It was about 12 years ago, in 2004, when I received the biggest insult of my life!
Today, I still laugh about it because the story is hilarious due to its idiotic nature and the nature of the idiot who delivered the insult. I promise to keep this short.
The Insult Story
Dr Bob Yager, Dr Dudley Benton, and I took our first trip of many to West Palm Beach, Florida to meet with a new client. Bob and Dudley are both geniuses. I, on the other hand, am just plain normal.
We were going to help this client deliver a project that had been lingering for quite some time (many years). We were hired due to our collective experience in analytical and numerical model development and applications. Collectively we had probably about 80 years of experience at that time and Bob and Dudley had too many advanced degrees for me to remember.
After meeting with the project director and three or four of his top staffers, we ended the meeting with motivation, respect and good feelings throughout the room. We left the room and entered either an elevator or another room with one of the staffers. As soon as we arrived, this was the insult delivered to us by the staffer (or as close to it as I can remember).
The Staffer: “I just want you guys to know that I’m going to blow you out of here. I’m going to be here long after you guys are dust in the wind. You see, you are nothing more to me than monkey workers. Yes, that is it: monkey workers. Now granted, you might be highly-trained monkey workers, but you are just monkey workers nonetheless.”
Bob, Dudley, and I just looked at each other after receiving the insult. I’m not sure we even said anything to each at the time, but later on that day we had a good laugh together as you will see.
Fast Forward a Few Hours
Later that night, we were taking a stroll through beautiful West Palm Beach. We were looking for a place to eat, when the God of Irony sent us a direct message (long before social media). This was the name of a club/restaurant that was staring down at us from a sign above (Figure 1):
I don’t think we decided to eat at the Monkey Club (because we were afraid of being put to work since we obviously were monkey workers!), but I still laugh at this ridiculous story for one specific reason. The staffer that delivered the insult to us was the one person on that staff that couldn’t get the job done! He called us monkey workers, but he was the one that threw the monkey wrench into the work.
He delayed the project more than any anyone else and was the biggest hindrance to us being able to finish our work. He was lazy, uncooperative, and was the biggest challenge we faced working with the otherwise tremendous staff of people we had the pleasure working with. In the end, we delivered the project on-time, despite the best efforts of the excuse-making staffer, the big talker, the monkey-wrench-tossing blow-hard.
Why Did I Write This Story?
I just spent four fantastic days down in Florida for Jett’s 5th birthday party. I got to meet Mickey Mouse in person (Figure 2), I got to narrowly miss the leading edge of Hurricane Hermine (but got blasted by plenty of rain anyway), I got to see Joe Mako’s latest adventure (Figure 3) and I had a chance to reflect on the wonderful working life I have had (including being an original member of the Monkey Workers of America). Thanks for reading!