you fucking kidding me?!?” HLD just smiled that smile.
Brian laughed that night. But I don’t think he loved it like most folks in the crowd did.
The rest of that evening is a blur.