Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fun With Work Friends

  • Around 1973 or 1974, Blue Cross of Massachusetts held a "Men's Night Out" and tickets were provided for a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

    Rob (VP of Data Processing), Paul (Rob's AVP), Drew (Director of the data processing division in which I worked), and I sat together. We'd been friends for a couple of years, (in the cases of Rob and Drew, going back to before they'd hired me) and the three of them had known each other for longer than that.

    Just before the game started, Rob turned to face Drew and me and said, "We should do something to make it more interesting. How about if Paul and I pick a player to hit a home run and you two pick a player to hit a home run? We'll bet a dollar apiece."

    This was agreed to immediately and before Drew and I could consult each other on our pick, Rob said "We'll take Yastrzemski (the "zee" is silent, like the "pee" in "swim"), and laughed. Yaz was a Red Sox outfielder, home run hitter, and Triple Crown winner. I do believe Rob had set this up for that purpose.

    Drew turned to me and said, "You pick someone, Donnie. I don't know anything about it." I picked Gates Brown, Detroit's journeyman outfielder, first baseman, and pinch-hitter. He was a .250 hitter near the end of his career and he generally didn't knock down fences, but he was a left-handed hitter and he always did well at Fenway Park.

    An inning or two into the game, Brown put one out of the park. Rob and Paul mumbled about a "fix" and forked over their dollars, then offered, "Do it again? We'll keep Yastrzemski." Drew and I agreed and stayed with Gates Brown, who several innings later clocked another one. Another payoff and more grumbling, but no offer to repeat the bet. A third bet would have been a standoff in any event, as neither Brown nor Yaz homered after that.

  • Paul and I once spent a Sunday afternoon in his back yard playing backgammon for ten cents a point. I won $1.70 and he handed me $2.00. I didn't have any change and he said, "You can give it to me tomorrow."

    Sometime Monday morning I ran into Rob at work.

    Rob, smiling: "Paul beat you at backgammon yesterday, huh?"

    Donnie, flabbergasted: "Whaaaaat?"

    Rob, obviously confused: "I asked him how you two did and he said, 'Donnie owes me thirty cents.'"

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