Looney thoughts, perspectives, and insights on the world of business!
– By Blake Glenn
In college I did a couple of stints as a co-op student. I don’t know if schools still have these. They’re basically the same as an internship. Each co-op assignment took up a complete semester. I strategically chose to do my assignment each year for the second semester. That way I could also work the entire summer and make even more money … Booyah!
I chose to do my co-op at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, OH. My hometown was nearby so I could stay at home, i.e. my mother’s house, and save money. That’s always a great thing for a semi-poor college student. At Wright Patt I was in an office full of young engineers, all males except a female co-op student. This office was chock full of testosterone, inflated true-ish storytelling, and grandiose totally fictional tales told as reality. For instance, one young engineer claimed to have served in Vietnam. But the story just didn’t seem to add up. This type of creatively enhanced tales were quite prevalent.
Anyway, I have a tale that is neither grandiose nor fictional. It’s almost unbelievable. It’s absolutely disgusting. And it’s totally true. It happened during my first co-op assignment at Wright Patt.
Once or twice a week an engineer, project manager, or even a co-op drone like myself would deliver a presentation about a project they were working on. This was in the prehistoric days when Powerpoint and other modern tech didn’t exist. So, while these cavemen presenters didn’t paint pictures on cave walls, they did have to use “slides”. This ancient technology consisted of clear plastic sheets that had images copied onto them. The plastic sheets were laid on a machine called an overhead projector. The projector sported a bright light that helped to project the images onto a screen. All this while Pterodactyls did fly-by’s, peeking into the windows, scoping out their next delicious meal.
And remember, these presenters were very technical. Many were young. Most had minimal public speaking skills. My god almost all of them were exceptionally boring, even the seasoned speakers. A lot of people, maybe even most, dozed off at some point during these sleep-inducing affairs. One of my co-workers was notorious for using these as extended nap sessions.
Well one day we were required to attend another one of these typical, mundane, ultra-boring sessions. As it turned out, it was anything but. I was sitting at a table with Chuck, a young engineer and one of my office mates. As I looked around the room in a desperate attempt to keep my eyes and head moving as to not tumble into a deep sleep, I fixated onto something deeply disturbing and totally bizarre. At first I didn’t think I was actully seeing this. I thought maybe I’d fallen into a lucent dream, where you know you’re dreaming and can take control of your actions. But damned if it wasn’t a dream.
I’d spotted a man on the opposite side of the room. He was sitting near the front of the room but off to the side. The room had been darkened a bit for the presentation. But I could still make out his features. He appeared to be in his late 20’s or early 30’s. He had dark hair, ear-length and wore large wire-rimmed glasses. Though he was sitting, I figured he was medium to small in height.
This man. This normal-looking man. In front of an entire room full of business professionals. This man was sticking his finger in his nose, pulling it out, looking at it, rolling it in his fingers, and then sticking in his mouth. This dude was freaking eating boogers in full view of the entire room!
O … M … F’g … G!!!!
Did I just see that?
Again, in full view of the entire room, with no remorse, no shame, no giving much of a damn what anyone else thought, this man was going Indiana Jones on his nostrils, pulling out the content, and eating it … eating his boogers at a professional event!
I looked around to see if anyone else had seen this. But incredibly no one seemed to be paying attention. Then I caught the eye of Chuck. His face was contorted with disgust, disbelief, and total bewilderment.
Together we desperately cast glances around the room to see if anyone else had caught this. We wanted to enlist other witnesses to this unfolding freak show. We alternated between looking at this man, looking at each other in total disgust, and scanning the room for other witnesses. I remember seeing one woman sitting near this man, The Booger Man. She looked at him and shook her head in disgust. But she didn’t see me and Chuck. We couldn’t believe no one else saw this. It’s like we’d just seen a real extraterrestrial, ET. But he was totally invisible to everyone except me, Chuck, and the woman across the room.
This went on for most of the hour-long presentation. Needless to say, Chuck and I were so enthralled by this scene that we had no idea what the hell the speaker was talking about. And at one point I wondered just how much nose treasure this dude could have. He just kept going on and on and on. My god. I thought the man was going to dig a hole in his nose and I’d see his finger pop out of the nostril skin. But I have to say, he really seemed to enjoy his work.
After what seemed like an eternity, the presentation came to a merciful end. The lights came back on. The nappers rustled from their deep sleeps. And everyone started moving toward the door. Chuck and I sat there for a moment. Stunned. Absolutely stunned. I’d never imagined that the world of business would be so, uh, disgusting.
But this story hadn’t ended yet. The true nightmare was yet to come.
I’ll complete this disturbing tale in Part II of … Beware The Booger Man!
Blake Glenn shares his looney perspectives, stories, and mis-adventures in The Looney Executive blog. He has interviewed hundreds (or at least tens) of people via The Looney Executive Podcasts and former TV show. He’s the founder of a tech group called IgniteTech, and claims to be a direct descendant of the original Looney Executive – Because there must be SOME explanation … right?.
If you dare, he can be reached the old school way … blake@LooneyExecutive.com
P.S. – If you’re really interested in growing the tech startup scene in SW Ohio, you’ll want to join the IgniteTech Meetup Group. Join the group. Come out to our events. Bring your energy and ideas. Build your connections.
Join us on this adventure. And help us to create a great story!