Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blue Cross Women

  • One of the young women in my area was Doris, German born, fluent in English, but not acquainted with the more obscure euphemisms, or at least not *all* of them.

    Our building was at Illinois Center in Chicago, and below ground level it was possible to walk indoors to the Hyatt Regency hotel. Consequently, there was the occasional gathering for drinks at the Hyatt. One morning at work Doris told us abut the evening before.

    She had gone to the Hyatt to meet a couple of girlfriends. While crossing the lobby she was stopped by a stranger, a man in a business suit, who asked her "Are you a working girl?"

    Never having heard the expression, she interpreted the question literally and answered in the affirmative. To her astonishment, he handed her his room key, told her the room number, and said he'd be there in a few minutes.

    Naturally, we, her audience the next day, wanted to know what she had done about it. He had simply walked away after giving her the key, leaving her to work out exactly what had just happened. Once she had done so, she walked over to the registration counter and gave the key to one of the employees, saying she had found it on the carpet.

    It was several days before she could relate the story without a look of absolute horror.

  • Relatively new to our area, Nicki was in her early twenties and heartbreakingly cute. She was also shy and very proper, at least around her vice-president, yours truly.

    Her desk was in an office with several other analysts and junior analysts, all older and a bit less retiring. The office was bordered on its sides by two hallways, and one day while walking through that office, I was stopped by one of the veterans and asked, "Donnie, will you do something about Nicki?"

    Nicki and I looked at each other, and I asked "What's the problem with Nicki?"

    "She has the hiccups and we've tried everything, but nothing works. She can't get rid of them."

    Not knowing exactly what to do about it, I nevertheless walked over and stood at Nicki's side. She was seated at her desk and looked up at me. Talk about a deer in the headlights.

    I thought for a moment and then unbuttoned my suit jacket, grabbed the zipper at the top of my fly, and pretended to unzip it. Nicki shrieked, threw up her hands, hurled herself away from me, and tumbled out of her chair onto the floor.

    One seldom hears such laughter as filled that room, and I just continued on my way to wherever I had been going. A few minutes later, on my way back to my office, I stopped in and learned that Nicki's hiccups were indeed gone and the story of the cure was all over the suite of offices.

    The next morning, at the beginning of office hours, Nicki stopped by my office (a first) and tapped lightly on the door frame. I looked up and she smiled and said "Oh, Donnie, I told my father what you did yesterday."

    Visions of fathers and shotguns popped into my head, but she continued, "He thought it was very funny."

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