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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hiya Clifford

No-Roller Trip - Planning

My father worked at in sales North American Veeblefetzer, back in the halcyon days of multiple Golden Grommet awards, company picnics without any user fees, and before the advent of that lickspittle boss Norbert, who married the CEO's daughter.

This was long before the buy-out by the Pesky Belgians and Crafty Koreans that led to the Flusherville plant becoming Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer.

People say that I have his sense of humor, his well-groomed nose hairs, and his gift of being able to tell a story. We had an easygoing relationship when it came to being a bit silly. I never knew what he was going to say, and he never knew what I was going to do. But the back and forth was like that of a well-rehearsed vaudeville team.

Back then, international grommet sales were booming, and my Dad was an excellent grommet shmoozer - the best. He'd often bring home reps from other companies he was wooing, or executives from other branches of Veeblefetzer for one of Mom's amazing home-cooked meals.

This one time, when I was about 11 years old, a fella by the name of Bill Adams was in town for meetings and Dad invited him to our house for dinner. On the drive over, Bill told Dad about this stray mutt with a missing ear that his kid had brought home.

"My wife, and my kids," Bill sputtered between guffaws, "they named this mangy thing Clifford!"

"Clifford?"

"Yeah, CLIFFORD! HA! Have you ever heard any name anywhere in the universe as stupid as Clifford?"

"Clifford the dog, eh?"

"Yeah. Oh my God what a stupid name! Clifford! Fucking CLIFFORD! C'mere.... CLIFFORD!" 

Bill Adams slapped his leg and wiped tears of laughter from his eyes.

Dad pulled into the driveway, the tires of his huge vinyl roofed Impala crunching on the gravel. Dad opened the front door for Bill, and followed him into the house.

And just as they stepped into the foyer, I blazed from the kitchen, through the foyer, headed up to my room on the second floor.

As I went by, my Dad said to me, absolutely stone-faced serious, the following:

"Hiya, Clifford."

I went up a couple of stairs, turned on the landing and shot back without any hesitation whatsoever the following:

"Hi Dad!"

Throughout dinner it was "Clifford, pass the salt?" and "Sure, Dad." and "Clifford, how about some more ice cream, eh Clifford?" and "Thanks, Dad!"

Later, Dad told me that Bill Adams pretty much turned himself inside out, apologizing over and over for besmirching the very name that Dad had bestowed upon his son.

And here's the thing.

I answered to Clifford all night long without a thought, thinking it was just a bit of silliness with my father.

About six months later, Bill Adams was in town again, and Dad brought him to the house after work at the plant for another home-cooked meal.

Bill Adams came in the door with Dad on his heels. Bill looked at me as Dad took his coat.

"Hello, uh, Clifford," he said.

I looked at him and paused, thinking.

And then I answered.

"Hiya Mr. Adams!"

So things aren't like the glory grommet days at Veeblefetzer, and to go to Vegas, I had to work out a few things. Because this would be a Cheap Bastard trip - but I had some advantages.

First, there was a series of three conferences in Vegas, supporting the grommet production world - GrommetCon, then Grommet Expo, then the Grommet One conference. Jimmy Poon did some computer magic to put my name on top of the volunteer list and voila. I had a reason to go.

Sure, I'd be busy during the days, but the Vegas Nights would be all mine, from center ice to the blue lines.
It's a Sign.
Here's what I had going for me:
  • two $200 vouchers from American Airlines. One had the Quad Queen's name on it, but some quick work with a pen and that was sorted. She'd never notice.
  • a three night offer at the Golden Nugget. I was shocked to get it and pleased to book it. In fact, I booked a suite upgrade for $50 a night, which came with a resort fee waiver. No braina two night offer at T.I. with fhr$100 free play
  • a three night offer at Tropicana, with $15 free play, and $10 food per day
  • a ready, willing, and able host at the California to book me in for whatever other nights I needed, comped
It would be a two week long trip, and I planned to bring it in as cheaply as possible - even playing nickel video poker to pass the time if I had to.

Yes, I also shuddered at the thought - but when the choice is being stuck in winter's darkness in Ontario, or playing nickels and drinking beer in Vegas, well that's no choice at all. That's an automatic.

I booked the flights - I'd drive to Watertown, just across the border, and fly from there to Philadelphia, and on to Vegas.

Smooth and simple, right?

Right... Not.


1 comment:

  1. And AWAY we go! Better make it good, Flusher. I'm going on one of the Cheap Bastard trips in a few weeks. Need lots of tips. And somehow, I hope to avoid your pitfalls. I do sense there will be some pitfalls. Right? Yes.

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