Monday, February 09, 2009

Other People's Stories: Part I

I'm braindead for blog fodder today, so I'm going to talk about other people. A friend recently lamented about her ex-husband: "He would never gossip, and I respected that about him....But God! Sometimes you just want to gossip about people, y'know?"

That's so funny. I'm not going to gossip about people today, but that's a funny (short) story, and I just wanted to share it with you.

I've always maintained that some of my best stories are other people's stories. I have hilarious friends with hilarious stories, and I find myself prompting them "Oh, tell me that story again!"

For instance, my friend Diane. We met in 1982, when I began working with her in a printing factory. She didn't actually like me at first (I know!), but being the good person she is, stepped up and saved me during an altercation with the company nutjob. We've been best friends ever since, and I could write volumes about our adventures together. Volumes!

Diane works at a local Performing Arts Center. Her official title is something like "usher" which sounds cooshy, but it is not. It's hard, physical labor that entails setting up stages and bleachers and risers, and tearing them down again, sweeping, mopping, PR, greeting, entertaining, and assisting guests.

The perks are pretty cool, though: Once, while she was hauling out garbage with one hand, Yo Yo Ma crossed the hall to shake the other. On another evening, while she sat on the dock taking her break, k.d. lang hurdled her like a gazelle, trying to escape an onslaught of rushing fans. Di just yelled after her, "Bye, k.d.!"

Anyway, The Great Hall at Krannert holds nearly 4,000 people. Though Di is a friendly sort, getting up on stage in front of that many people is generally an offer she would turn down. She was forced, however, to do just that, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra* was interrupted by a bat.

Bats and The Boston Symphony Orchestra don't go together. Apparently the crowed ooh'd and ahh'd with every swoop of the confined bat, and the concert was brought to a halt. Diane was called in to remedy the situation.

Called right up on stage.

Standing there.

With all of the musicians.

And all of the instruments.

In front of 40,000 people.

And a big ol' giant butterfly net in her hands.

Catch that bat! Yes! She was supposed to catch that bat with that net, while 400,000 people watched! The bat would swoop down, and the crowd would warn her, and she'd swing the net.

Overhead lights blinded her, and she took to listening to the audience's cue, and swinging that net when voices rose. No bat in the basket, she'd wait again, until there was a crescendo in the crowd noise, and SWOOP again. No bat, she couldn't catch the bat.

Well, that's kind of where the story wraps up. I know that you were waiting for her to trip and take out the percussion section, which would have made a great story, but that's not how it happened at all. In the end, one of the audience members whapped the bat with a BSO program that he'd rolled up to use as a weapon. Di and her coworkers were able to retrieve the poor stunned dear, and set it free.

That's the whole story. No moral, no point, I just laugh to think of Diane up there, flailing around on stage in front of 4,000,000 people, trying to catch a bat with a butterfly net.

I love that story so much that YOU could tell it to me, and I'd laugh.

Well, since we just heard it, why don't you tell me a crazy story about YOUR friend?

Blog it, and I'll link you up here, if you don't want to leave it in the comments.

*Don't quote me on this; I'm pretty sure it was BSO night, though it could have been a different symphony altogether. Whoever it was, they were famous, and it was a packed house.


  1. Anonymous2:49 PM

    OMG! That was hilarious !
    Can't believe that kind of thing could really happen. Poor Di :D

    However, the evil part of my brain thinks that it would have been even funnier if the Orchestra kept playing and she came in to usher the bat out ;)
    * running for cover *

  2. Now that would make a good sitcom. And where is YOUR funny story?

  3. Um, I think I'm that nutty friend that everyone's talking about! LOL

    Oh wait...I do have one good one and it's short. The first time I met my best friend's new partner, we went to a very nice restaurant for dinner. She was trying to be proper and do and say the right thing in front of me (I KNOW!)

    We'd had a couple of bottles of wine and decided to head to a club for a while. I headed to the bathroom and as I approached her, she turned and fell down two stairs completely upending herself.

    As we tried to see if she was ok (she was), a lady approached me to tell me that I had a stream of toilet paper dangling from my shoe.

    Yes, we are great friends. Two of a kind!

  4. StFarmer8:16 AM

    Two of my coworkers were attending a conference. They are both partiers so had agreed to get together for a few drinks. One coworker was late getting to the bar so the other coworker ducked into the bathroom at the bar to escape the noise and call the other using his cellphone.

    The coworker in the bathromm yelled at the other - "I've been waiting here for over 20 minutes - are you about finished - I'm not going to wait much longer". A voice from one of the stalls replied, "I'm sorry - I'll be out in a few minutes".

  5. That's a GREAT story! And knowing Diane makes it even funnier...she's the last person who would want to be in front of a crowd like that AND I think the last person I would expect to try to catch a bat! She was so BRAVE!

  6. Anonymous3:47 PM

    How do I not know this? When she comes to work tonight I will pump 'bat lady' for details!
    Too funny-whadda trooper!
    Onstage with a butterfly net~ the visual is terrific!
    *other duties as assigned* (shrug)

  7. That was funny. I will have to think of a funny story about a friend. I do have a funny story about myself if you are interested.

  8. My friends pretty much seem to be relatively normal... I'm the spaz.

    Among multiple embarrassments (my life seems to be mostly made up of totally humiliating moments with a few "normal" moments tucked in for recuperating my sanity) there's the time, when I swiped my metro pass in the subway turnstile.

    So far, so good, everyone does that every day, yes?

    But I swiped it too fast. And as I was swiping it, I didn't slow down.

    Yep, you got it, the turnstile didn't move. However, my momentum propelled me right over the damn thing and into a pathetic heap on the other side.

    Employees came running - no doubt wondering what type of imbecile would actually do something like that. Who but me?

    Of course this took place at rush hour. In a subway station where a million kids pass through because of the school next door.

    And laugh.

    And point.

    But being used to humiliation as I am, recuperated my scattered belongings, held my head up high and descended into the bowels of the subway.

    I've also walked through (yes through) a plate glass restaurant door. But that's a story for another day - though I might have already recounted that particular humiliation...

  9. RLL: Ok, that's funny; the old toilet paper on the shoe finale cracked me up. I have one of those stories about my friend...

    StFarmer: Hahaha. Potty humor, always good!

    Momo: Di is very brave, she's dealt with many Krannert bats over the years.

    Zia: How DID you not know it; I thought it would have made some sort of interoffice memo!

    Greg: Yes, personal funny stories will be accepted.

    Jazz: Ok, that's funny. I've almost walked into automatic doors that don't open as fast as I walk, so I can see that happening...but how re-barrassing! Now tell the plate-glass story!


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