Peter Olson who is the Director of Web Development for Marvel Entertainment and an occasional freelance writer has a bad day and has a bad suit to show for it. He no longer has an entourage.
It was launch day for the Official Web Site of Very Famous Supermodel With An Alliterative Name. And for a late 90’s internet company, launch day meant one thing: a party. All the day-to-day frustrations and long hours we’d endured to bring Alliterative Supermodel into the 21st century would culminate in a well-deserved bout of drinking, socializing, and a live web-chat with Alliterative Supermodel herself. And more importantly, all our hard work would finally be recognized by the high muckety-mucks at the company.
Around noon, the CEO came by.
“Where’s your suit?” he asked me. I looked at him blankly.
“You know you have to man the door, right?” He stared down at me. “I need you to make sure no one gets in that isn’t on the list. Oh, and Alliterative Supermodel hasn’t vetted you, so you can’t be in the building while she’s here. And get a suit.”
That cold November night, I shivered in my ill-fitting, un-reimbursed suit as a parade of celebrity flotsam streamed by — the Alliterative Supermodel, her entourage, her pushy talent agency people, a couple of Broadway actors, and a thoroughly un-vetted adult film star friend of the CEO — none of whom had helped build the thing they were celebrating. Only after the Alliterative Supermodel had exited the building, almost knocking over a 9-year-old boy trying for her autograph, were we allowed back in.
Our office looked like a high school gym after the prom: dirty, abandoned, and tackily decorated. There were, however, two Serbian bartenders still pouring a shot called Vodka Nikolai, in which of a jigger of vodka is chased by a lemon wedge, sugar, coffee grounds and copious regret. I drank four, got a cab back to Brooklyn, and started polishing my resume.