Every once in a while, the Gods of Humor smile on you. When the forces of the Cosmic Ha come together. When the Universal Straight-Man echoes the Ultimate Question in your ear.
It doesn’t happen very often, so when it does, you’ve got to savor it.
I had one such experience more than 20 years ago, but I still cherish it.
The Time: 1988
The Place: A fancy hotel on Long Island. Indoor pool, bowling alley, spa, the works.
The Occasion: A corporate retreat for a Custom Magazine Publisher that will remain nameless.
It was a roundtable meeting, as several dozen journalists and editors gathered to discuss the future of magazine publishing (As it turned out, there wasn't one. But that’s another story). One of my colleagues announced that he had to leave the meeting to conduct a previously scheduled interview over the phone.
“My cell phone’s out of power,” he said. “Does anybody know where there are any pay phones.”
“On the main floor,” I volunteered. (I was more observant in those days.) ”There’s a whole bank of them right outside the bowling alley.”
My colleague looked a little concerned.
This was the moment when the cosmic forces aligned—though my colleague had no notion.
“This is an important interview,” he said. “Are you sure it’s quiet enough?”
“Quiet?” I said. “You can hear a pin drop.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever heard forty people all hiss at once. It’s tremendously satisfying.